Why is Exercise so Hard?
I am really sorry this post comes late this week. I think I have a good excuse. In a way it inspired this blog post. So there is at least that much to say for this.
I have been really working hard to increase my exercise level. I talked about that some in this post. But it sure doesn’t seem to be coming easy and I suppose if it was easy for me I wouldn’t be around 75 pound over weight.
Back as a boy and teenager, I was incredibly skinny. I could eat just about anything and it didn’t seem to matter. I was also more active, playing Soccer through high school, riding my bike everywhere, and just playing outside most of the time.
But as happens with all of us, age has caught up to me. And I am far from an old man, but I am certainly not the teenager I was. When I got my first job, I developed a fast food addiction. I bought it all the time. I loved to cook, but the convenience of a drive thru wins. And then, frankly speaking, it is addictive and the portions are large. I have little control over myself when it comes to food.
Then I developed a coping relationship with food. When I am depressed, sad, stressed, or otherwise overloaded I have to have food. And not a salad.
Finally, I moved in to a more sedentary life style. I stopped sports, mostly because I’d reached an age I couldn’t play youth recreational soccer. I worked full-time, and slowly my job migrated to a sitting position as I advanced within the industry. And I started to develop hobbies that were more sedentary. Video game, writing, movies, reading all replaced sports, playing outside, and running around with friends. Last, I could drive now and I didn’t spend any time on my bike.
Then I discovered I had diabetes. And as they told me all the things I can’t eat, I realized I’d be miserable. And that made me just kind of think, well fuck em, and I ate more of what I shouldn’t.
But I knew it had to change and I set myself some activity goals. Mostly around the None to Run program. The problem with most exercise programs for me, is that I expect instant results. I expect to see something right away. And finally I generally don’t enjoy the solitary nature of exercise. I loved Soccer because I was out there with a team playing a game. The exercise wasn’t the reason I was there.
But there was something about this None to Run program that I really liked. It was slower progress than the Couch to 5K program. It felt doable. Also there was no focus on weight loss goals, or distance, just time. And my wife’s schedule change was making me change my schedule and the time was available now. And I stayed on that program longer than any other program I’ve tried.
But at 9 weeks in I had an injury. My knees were in a lot of pain by week 6 but I’d recover by the next day. But on the ninth week, I couldn’t recover and it turns out it was a real injury and I was out for several weeks. And now I am have a hell of a time restarting it.
Part of the problem was that when I started I had really thought that this COVID thing would pass and by this time I’d be able to run a 5K. And though I still want to do a virtual 5K, it just doesn’t feel the same as running that first 5K with a group of people. But there was something else.
The fear of getting injured again. It took a lot longer to recover from my knee injury than I had expected. Facts are your body doesn’t recover as easy when you get older, but add diabetes into it and recovery is painfully slow.
To satisfy my need for a group, fun exercise I also signed up for a spring learn to play hockey program for adults. It was going to be with a group of friends that I’ve developed through my son’s hockey team. I’ve never ice skated before, and so I planned to take some time on public skating.
I bought all the gear and the next week everything shut down due to COVID. Then suddenly on Monday they announced it would start today with small groups of less than 5 and a number of other safety precautions. Which was great, accept I’d never spend a day on the ice.
I signed up for a private lesson that was on Thursday. It started well, but I took a pretty bad fall. I don’t remember the fall, but after trying to skate again the instructor noticed something and we left the ice. Fortunately I was wearing a helmet.
End result was I got a mild concussion. There is likely some whiplash and other associated muscle injuries. I was told to avoid bright screens for 48 hours (thus I didn’t write a blog yesterday as scheduled).
So here it is Saturday, and I am taking it slow as I try to recover. No ice sports or physical activity until I have a follow up with my primary care doctor. It is suspected that I will need to stay away from activity that could cause head contact for several weeks. It is all pending another evaluation.
And so as I write this they are having the first learn to play class, and I am missing it. And I have to wonder, why the fuck is exercise so damn hard? Why does the motivation come and go? Why the hell can’t exercise solve the problems of a poor diet? (And I won’t get into my diet issues right now, but I am improving those). And how do I do all this without losing my motivation during an injury?
Why do doctors recommend losing weight to manage diabetes, but most diabetes medications seem to cause weight gain? The ones for weight loss never seem to work for me.
I understand this is a bit of a rant and complaining post. But I really hope that by getting it out there, some tips and tricks will come my way. Someone already suggested I start the None to Run program over from the start to try to spark the excitement again. Of course I may have to wait until I get cleared by the doctor now.
Any of my fellow writers, followers, and have tips? Does anyone know of a Couch to 5K equivalent for strength training? How to you find the motivation?