Mental Health Monday: Simplifying Exercise

June 6, 2016 in Balance / Recovery

Hi guys and happy Monday! Hope you all had a lovely weekend filled with some good laughs and relaxation time. 🙂

Going to be linking up with the awesome Julia for a mental health Monday post!

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This week we are going to be talking about exercise. Because we don’t hear enough about all over the media, through conversations with others, on the radio, on TV shows, in magazines… right?! But today we aren’t going to be talking about all that jazz we see in the media. We are going to be discussing exercising: simplifying exercise, not making a huge fuss over workouts- something that many people seem to do nowadays.

Exercise is a beautiful thing. Having two legs that can walk and run, arms that have the ability to do so much- lift weights, hold us upside down, move in so many directions… a heart that beats regularly and lungs that let us breathe in and out. We are so blessed to have bodies that have the capability of doing all of this! Exercise is great and allows us to FEEL great too. Moving our bodies gives us those endorphins that we love. Finishing a workout gives us a sense of satisfaction that we crave and as we watch the sweat drip from our bodies we feel strong and unbeatable. As we can see, exercise brings us an ample amount of positivity into our lives and allows us to truly feel good.6d0b23f4fdcf573c6dd15a41185024b4.jpg

“Your body is the vehicle in which you experience all life. Think about it. Handshakes, floating in the pool under the sun, conversation, juice apples, kisses, beholding natural wonders. Every single experience you have is facilitated by this mind blowing creation of your body. Be generous to it. Don’t cure it for the way it varies from someone else’s.”

Yet with anything we do nowadays, we take it to the next extreme. We as humans are really good at that. We excel in complicating pretty much everything. We are amazing at overthinking situations and letting our thoughts get the best of us. And we as humans are pretty dang good at not only complicating food, but also complicating exercise. Go figure! Complicating exercise can come in many different forms. Forcing ourselves to work out x amount of days a week because if we don’t, we feel we will get fat and our minds will be flooded by thoughts of guilt. Complicating exercise can also be seen as becoming obsessed with the amount of calories we are burning as well as feeling the need to burn off how many calories we have eaten that day. We can also become too fixated on what type of exercise we are doing, and may only do that particular type because if we switch it up, we feel guilty. We think that sweating must follow a workout and if we aren’t sweating enough, we didn’t work hard enough. And if we aren’t sore the next day, we could’ve pushed ourselves harder. We feel lazy if we don’t get ourselves up at the crack of dawn to squeeze in a workout and decide to sleep and rest instead, we feel disgusting if we take a day off and relax instead, and we skip plans with others to simply workout. Working out becomes a chore, and humans tend to make it a whole heck of a lot complicated than what it needs to be.

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“You deserve love + care from yourself.” 

So how do we simplify exercise? How do we learn to not overcomplicate it all? To take exercise for what it is: a gift, and use it as that to simply make us feel good. That is the challenge and that is something that so many individuals out there are struggling with. Exercising to make us FEEL good. Not exercising to make us look good. Exercising because it’s fun. Not exercising because we feel that we have to and if we don’t, we will be trapped by guilt and negative self-talk. Being okay with rest and taking days off, and not having a freak-out if days off from the gym need to happen. And soon learning to enjoy those days off from working out! Because those days are beautiful too. So how can we simplify all of this?! How do we learn to take exercise for what it is and not let it dictate our lives. Learning to truly listen to our bodies will help with this. Ask yourself before a workout what you truly want to do and how you want to move today- not what will burn the most calories. Maybe that will be yoga, jump roping, lifting weights, running, doing a cardio machine, a circuit workout, going for a walk, etc. Working out to simply burn calories and not because you feel good will never help with learning to simplify exercise. Ever. It is also crucial to grasp onto the fact that you need rest days. They should not be something you dread. Because when you aren’t resting, your body doesn’t have time to recover. And that leads to a wholeeee lotta other problems. Learning to enjoy times of rest is super important too. Enjoy your Netflix time, your coffee dates with a friend, your naps, reading time, listening to podcasts or music, all that fun stuff. You betchya I do! And that stuff also brings me so much joy just like moving my body does. Without the two, my mental health would most definitely be poor (as it was in the past without relaxation time). Eliminate the pressure around working out. The feeling that you should or have to get in a workout when you necessarily don’t want to. The “should’s” around working out quite frankly should not be there. If you feel like you should hit the gym or you feel like you have to get in that workout when you really don’t want to, that’s just complicating things more. Again, listen to your body. It is a powerful tool that we often neglect and it carries the capability to do and tell us so many things. Lastly, accept that working out does not have to be confined to an hour in the gym. It can come in a variety of forms that are not so structured like bike rides with your family, walking with your dog or along the beach, swimming in the pool, etc. When we recognize that working out should be fun, feel good (which means not pushing ourselves to extremes), and is truly a gift; that is when we can grasp the true meaning of simplifying exercise. Because who ever wants to make something more complicated than it needs to be, right?!

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“Free yourself”

No questions today: just would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!! And thank you Julia for the link up. Love Mental Health Monday’s so much! Have a fabulous day friends. 🙂 

Sending my love as always.

Xoxo

Lyss<3

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34 Comments

  • Reply Lynne June 6, 2016 at 11:18 am

    Hey Lyss. Great post, as always. Exercise is so important but for me it has to be a fun thing and not something I dread. You are right about having rest days as well, our bodies need that too. It is all about balance, same with our eating…Have a great week ! 🙂

    • Reply Alyssa June 7, 2016 at 7:42 pm

      Yesss- rest days are so essential!! Thank you for reading and stopping by Lynne! xoxo <3

  • Reply Caroline June 6, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    I so totally agree with everything you said here. I took a major break from exercise awhile back, and I don’t regret it at all. However, now that I’m back in the exercise game, I’m really enjoying it. Now, I look forward to going on a run, whether it’s 2 miles or 10, at an 8 minute pace or an 11 minute pace. Exercise as an expression of joy is 100x better than exercise as an expression of imprisonment! Finding the balance is hard but it’s so worth it. Have a lovely Monday, deary! <3

    • Reply Alyssa June 7, 2016 at 7:43 pm

      Same here! Taking a break from exercise really helped me get my mind where it needed to be, and now I look forward to working out! Ah love what you said and totally agree that exercises as an expression of joy is 100x better!! Hope you are having a great week!!

  • Reply Kat June 6, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    This post is so important! As someone who personally battled exercise addiction I can attest to both how wonderful and how obsessive exercise can be. Some may say Im still a little too obsessed with it, but at least now I listen to my body and respond to its needs.

    • Reply Alyssa June 7, 2016 at 7:44 pm

      I battled with that too, and finding a balance was incredibly difficult! I am so glad I did though. Thank you so much for stopping by Kat! Can’t wait to read your next post 🙂

  • Reply Trine June 6, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Thanks angel, this was a great post that is near and dear to my heart. I have always (and still do) struggle with the idea if exercise and doing it when I WANT to, not when I feel I NEED to. So, thank you for some great reminders xoxo

    • Reply Alyssa June 7, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      Aw thank YOU so much for stopping by Trine!! So glad I could be of help and give you those reminders to always treat your body well. xoxo

  • Reply Marina @ A Dancer's Live-It June 6, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    I too have battled an exercise addiction (along with the eating disorder) and it took me SO LONG to heal my relationship with exercise. I used to dread going to the gym because I would basically chain myself to a treadmill and think I was helping my body. NOPE. I was hurting it. Now I workout for no longer than 30 minutes a day and I take rest days of course! 🙂 Sweating because it makes you happy is more important than sweating for the sake of “burning calories”. LOVE these posts as always! <3

    • Reply Alyssa June 7, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      YES- sweating to make us happy is SO much more healthier than sweating just to burn calories. Amen!! Thank you for reading and being so incredible!! love ya <3

  • Reply Kristy @ Southern In Law June 6, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    Yesss, I am so with you on this! Nothing frustrates me more than the constant flood of exercise competition. Whether it be on Instagram or blogs it seems like there’s people out there that want to project this “perfect” fitness idea that they workout every day, are dripping with sweat and burn XXX amount of calories. Whilst that may be healthy for them, it’s not healthy for everyone – but I often see these posts and wonder if it’s healthy for that person as well as you hear them talk about feeling tired or suffering from constant injuries or hating their training plan.

    Exercise (and life, really!) isn’t meant to be a constant struggle or something you do “just because everyone else is” – and you definitely shouldn’t exercise if your only goal is burning calories.

    • Reply Alyssa June 7, 2016 at 7:46 pm

      Ah it is SO frustrating seeing it all over instagram and such! There is no such thing as “perfection” and these blogs and instagram’s trick people into the idea that there is! Thank you so much for your thoughts on this Kristy! Hope you are enjoying your week <3

  • Reply Emily June 6, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    LOVE all of this because I’m nodding my head. ‘Yes. Yes. Yes.’ I did all of those things, and exercise became something I dreaded but felt obligated to do. Crazy, right? The more I realized that just getting out and enjoying God’s World without the numbers, without the crazy head games of trying to ‘sweat enough’ or ‘run enough’ has been the most freeing part of recovery in the last year!

    • Reply Alyssa June 7, 2016 at 7:47 pm

      It IS so freeing to just exercise for the sake of having fun!! I am so glad that you are in a better place now Emily!

  • Reply sarah June 7, 2016 at 1:02 am

    Wow girl thank you so much for this post! I am really really struggling tonight with my exercise addiction demons. I want to get to a place where exercise isn’t something I obsess over. I have always been an athlete and enjoyed moving my body is using it to it’s full potential. However, my ED has taken this love to the extreme and made it sick, twisted and unhealthy. I hope soon I can repair the relationship with working out and living an overall healthy and balanced life!

    • Reply Alyssa June 7, 2016 at 7:48 pm

      Your ED has made exercise so incredibly unhealthy. But I know that taking time off from it is what you need right now. You just have to remain strong and not let those thoughts take over. Love you! <3

  • Reply Ellie June 7, 2016 at 1:25 am

    I think that the whole “functional exercise” movement is growing. Doing household tasks, walking to get groceries etc, things that we do that can be considered exercise. It’s funny that only 50 years ago women were told not to do these things because they would get too muscular. I agree, people should do what they love or what their goals are, not because they are seeking validation or a number.

    • Reply Alyssa June 7, 2016 at 7:49 pm

      Totally agree that doing what you love or doing something to reach a goal is MUCH healthier than doing exercise for validation. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts Ellie!

  • Reply Megan June 7, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    Wow this could not have come at a better time! Such a great post and so well-written. Just a couple hours ago, I told myself I was going to run for x amount of minutes, felt terrible the entire time, but had a whole mental battle trying to convince myself that it was okay to stop a few minutes early since I didn’t feel well. Not healthy at all! This is something I need to work on every single day!

    • Reply Alyssa June 10, 2016 at 6:30 pm

      Thank you so much Megan for reading! I’m glad that you ended up stopping your workout and realizing that it wasn’t in fact fun for you at all. Why push ourselves to do something that doesn’t feel good?! You are right in that it isn’t healthy at all!

  • Reply Petra @ Crumbles and Kale June 8, 2016 at 11:24 am

    I really enjoyed this post. Two years ago I had to stop exercising due to a back injury. I went from training towards my forth marathon to not be able to leave bed for three weeks because my legs wasn’t working. Then I realized how addicted I was to working out, to constantly improving and place my value in how fast I could run those 10K. Today its a whole other story, I’m still working on getting that connection back with my legs and arms and with that some insight in that those numbers, times and result doesn’t matter if you can’t enjoy them. Its about balance. Thank you so much for bringing this up, I really loved it!

    • Reply Alyssa June 10, 2016 at 6:29 pm

      Thank you for stopping by Petra! It really is about balance, and I am glad you are striving for that. Extremes with exercise will never lead to any good!

  • Reply Kate June 9, 2016 at 1:23 am

    Good post, girl. I used to dread exercise because it was something I had to do and I would gain weight if I didn’t. When I learned that rest days wouldn’t hurt me at all, I began to enjoy exercise again. I do what I feel like now and I’m finally someone who loves running because it’s me time.

    • Reply Alyssa June 10, 2016 at 6:28 pm

      Thank you Kate! I feel like I have accepted exercise as me time too, and I thought I would never get to that point. Moving our bodies in an enjoyable way actually is fun like it’s supposed to be!

  • Reply Cayanne Marcus @healthyezsweet June 9, 2016 at 2:48 am

    I’m the biggest supporter of analyzing feelings especially when it comes to the gym. Case in point, if I feel like I “have” to go, I’ll stop and think about why. If it’s related to my body image or weight then I realize I should sit that workout out cause it’s not doing me any favors. Exercise is a choice and should be enjoyable!

    • Reply Alyssa June 10, 2016 at 6:27 pm

      Amen- exercise SHOULD be enjoyable! I think it is important to realize our intentions before going into the workout too. Because when we have the wrong ones, that can never lead to any good. Thanks for reading girly!

  • Reply Cora June 9, 2016 at 3:17 am

    I’m really consciously working to each day be much more aware of how my body feels and asking myself what kind of movement I feel like (if ANY at all). I’ve been taking the entire week to be on my bum as much as possible (apart from working) and I know it is what I truly want. I know I will get a genuine craving to go to yoga or take a good walk at some point, and when that truly happens I know I will enjoy it. But doing it before then won’t feel good at all.
    Well written love. Thanks!

    • Reply Alyssa June 10, 2016 at 6:26 pm

      So proud of you for learning to listening your body. That is hard but it is SO worth it in the long run. Healing that relationship now with exercise will take you a long way!

  • Reply Link Love 6/12/16 | Blissful Lyss June 12, 2016 at 11:57 am

    […] Mental Health Monday: Simplifying Exercise […]

  • Reply Julia @ Drops of Jules June 12, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    Sorry I’m so late to the game on this right now, but I wanted to put in my thoughts about this lovely post! You’re SO right. Exercise is just about feeling good and being healthy. That’s it! anything else only detracts from the whole point. Love that you’re speaking out about this!

    • Reply Alyssa June 14, 2016 at 5:56 pm

      Thank you so much Julia! I really feel like it is such an important topic as so many people exercise for the wrong reasons. Thank you for your input and support girl!

  • Reply Kathleen June 13, 2016 at 2:28 am

    Late, but this is lovely. “Don’t cure it for the way it varies from someone else’s”
    especially resonated with me. With all of the focus on aesthetics, it’s so easy to forget that our bodies aren’t objects for admiration but vehicles for action. Your perspective on this is so on point.

    • Reply Alyssa June 14, 2016 at 5:33 pm

      Thank you so much Kathleen for your kind words! You are such a great writer, means a lot coming from you!!

  • Reply Currently: Scales, Cake, and the Elephant in the Room June 13, 2016 at 3:02 am

    […] Recovery: Simplifying Exercise – Exercise is supposed to be fun, not torture.   […]

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