What is this malarkey about exercise making you feel good? How people get addicted to the endorphins and all. Are you kidding me?
Do you know how I feel when I come home from a serious bout of exercising? My muscles are tired . . . my heart is tired . . . my emotions are tired from the strain of forcing myself to keep exercising when I so desperately wanted to quit. I’m sweaty and gross, which I hate. I usually have just enough energy to drag my sorry butt into the house and sit it on the couch . . . then I don’t move for an hour or so because I’m miserable.
Endorphins. Yeah, right.
It’s even worse when I am actually doing the exercise. Not the pain, necessarily – I’m smart enough not to continue if anything seriously hurts. It’s a mental thing. Forcing myself to keep moving on that treadmill, headed to . . . where? Accomplishing what? Lift those weights over and over again . . . to what purpose? Yes, yes, I know – I’m making my body stronger, more fit. But in that moment, there is no point to the activity and it’s all I can do to force myself to continue. The only way I can make myself keep going on the treadmill is if I’m completely mentally lost in something I’m reading. TV doesn’t do it. Writing probably would, but I haven’t figured out a way to walk and write at the same time.
Dance class is different. I wish I could take dance three times a week. I still come home completely exhausted, but I at least enjoy it while I’m doing it. Helping my friends load their moving truck the other day was better, too. It worked my muscles and exhausted me, but I had no problem continuing because there was significant purpose to my activity. Treadmill? Bleh.
One of the primary principles I go by in education is to not require a student to use more than one difficult new skill at a time. Working out at the gym defies this rule. It tries to strengthen my body and my will simultaneously. Maybe it’s efficient, but as with my students, it only serves to make me hate the stuff.
Endorphins shmendorphins. Give me chocolate.