Exercise and I have always had an interesting relationship. I played basketball in middle school and after practice and games I would usually do homework with one of my best friends, Noa. I remember always laughing so much and running around our kitchens because we were just little balls of energy. Looking back now, I can definitely connect our working out to all of the energy we had afterwards.
I’ve never loved working out, and getting myself to the gym is a brutal task. When I was 12 or 13 I started playing tennis, got really into it, and played all throughout high school. During the tennis season I think that I have always been my happiest self. Working out everyday made me feel great and I was completely energized to do my homework. When the season ended, I couldn’t find any motivation to work out or go to the gym. And this turned into me just not really exercising.
I think that I’ve always subconsciously known that I feel better after being physically active, but have just lacked motivation to actually get going and start working out. So, challenging myself to be active for this project was something I was a bit anxious about, but has made me realize some important things about myself.
The amazing weather this past week has definitely been a contributing factor in making it a little easier for me to work out. My best friend Rachel, who I was co-captains with for tennis, has always pushed me to work out with her and go on runs. She loves running, and me, not so much. While getting ready for our tennis season we got into a good routine of going on runs and then doing core and leg exercises after. When the weather got cold, this routine ended. The 50 degree day this past Monday was absolutely amazing and Rachel suggested going on a run. The weather was perfect, I was feeling good, and I knew I had to start working out for this project, so I accepted. I have never been a good runner, and my endurance is pretty awful. So I was telling Rachel that this run would be pitiful, but she didn’t let me flake out and we ended up doing it with our other friend Emily too. The run in total is about 2.5 miles. For someone who could barely run the mile in 8th grade, that is quite the accomplishment. We had to stop a couple times along the way, but we did it. We stopped at a park on the beach, walked on the icy shore for a bit, and then ran back. We made smoothies when we got back to Rachel’s and I left her house feeling so good. Even though the run itself wasn’t an easy task, finishing was the greatest feeling. I felt accomplished and completely energized, the smoothie was delicious, and the sun was still shinning. Running with my friends made me happy. Going on the run itself made me feel invigorated physically, and being with my friends made the experience even fuller. Since this run was so great, Rachel and I went on that run the next two days too. Each time I walked away feeling lighter, more energized, and happier.
Today I took a nap before my run with Rachel. I was feeling super groggy and disoriented, and had no desire to run. Rachel pushed me to still come on the run and I’m grateful for that because it made me feel so much better afterwards. She even told me that had I not come over she wouldn’t have gone on the run herself. It’s cool to say that we are motivating each other to work out and feel good. Rachel jokingly sent me an inspirational quote saying: “Motivation get s you started, habit keeps you going.” And it’s true. I’ve gone on three runs in the past three days, feel great, and feel like it could become a routine of mine to try to incorporate into my life.
I’ve been taking my Happiness Reflections that help me gauge my own level of happiness. I’ve taken them before and after my runs and the improvement in how I feel is so evident. The numbers clearly show that I am more happy after the run than I was before. To me, that is amazing. Getting started working out is the hardest part, but once a rhythm and routine is formed, the feeling you get out of it makes it all worth it.