Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pain, Pleasure, and Barre Class

Everyone knows exercising is part of a healthy life.

(Everyone DOES know that, right? Silly me.....)

Our bodies adapt to the level of activity we subject them to each day. That's why walking is not necessarily exercise. We walk all day every day. Our bodies are used to it. So nothing ever changes.

Exercising for weight loss has never been something I've felt the need to do. I've been blessed with problems in the opposite direction. But it's not like I've ever really thought exercising was fun either.

I tried running for a while. And I kept it up for a few months. And--almost unbelievably--I actually started to like it.

Sort of.

I read somewhere that we all make decisions based on pain or pleasure. We don't get up at 5am because it's painful. We roll over and go back to sleep because that brings us pleasure. And so we sleep in, don't exercise, plod through the day with minimal energy, stay up late watching television, then sleep in late the next morning because we are tired.....

And we won't change that cycle until the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change.

I rolled out of bed this morning at 5am, not with a scowl on my face dreading what was to come. I made the choice to hop in my car and drive 15 minutes to my BarreAmped class at Seren Motus just so I could get my butt kicked by the lovely Suzanne Bowen.

The pain involved:
  • Waking up earlier than usual (not something I always have to do. Some classes are at 9:30 in the morning). 
  • Feeling the burn in my thighs (and butt, arms, shoulders and abs....)
  • Dealing with sore muscles a day or two after the fact
But the pleasure involved:
  • Feeling incredibly refreshed after each and every class
  • Stretching out my muscles and gaining some flexibility back (makes me miss my gymnastics days)
  • Watching my muscles get noticeably stronger and more toned (I can actually SEE my abs!)
  • Increased energy levels for the rest of the day
  • Knowing I will now live longer with this credit to my health account
It's really about finding something you enjoy doing.

And having some kind of accountability. 

I love BarreAmped because I feel like a dancer, my body is stronger, I've made new friends in class, and I enjoy learning from one of the best teachers out there. I'm also more educated about my body and how to exercise safely. 

More ideas for you:
Find a friend to ride bikes with once a week at the park.
Find a tennis partner for a weekly match.
Dance! Take a class, hit the clubs, or search for things like swing dancing at local churches. 
Join a local sports team. 
Try a yoga, pilates or Zumba class. You can often get your first class free. 

What do you love to do to stay active? What is the pain vs. pleasure dichotomy for you as it applies to exercise?

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