So many women I meet haven’t exercised since they were forced to wield a hockey stick in the rain during a school P.E. lesson in their teens. The scary Ms Trunchball-esque P.E. teacher is enough to instil fear and a loathing of exercise into those “naturally” talented sporty kids, let alone those tripping themselves over with two left feet and the lung capacity of a 40 a day smoker. It’s no wonder so few females meet the recommended weekly
Starting to exercise as an adult is scarier. As we get older, we become more self-conscious and develop inhibition. We don’t want to be the ‘newbie’ in the group that can’t keep up with the pace. We don’t want to make a fool of ourselves by not understanding the ‘rules’ or being part of the ‘gang’ and understanding the nuances of how things work. I thought I would have left this all behind me when I left school, but sadly not. Even as a fully grown woman in her 40s, I too find it hard joining something new. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE doing new things and I LOVE a challenge, but I do get nervous the first time I have to do it as I am so worried about the embarrassment of getting it all wrong and looking like an idiot.
For me, the drive that makes me get out there and try something new is a mental toughness I have developed over the years to ‘fake it until I make it’. I try and walk with purpose and confidence even though my legs feel like jelly and I’m a quivering wreck. When you exude confidence, you can do anything.
So where am I going with all of this?
When starting your running journey, the key to staying on track and enjoying the view is to understand your Why. Now I can’t tell you what your Why is, because everyone’s Why is as personal and unique to them as their fingerprints. Only you can determine your Why. Your Why is not set in stone and will evolve over time as you evolve and grow as a person. Be open to this evolution and you will become the most amazing version of you that you could ever aspire to be.
For some people, their Why could be their mental health. In this age of wanting to be able to ‘do it all’ women are putting too much pressure on themselves to be a high-flying career woman, Super Mum, Super Wife and Sex Goddess, Housewife (damn I HATE that word!), Master Chef of all things healthy and homemade (are oven ready meals occasionally so bad?), Family Planner and Taxi Driver to make sure everyone is where they need to be with any equipment they may need EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! It’s EXHAUSTING!!!! How are we supposed to find some “me” time with all of this to manage? It’s no wonder there’s a mental health crisis right now.
There’s a saying – ‘You can’t Pour from an Empty Cup’. This is SO TRUE! Even the Duracell Bunny will eventually run out of energy and need time to recharge. Taking some time out to exercise will help you do just that.
You can’t argue with the extensive research that exercise is one of the most beneficial things that you can do to optimise your physical health and longevity
We are living longer than our predecessors, but are we living well? By that I mean, are we actually enjoying good health and enjoyment in our later years?
If not, no offence, but what’s the point? Personally, I would rather live a shorter life in good health filled with fun and joy with my family and friends, than live a longer life crippled by disease and drooling locked up in a nursing home. My Nan, who was the most AMAZING woman, and my true hero and inspiration, was not what you would describe as a ‘fit’ woman and loved food so much that it more than showed on her waistline (sorry Nan!). However, she did get up at 5am every day and after a morning coffee with one of her daughters she would head to the local swimming pool when it opened at 6am for a daily swim and did so literally until the day she died. She lived life to the full and travelled the world. Being in good physical health offers you the ability to live life to the max until the very end.
Family – Keeping up with the kids
Having Kids is life changing in so many ways! They seem to have boundless energy and enthusiasm for life - if you could bottle it you would be rich! Being able to teach them to swim and running along holding their bike as they learn to ride without their stabilisers are significant life milestones we want to be part of. Running around the playground and kicking a ball in the park – such simple pleasures – are impossible if you are too unfit.
Today we seem to live our lives in the constant view of others. It’s as though our walls are made of glass and we no longer have any privacy and everything we do is being judged and scrutinised by others. People’s ‘lives’ are blasted on social media channels for all to see… keeping up with the Jones’s is no longer having a nice car on the drive, it’s a spotlessly tidy ‘show home’ style house so that cute photo of your kids playing that you post on social media isn’t overshadowed by the dirty dishes on the kitchen counter or the ‘dust bunnies’ of pet hair collecting under the sofa.
I thought I had left the so called ‘Popular’ crowds at school… I wasn’t part of them then, and I’m certainly not part of them now! It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, there are always people with more or
less than you, and there will always be shallow people who judge others by what they do or do not have. These are not the kind of people that you would want to be friends with anyway, so don’t let them in your head to mess with your self-confidence!
I know someone who gained so much confidence from running that it gave her the courage and strength to leave an abusive relationship with her children and the ability to start over. That is how life changing running can be.
These are just a few examples of what some people have as their ‘Why’. Take some time to sit and think about Why you want to run. Working out (no pun intended!) your Why will help you stick to your running. Try and think of something that resonates so deep that it gives you the kick up the arse to get out for a walk or run even when you’d rather hide under the duvet and pretend to be ‘too tired’ to go out.
Let me know your Why in the comments :o)