Motivated to Move: Exercise to Feel Alive

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Whether you're new to fitness or you've been working out consistently for years, we share a common truth: Working out is hard. Some people give up or quit in the face of that kind of adversity, while others say, "Bring it on!" Me? I've always been up for a challenge. It isn't because I long to punish myself or actually enjoy pain (far from it).

In fact, I don't love exercising any more than the next guy or girl. It's hard and uncomfortable, and anyone who says otherwise is lying! There are a lot of things I'd prefer do than work out each day. I would much rather sleep in or relax on the couch with a bowl of ice cream. But the reason I stick with it is because I love how it makes me feel. I may not like the process, but I love the results. Exercise makes me feel alive!

Do you feel alive?

Those are the lyrics to one of my favorite workout songs, "Feel Alive" by Benassi Bros. Besides having a great beat, those words motivate me during a tough workout. They remind me that although I feel tired or uncomfortable, the workout that is taunting me to quit is a reminder that I'm alive and kicking—that I'm strong and thriving, not just going through the motions. Instead of running away from the discomfort, I embrace it. The breathlessness, the burning in my muscles and lungs, the mental and physical fatigue—it all helps me appreciate the body that I have, one that's capable of so many amazing things!

Just as we feel a wide range positive and negative emotions throughout our lives, our bodies also experience ups, downs, challenges, and triumphs.

When you go through a hard time in your life, you come out on the other side wiser and stronger. When you work out, your muscles and bones build strength and power, and your body becomes wiser in its own way. I believe that only by facing difficulty can we ever truly appreciate all the good in life, or in other words, "the sweet is never as sweet without the sour." If you could never feel emotional pain, would you be able to appreciate the greatest joys of your life? And if you never experienced physical challenge, would you recognize the joy of moving your body with ease or the feeling of accomplishment you get from conquering a new fitness goal?

Exercise is far from easy. But when you face that challenge, don't run away from it. Don't ignore it either. Feel it. Use it as a reminder that as difficult as that moment in time may be, it isn't the hardest thing you'll ever do. In fact, it will make all the harder times that much easier, and the good times even better.

Does exercise make you feel alive? Have you learned to embrace the challenge of working out or are you still dreading it?

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Comments

BUNNYSKI
I echo everyone's comments about how great exercise makes me feel. The adrenaline rush gives me a high and I am more energetic afterwards, especially when I really didn't want to exercise before the workout. I like it partly because it is ME time; time to do something I enjoy and am good at. And even though it is physically challenging, it is emotionally relaxing. Report
One part this that impacted me is that "when you are going through a hard time in your life, you come out on the other side wiser and stronger". This fits me as I am dealing with grief of losing my husband. When I received the Death Certificate in the mail, yesterday. I just wished I could sink into a hole, after several minutes and a phone call, with more bad news. I went to my garden, yanked up some weeds and the material, that was suppose to prevent them. I then just used my hand shovel and beat into the dirt, repeatedly to break up the soil and prepare for new plants. I alternated arms, even after I felt a little pain ... I kept going, until my asthma 'said' you have to stop! But I felt so much better when I came back inside. (after washing of the sandy soil) I got a chore accomplished and got some exercise in. Report
While I love to exercise-yes, I truly do love to work up a good solid sweat doing something physical-I allowed myself to become lazy in the years following my first marriage, my children, my back injury in the army. For a long time I did nothing to exercise except walk now and then. Everything hurts. When you live for years in pain, daily pain, exercise can often seem too much, or the fear of increasing that pain can cause laziness. However, a few years back, I became truly sick and tired of being overweight. I know it contributes some to my back issues, but the back pain will always be there. If it hurts as much to sit around and take it easy, then why not get off my rear and be as healthy as I can be. So, I run, I walk, bike, yoga, weights, taebo dvd, BL dvd's, etc. I took a group of students rock climbing a few years ago-it totally got me back into really truly wanting to be in shape! I still take precautions, but I no longer just sit for fear of hurting myself or increasing the pain. Exercise is one of the most beneficial things I do for myself. Report
CJOHNSTON2001
even when I don`t want to,or I don`t feel too good I exercise,or go for a long walk,cause I know I will feel better and sleep great! Report
CLAYLADY001
I exercise in the eve.because it helps me sleep better but need to try harder as my weight is not going the right direction which is down!!! Report
VANANDEL
There is exercise that I do because it is good for me and I also love the results. But there's also a lot of exercise that I love to do and look forward to doing. I'm passionate about cycling. There's nothing like the freedom of getting on my bike and going for tens of miles. I love climbing from my home in Boulder to places like Ward at 9200 feet. Of course, there's that short section of 15% grade that I truthfully wish was flatter, but I wouldn't miss it for the world!

I'm a true believer in finding exercise that you love because you'll stick with it. Not all exercise is painful - even when you're breathing hard it doesn't have to hurt. If you enjoy what you're doing, then you won't notice how uncomfortable your breathing gets. Find your active passion! Report
I have a positive ammendment to my comment of yesterday: I met with a personal trainer yesterday morning. She adjusted several machines/exercises that I'd been given when I rejoined the gym. She specializes in 'older members' and asked a lot of very good questions. She watched me walk and talked about how my foot should be striking the treadmill, for example. These things made a big difference in how I felt WHILE I was exercising and AFTER I was through. I was very tired but very satisfied that I'd made the effort. Maybe it will start a new feeling about exercising overall! Thanks again for this topic. Report
Thanks for this inspiration. It rings of the truth! Report
RAMARQUARDT13
Exercise, especially cardio and weights, has really helped me with my under active thyroid. Running helps keep the mental fog cleared and I sleep so much better. I push myself becuse I can't wait to see the real me lurking behind the extra weight I have always carried around. Report
I exercise 6 days a week, 2 to 3 hours a day.
I wrote a blog about the fact that some believe I live to exercise.
No, I exercise to live.
I am 69 years old, have lost 174 pounds, this past 15 months.
I am more healthy and fit than I was 20 years ago.
I start every day with exercise and some days end with a Zumba class
Only on Sunday do I limit myself to some yoga and pilates.
After spending the prior 15 years obese and hardly able to move, I am so grateful to have the mobility I have.
I want to continue to workout everyday for as long as my body will let me.
Report
At first, I dreaded exercise. Now I look forward to it. Exercise is a reward in itself because it makes my body feel so much healthier, stronger; and my self esteem increases because I have the discipline to continue to exercise daily. Report
Exercise makes me feel great and surely improves my mood, as well, as my body. Report
I don't feel alive, exhilarated or such after exercise, but perhaps that will come with time. I feel positive, relief that I am finished, and responsible, that is, I am taking responsiblility for doing what I can to deal with physical problems, and taking steps to manage my pain. I can't reverse the damage/conditions in my body, but I am doing what I can to retain as much mobility as possible and possibly increase it as I drop weight. With SP I am adding more cardio and strength-training. I rarely miss a day, because I start with my physical therapy exercises and go on to see what more I can add. I am also increasing my walking in small increments. I find it too easy to overdo it (I have messed-up signals and discomfort doesn't usually register until it is sharp pain), and pay for it with excruciating pain, limited mobility, and sleeping problems. I preferred Nicole's blog on listening to your body, because that is more in line with what I need to learn. We are not all meant to be athletes, but we can take steps to improve our health. Report
This is so well written and so true. About a year ago I joined 2 50 day challenges and a boot camp at the same time, which started me in the habit of moving every day. I also found I love yoga (which I did not even want to try) and I can run. Our challenge at the end of the boot camp was to run 8 k, and I could, no problem. Our bodies can do so much more than we ever realized. Report
DEEDENTON
I've exercized since high school and will do so the rest of my life...it does make me feel alive and younger and more sane...if you don't like regular exercize take the time to find something you like thats different like dancing or boxing Report
MARI-125
I also am one of those who enjoys exercising, for the most part. Of course there are days when I try to create any possible excuse not to exercise, but even on those days, as long as I can make myself don my exercise gear, then I'm on my way. The great thing is the sense of accomplishment and good feelings I get after finishing my daily workouts. Report
ACINNOREV
Have always enjoyed some moderate exercise.Even as a teen needed to stretch and pump up the heart rate,otherwise I lacked flexibility and stamina.However my mind set to weight allowed me to pack on 55 pounds,1 or 2 a year . Even when the doctor said I was heavy it didn't register. Then he said next year you'll be officially obese. Wake up call!! I have cut out after supper eating and bumped up the exercise.I am slowly taking off the pounds and resetting goals.The featured exercises are fun to try and add variety to keep the body moving without boredom. Report
ACINNOREV
Have always enjoyed some moderate exercise.Even as a teen needed to stretch and pump up the heart rate,otherwise I lacked flexibility and stamina.However my mind set to weight allowed me to pack on 55 pounds,1 or 2 a year . Even when the doctor said I was heavy it didn't register. Then he said next year you'll be officially obese. Wake up call!! I have cut out after supper eating and bumped up the exercise.I am slowly taking off the pounds and resetting goals.The featured exercises are fun to try and add variety to keep the body moving without boredom. Report
ACINNOREV
Have always enjoyed some moderate exercise.Even as a teen needed to stretch and pump up the heart rate,otherwise I lacked flexibility and stamina.However my mind set to weight allowed me to pack on 55 pounds,1 or 2 a year . Even when the doctor said I was heavy it didn't register. Then he said next year you'll be officially obese. Wake up call!! I have cut out after supper eating and bumped up the exercise.I am slowly taking off the pounds and resetting goals.The featured exercises are fun to try and add variety to keep the body moving without boredom. Report
ACINNOREV
Have always enjoyed some moderate exercise.Even as a teen needed to stretch and pump up the heart rate,otherwise I lacked flexibility and stamina.However my mind set to weight allowed me to pack on 55 pounds,1 or 2 a year . Even when the doctor said I was heavy it didn't register. Then he said next year you'll be officially obese. Wake up call!! I have cut out after supper eating and bumped up the exercise.I am slowly taking off the pounds and resetting goals.The featured exercises are fun to try and add variety to keep the body moving without boredom. Report
"It's hard and uncomfortable, and anyone who says otherwise is lying!"

I consider this a blanket statement based solely on your personal opinion on exercise and the opinion of those around you who happen to concur.

Contrary to what you may think, you do not speak for the entire population of Spark. I LOVE to exercise and that is no lie. In fact I resent that you are calling me a liar!

I love that when I go for a walk I can feel my butt get a good workout on the hills and a good stretch too. I love challenging myself to walk faster or break into a run. During weight training I love to challenge myself by using progressively heavier weights or to go slower with my lifts to maximize my strength training workouts. I love to play Wii sports, or real sports! I love to swim and swim as often as I can. I love the way the water feels on my body and when I turn to swim on my back how the sunshine peeks through the clouds beaming down on all the good I am doing for my mind, body and soul.

Why in the world would you NOT bring those positive attributes to your blog? Oh right. It's because you hate to exercise.

Report
I am 62 with lupus. My elderly, obese body is one large mass of painful inflammation, achy joints, and fatigue. Exercising uses up what little energy I have before my day even begins--oh, yeah, and I really hate to exercise. So why do I do it? One reason alone--because I can. And why can a total mess like me still exercise--because I started exercising young. All around me, I see my couch potato contemporaries losing their mobility and sliding toward an early grave--so I celebrate my remaining mobility with everything I can move as far as I can move it, just to experience the simple fact that I still can. Young healthy people never understand how fast the day comes when you just can't, and you will wish you'd have moved everything that was moveable while you still could. Report
This is so true. The hardest part, is simply the motivation to start. Like you said Coach, it has to be beyond just going through the motions. Once I start whatever exercise I set out to do, I realize how blessed I am to even be able to move and I begin to focus on feeling my muscles, my breath, my senses, etc. and it motivates me to keep going. Afterwards, I count my blessings and am invigorated for following through. I always like to put together my music that I know will motivate also. Report
I have to say that I actually enjoy it but I don't enjoy getting started. Once I'm at the Y and workout, I feel so good but I can come up with a million excuses not to go. I found a class this week that was so much fun that I plan to take it twice a week now. You have to find something that you can really enjoy. Many of my younger friends have become addicted to Zumba even their husbands. Report
Sad to say, I don't enjoy exercise! I am always tired afterwards and have never felt a rush---except a rush to get out of my soaked clothes, lol! I am trying to get back into doing something positive and I have a personal training session at my new gym today. Maybe one day something will click? Report
This is a very good article and it puts it in perspective. If you never know difficulties will you ever appreciate the easy things? It's a great thing to keep in mind when things seem difficult. Report
ELLIENOV
Fantastic article. I'm definitely of the give up avoid variety but feel inspired by your blog. thanks Report
I am one of those odd people, I love to exercise, and I do 6 days a week at least for at least 2 hours, I ride my bike to and from the gym and yes it makes me feel alive! I had a spine injury 18 years ago and wasn't able to exercise. So now that I can move I move as much as possible and as often as possible and as hard as possible. Report
The hardest part of exercise is getting started. Report
SVANHORN89
I've never really exercised before, even in school I slacked off. But lately I've been down and out and I just decided to start walking and running. And the more I pushed myself (But at my own pace, if someone else pushed me it discouraged me) the better I felt!!!! And let me tell you, it wasn't easy! Report
Exercise makes me feel very alive. I've definitely learned to embrace the challenge of working out since I've been doing a workout I love: Michael Jackson Experience on the Kinect! Report
ANTMELON
When the going gets tough... I always give up! Thanks for your article. I do need to change the way I look at exercise! Report
This is exactly how I feel about exercising. The hardest
for me is getting started. And the best part is the awesome level of fitness it brings into my life. I have learned that consistency over time has exceedingly fine benefits.

The feelings of satisfaction and exhilaration afterwards
are great as well. Report
Just finished working out and this is exactly what I was telling myself the more difficult it got for me to keep going. Glad to know I'm not the only one ;-) Report
So, how strange, I was just talking about this exact subject with a buddy. I love it when I'm doing it, and the results when I'm consistent but getting myself to do it....well, that's another matter altogether. Report
TRACYG0625
I agree with this. I am not a fan of exercise, but I LOVE how my body feels after I have exercised. Those stiff/sore muscles tell me I've done something good for myself. They are also there when I walk into the kitchen to grab something to eat and remind me of the hard work I put in - don't blow it now by eating stupid! Report
FORGODSOLOVED
You're right....You ARE right. I need to keep on when the going gets tough. Report
At first I was going to write, "It wasn't always this way, but I guess I'm a weirdo because exercise is FUN. I love it! I love sweating and breathing hard. I love listening to my music and using my muscles!"... Then I remembered that Strength Training is part of exercising. THAT is hard for me. But, I probably would like the results, just as I do with cardio.

Thanks for helping me realize what I do consider hard, and keep myself from really doing, and how I might look at it the same way I do cardio, and love the results (at least until I love the action just as much).

Jocelyn Report
It's just the same as with any endeavor worth doing. I read a quote by a writer years ago "No one likes writing. What they like is having written." The process of working toward our goals is just that - work. The sense of accomplishment from having put in that work is its own reward. Report
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It depends on the day, time, and how I'm feeling. Report
Exactly. I don't always want to work out, but I always feel so much better when I do. Report
One of my favorite quotes is from Leslie Sansone, "Have you ever worked out and said, 'I wish I hadn't done that?' " Report
Not my kind of music I'm affraid (I don't like Abba either.)
More pronounced beat "Summer in the city,"some "Guns and Roses"
But usually I work out to channel 64 on tv "Squak"
I do however love the feeling after working out. Report
On the mornings I want to stay in bed, I remind myself how good I feel when I'm done exercising. It helps me to shake the cobwebs off and put on my workout gear. It's especially handy when I'm going for a run. About 10 minutes into the run I want to stop, but if I can push past this point, I can run for miles and I feel great afterwards! Report
Usually, I am completely exhausted at the end of my workout and want to die...but the next morning, I feel WONDERFUL. All of that sweat and exhaustion is so worth it (I wouldn't have said this a month ago let me tell you). Report
Strength training makes me feel like Wonder Woman. :) Report
You put it very well. I've always said, that if I could bottle how I feel after exercise, I'd take a whiff of it whenever I feel my motivation waning. Report
Whenever people have asked me do I like running, I've always responded, no I don't, but love what it does for me. You summed it all up in this article. It's very motivational reading and I want to thank you for sharing it w/ us!!! ~ Tobi Report
I love this, Coach Nicole! Sometimes it's really hard to get going with exercise, but to remind myself how much exercise gives me is a great motivation! I DO have so much more energy in my life now. When I do my walk/run with my dog, it's easy to slow down and do more walking than running but you've reminded me that I need to push through the part of my brain that says it's ok to just walk. I hate sweating and breathing hard but in order to get all the benefits of exercise, I really need to fight that old voice that says, "You're moving, it's ok to just go a little slower" when my body really WANTS to move faster! Thanks for the reminder that in order to appreciate the good sometimes we have to get through the tough times! Report
I feel much better, physically and emotionally, when I get up early and exercise before work. Report