Before spring started, I had been feeling pretty weak and tired all the time. I had gotten used to this feeling, and for months didn’t really think much of it and just lived my life feeling weighed down and exhausted all the time. Once the days began to get warmer and the first green sprouts began to pop out of the ground, I started going on walks again in excitement over the gradual return to warmth and color would overtake the world (well the northern hemisphere where I live anyway). I began to notice how lovely it felt to move my body which was used to sitting all the time, mindlessly perusing the Internet in search of distraction from living. I went on a bike ride for the first time that year and also noticed how weak I was. Pressing down on the pedals felt more difficult than it should be and my leg muscles burned from exertion. When I got off the bike my legs were shaking.
It was then that it really hit me how weak I had become. “I didn’t used to be like this!” I thought to myself. Growing up I had always been relatively active, doing karate, dance (Tap and jazz and then later hip hop), gymnastics, playing tennis, volleyball, and basketball with my friends and family, and going swimming all the time during the summer. All through elementary, middle, and high school I had been moving my body, but once I got to college all that stopped. I just didn’t have the time to move anymore, aside from the speed walking I did to get to class on time. After college I moved even less – there was no reason to even walk when I could just drive everywhere I needed to go. I had completely become sedentary.
I decided to change this. “I want to become stronger, I want to make my body compatible with my spirit.” For the past year I had felt that my spirit and body were very off-balanced – my spirit was strong and bright and wanted to do things but my weak, tired body prevented it, choosing to lounge around and not really do anything productive. I was too tired to even write – I would have ideas buzzing in my head like excited colorful little bees frantic to make some honey, but typing up those ideas just felt like an overwhelming task that was too much effort.
I wanted to change this. I wanted to write. I wanted to work towards my goals. And so I decided that first I needed to raise my energy levels and that to do this I needed to make my body stronger.
I started slowly. I started going for a walk at least once a day. I started going for a bike ride every other day. And once summer started, I began swimming again.
Fortunately, the weather this summer was wonderful and many of the days were hot and on every hot day I would be out there swimming. I’ve always loved swimming, but it felt even better to see myself improve, to push myself to swim for longer and longer periods of times, to feel how strong and graceful my body was as it propelled me through the water, gliding through it like though sheets of silk.
However, all things must end and so did the swimming season. After Labor Day weekend the beaches closed and I could no longer visit the lake by my house to swim. Going for a walk and bike ride during the day just wasn’t as appealing as swimming had been and I began to do those activities less.
I was watching YouTube videos one day and I found one by Jenny Mustard that described her early morning routine and how before she starts her day, before she even eats breakfast she does a little bit of exercise and finds that this is a great way to start her day. I was inspired to try this out for myself because getting out of bed usually takes a long time for me since I don’t have an everyday job right now. On the days that I don’t work I’ll just lie in bed for hours on my phone, and once I finally get up I still feel tired and also disappointed that a good chunk of the day has gone by, and that combined makes it less likely for me to do something productive that day.
So, I decided that ten or fifteen minutes after I woke up I would go for a quick bike ride and walk. It was incredibly difficult the first day I did this. And the second. And the third. I was used to eating breakfast before I did anything active and so when I went to ride my bike my hungry belly would be protesting for some food first. But as difficult as it felt to pedal my bike first thing after waking up, it also felt incredibly satisfying. Finishing my bike ride despite my hungry tummy and weak muscles felt exhilarating, and made breakfast taste that much better. I felt that now that I had done this physical feat I could do anything with my day! I felt happier and less tired.
I have continued doing this routine (bike ride then walk) and it has gotten easier and now I’ve started adding more things to it, like doing five push ups before my walk and then five afterwards, and doing some stretches after that. I can feel how much stronger my body has become, how instead of having mostly fat in my arms I now have some solid muscle beginning to form. I feel better in general, less tired and more inspired to go after the things I want. More inspired and determined to be productive and write.
Actually this whole long post (How did it end up being this long??) I’ve written after doing my regular workout this morning. I hope this post helps inspire people to get out and move their bodies more. It doesn’t have to be a lot or even for a long time – my bike ride and walk takes only half an hour (although now that I’ve also added stretches and push ups my total workout time in the morning is an hour) – every little bit helps, as long as it’s consistent. I definitely recommend doing a bit of light exercise in the morning, it doesn’t really matter what specifically, just whatever you find to be enjoyable and gets your heart pumping faster. And of course, don’t forget to drink water! Now, I’m about to finally end this post and go eat some breakfast! 🙂