Month 3 review - Mixing it up for a month of enjoyable Exercise
Last night my Happiness Club met for the fourth time and reviewed our month of exercise. Beforehand we ranged from people who exercised regularly to those that felt they did very little and taking part in this month was not as eagerly anticipated as some of the earlier ones. That did mean that the review of the month was all the more surprising! Some of the highlights are discussed below.
I exercise regularly and try to run 3 times a week. It has always been a means to an end; I knew it was good for me, I felt good when I did it (or more so I felt bad when I didn’t) and I’d push myself out of the door when I really wanted to curl up on the sofa. After we’d reviewed the Psychologies Exercise article one of the things that struck me was the discussion we had around ‘enjoying’ exercise. So when I was running the day after our last meeting and I was finding it really hard (it was a very hot afternoon) I decided to walk a bit for the first time! When I then started running after a few seconds break I felt much better. At another point in the month when I was going to run but was coming down with a cold I decided to go for a brisk walk instead and I really enjoyed it.
A few of us used the month of Exercise as a way to relate more to people, linking in to month 2. I ran with a friend for the first time and loved it. I barely noticed the run and we went a fair distance. Also, I went for a lovely walk with a friend from the Happiness Club. We’ve been friends for 10 years and have never walked together without the children and it was so enjoyable.
One friend has been walking weekly with her son (aged 9). She lets him choose the direction they go, which invariable means rather steep hills and across wild terrain and they’ve had great fun and quality time together. He’s already planning next week’s walk!
This friend has also been on a weekly bike ride with someone, the first of which felt so tiring she was shaking afterwards and she’s already noticed increased fitness as a result and feels really pleased with herself.
Someone else has been swimming and cycling with her daughter (age 7) and has committed to running a 5k in July! Could this be the start of a something bigger?!
Another friend has consistently walked instead of driving to the place where she walks her dog. She didn’t see walking the dog as a chore because it led straight on from the school run and as a result she said hello to more people, felt calmer and less rushed and enjoyed the walk more.
A different person has also walked more instead of driving and has really enjoyed her walks in nature.
Variety is the spice of life!
I noticed a surprising difference from shifting my focus to enjoyment when I exercise. As I’ve already said, I’ve walked more, ran with a friend but I’ve also listened to my body more. I used to want to run on my own, listening to my music and also listening to the feedback I got from my running app. This often impacted on my mood as I was running and influenced how fast I ran. I felt like I had to run 3 times a week to build fitness and speed.
This month I decided to run without feedback at all and no music. I just wanted to run as fast as my body wanted, even if that was slow (but I didn’t want the feedback telling me it was slow!).I was amazed when I got home from that run to find out it was my second fastest run! Then I did another run the following week, with no expectations and no personal pressure and I got my personal best on my 5k part of the run. I was amazed that actually through mixing up my exercise routine to incorporate walking and social runs that actually it meant when I did run on my own I was quicker!
Exercising for a happy future
All of these things are permanent changes that we’re incorporating into our lives. These are not isolated to the month of Exercise as we all feel so positive and happy as a result of them.