A friend of mine despises exercise. She says it’s boring. Sometimes I get bored with exercises, too, so I suggested she try changing her routine or venue, but she says that doesn’t help, that it’s her mind that’s bored, not her body, and that all she thinks about while she’s exercising is how bored she is and how much she despises exercising.
That had me scratching my Brazilian Bronze with Honey Caramel highlights head, as it’s a completely opposite experience from mine. I can honestly say that in two years of exercising regularly, my mind has never lacked for things to do while I put my body through its movements o’ the day. In fact, I will unashamedly confess that sometimes I exercise because of the glorious things my mind gets up to while I’m moving:
Organizing/planning Activities – Now that I’m mostly working out in the mornings, I like to spend a few minutes thinking about and visualizing the day ahead. I don’t spend a whole lot of time on it, especially if it’s a particularly busy day, because I have a tendency to start stressing about getting busy with that instead of being where my butt is. A few minutes to get the plan in place is okay, though.
Solving Problems – When I was working for The Man, I frequently found answers to lingering problems from the workday while I exercised. Exercise unlocks the right brain, which makes it a great time to find answers.
Creating – Speaking of right brain activity, I lovelovelove to let my creative brain run wild while I work out, especially with respect to my creative writing. I love to compose scenes or dialogue in my head while I’m walking. Good dialogue has a cadence to it, as does walking, so the two work really, really well together. If I have a
sex romantic scene in mind, I head to the elliptical where I don’t have to worry about getting flattened by a car and thrown into the same gutter my mind is inhabiting at the moment.
Pondering – Some days I dedicate to thinking about nothing in particular. I just let my thoughts skitter around wherever they wish to go. Sometimes I think about your posts and how I might implement some of your strategies, or I think about issues you’ve presented and whether or not I might have some answers.
Something I don’t do but other people LOVE to do is to listen to podcasts while they exercise. Thus, we could easily add Learning to our list.
Then, of course, there’s always watching movies or television shows. I love reruns of Monk, when I’m on the home treadmill. It’s fun solving crimes while you pedal away on the recumbent bike!
I exercise because it makes me feel better, in body AND in mind. Giving my mind over to negative thoughts while I’m exercising isn’t going to help either of those causes. To that end, these are the areas I try to avoid while exercising:
Overthinking – I do have a tendency to obsess.
Comparing – One of the biggest momentum killers for me is comparing myself to other people, and I’m glad to say I’ve mostly rid myself of that urge. If I feel the need to measure my activity, I look at what I did yesterday.
Regretting – I discussed this in a previous Makeover Monday. Regretting is just wasted time, in my opinion, and there are much better things my mind could be doing. Like writing a good sex scene.
Criticizing – This is something I’m really working hard on right now. Working out at the gym, with all its floor-to-ceiling mirrors, presents a challenge, as I notice every wrinkle, bulge, and flaw. Focusing on breathing, counting, and using proper form helps, along with the knowledge that I’m doing really groovy things for my body.
Like most people, I have a tendency to avoid things I don’t enjoy doing. Sometimes finding the joy in it is simply an issue of mind over matter.
I’m going to share this post with my friend, in hopes that it will give her some ideas and maybe the motivation to try again. If anyone here has had the same experience with boredom and/or negative mind games and have any suggestions, I’ll add them to the list.
And if this gives you any ideas to try, let us know how it works out for you!
This Makeover Monday post brought to you by Newman’s Own Organic Spelt Pretzels, my current snack of choice. One word: yum!