I don’t have a very good relationship with exercising. The most I can remember ever enjoying exercise was when I was in junior school, I was quite a tomboy back then and loved to play football, was always on the climbing frames and running around with my friends.
I quickly grew out of that, I guess probably when I started secondary school, any interest I had in exercise of any kind quickly evaporated. I did the least I could get away with in sports class and what I did do was always half hearted.
Unfortunately that’s a philosophy I brought with me into adulthood, and it really hasn’t done me any favours. I went through a very bad period of ill health a few years ago, I look back at that time as my year of hell, and it really was a horrible time for both me and Jamie, but one that definitely made us stronger. Luckily, things did start to improve and we could see the light at the end of the tunnel, and not long after Jamie proposed.
I had a vision for the type of wedding I wanted, and my plans for my wedding day didn’t include me being unwell or not feeling quite myself and not looking healthy with it too. I’ve always been super slim but still healthy with it. My weight has never really fluctuated by much, but my year of hell hit me hard and I was down to my slimmest and lightest. Honestly, I really didn’t look well, let alone feel it! I don’t like looking back at any photos of me from that time, but it’s a really good reminder that health and happiness has to come first.
So in the run up to the wedding, I did something totally out of character and pretty unthinkable to me…I joined a gym. At first I hated it, Jamie had to practically drag me there kicking and screaming. Our local gym is literally a 2 minute walk from our front door so I had no excuses, even when the weather was bad, not to go. Now I’m so glad that I did have someone pushing me to get up off my ass and get down to the gym, because it totally paid off. It was hard at first but the more I went, the easier it became, and the more I found myself starting to enjoy it, even wanting to go. Who knew, right?
The hard work was all worth it, I didn’t feel unwell at all before or during our wedding day, or even the week after when I was expecting my body would just crash out with exhaustion. I felt the best I had in ages and I looked so much better too, I’d put the weight back on that I’d lost, built up a little muscle and definition to my legs, arms and stomach, which gave me so much confidence, something I have always been lacking.
Unfortunately, like a lot of brides who go into overdrive before their wedding trying to get fit, once the wedding was over I had no target to aim for, I went to the gym less and less, and when my membership expired, I didn’t renew. Before I knew it winter had set in and I was in hibernation mode, nothing was going to move me from under the blanket on the sofa watching a nice Christmas film.
At the beginning of this year I realised how far I’d come and how much I’d slipped into old habits and how lazy I had got. I didn’t feel great and I didn’t feel like I looked as good anymore either. I knew I didn’t want to go back to being unfit and unhealthy, and potentially allowing myself to get really unwell again. So I started very slowly exercising at home. At first I just did some weight training, then I started building in some cardio and other strengthening exercises using the 7 Minute Workout ‘Seven’ app.
This was perfect for me as I could fit it around my work, I couldn’t avoid it as it was only 7 minutes out of my day, and it felt like a good workout without knocking me out.
Then a few months ago I saw a little yoga pose illustrated in a magazine which explained how doing the pose regularly was really good for rounded shoulders. I’ve always been a slumper, rounded shoulders and bad posture, thanks to years of working at a computer and being addicted to chatting to friends on MSN messenger when I was younger! So I came home that day and did the exercise a few times. It felt like I was really stretching my shoulders out, which I loved, so I did a little googling and found more.
Soon enough, I found a whole load of videos on YouTube and after trying out a couple of the Yoga with Adriene videos, I was hooked. I started doing yoga pretty much every day, even if it was just a little, and I was loving it! Within a few weeks I was already seeing and feeling the results and it felt great to be being proactive about my health and fitness again. There are still times when I have a few days off and then find it hard to urge myself to get back into it again, but I know it will be worth it and I know my future self will be grateful that I took the time out to work it out!
So, I really urge you, however unfit or unhealthy you are, to start doing something, anything and find what works for you. It could be running if that’s your thing, it could be tennis, pilates, swimming, weight lifting or working out at the gym..or even just 7 minutes out of your day using some kind of exercise app like I did. Whatever it is, and even if it’s not much, it’s something and trust me, your body (and your mind come to think of it) will thank you for it. Mine definitely is!