You have heard it multiple times. I won’t go into the medical studies (those stats that exercising reduces chances of heart attack, blood pressure, diabetes, etc.). In this post, I will describe my personal experience with being physically active and how it affected my overall personality, confidence, and happiness. But before answering this blog’s title, I would like to briefly describe my experiences with workouts and physical activity.
So, I can break down my exercising and workouts journey into 4 different phases.
- The start: It is similar to everything you start for the first time. Especially when you have been physically lazy and inactive for a long time. You will get tired easily. Your ankles, joints, nerves will hurt (a lot sometimes). You may get injured. You will feel sleepy in your classes, work. It’s difficult. The degree of difficulty depends on the person. For genetically gifted people, it comes naturally and early. For others, you have to be patient, determined and consistent. Consistency is the most important of all factors to pass this phase. Else, you may fall back to phase zero of inactivity.
- The feel good phase: If you have been consistent and determined enough, you will start feeling the difference. A lot of differences. Suddenly you are eating well, sleeping well, your muscles are getting more capable, you are getting more productive, energetic, confident. You feel the change, the good change. Now, the workouts are fun for you and you look forward to it as probably the best time of the day.
- The insane phase: For some of us, good isn’t good enough. So, we then go about stretching our physical limits. Now the level of insanity again varies from individual to individual. For someone who could barely run 400 meters at the start, now is running 4km daily. Preparing for maybe a 10km run. As for myself:
In my insane phase, I used to wake up at five, have around 4-7 km run (including 7-8 sprints), heavy stairs, exercises from push-ups to sit-ups, lifting another person and running for 200 meters. All these lasting for 90-120 minutes. If this wasn’t enough, I used to have heavy warm-ups and football for another 70 minutes (including drills) in the evenings. In this phase, I had to be absolutely precise with my sleep, diet. It was a bit painful, but I enjoyed beating up others in races, and most importantly beating my own records. That’s what drive you in this insane phase. There is no limit to how insane you can get. I have run half marathons as a part of my workout in the evenings without any planning and water. My timing that time: around 87 minutes. Let me not brag much about my physical feats (saving for a later post).
Speaking of bragging..
- The catch-up phase: You have done it all, been in the insane phase. Knows all the goods and wonders of your previous regimes. But due to change in circumstances, you have lost the touch and practice. This is like the comeback after an injury or break. Sure, it is similar to phase 1 but you will perform better if you had gone through phase 3 before. It’s like getting back to your glory days. You will reach phase 2 in no time and given motivation, desire, and consistency, you may very well reach phase 3 again.
Now coming to answering this post’s title. When I analyse myself in these five different phases (including the inactive phase 0), I see a big difference. Not just in my abilities, discipline, desire, fitness, sleep, food, but most importantly happiness and satisfaction. I can’t exactly tell why is it. Maybe the increased blood circulation, more metabolic activity, or a subconscious message that I actually did something today. But the difference is so big that I find it really pitiful when I see people just limited to their smartphones, laptops, the internet, and the couch. I know this cycle is very addictive. But try to add at least 30 minutes of exercising and workouts for yourself on daily basis. And there should be no excuses. Whether you’re 80 years old, you’re sneezing, even if you’re pregnant. There is some sort of exercising, yoga and physical activity for everyone in almost every situation (my favourite running, dancing, football). Just make it a habit of giving 30 minutes to yourself. Who knows, you may reach phase 3 and discover what your body is capable of.