photo: Adrianna Ho
A couple of weeks ago, whilst heading into the endless vortex of procrastination and general dread that is exam season, I decided to try an experiment. In the name of health, positivity, and endorphins, I committed to exercising every morning for a week. Here are just a few of the things I learned:
1. You WILL see people you know. But you’ll get over it, and so will they.
You know when you set out on a run and before even making it out of the door you have all these irrational thoughts like “What if I look gross and sweaty?”, “What if passers by think I suck?”, “What if I see someone I know?”.
Well on the very first day of this experiment I woke up, got out of the house, started running up a hill, and bumped straight into my flatmate. Although I was by no means pleased to see someone, it was actually great to get it out of the way because realistically, running into people isn’t that bad! When you’re exercising you may think you look sweaty, unfit, and gross. You may be panting like a baby seal. But guess what? You’re still running! Maybe it’s a tiny, light jog, but you aren’t sitting in bed. You are achieving something.
2. You will have to confront your fears.
Since I always have so many irrational fears about running, I decided to write them down beforehand and take note of how I felt after I came back. The results were incredibly insightful and showed me how much of the fear was in my head.
Here’s what I was scared of:
People seeing me (yup. Let’s check that one off)
-Not running fast enough
-Looking stupid (apparently not the same as looking weird)
-Being ‘bad at it’
Here’s how I felt after going:
That was tough, but I was glad I did it. I’m probably not as fit as I’d like to be, but if I keep going then that will get sorted in no time. I mean I felt really happy with myself. When I cut into my run to buy some strawberries for breakfast I realized that everyone in the supermarket was probably thinking about how amazing it is that I just went on a run, or pondering whether I was doing an errand and then running home with all the groceries! Think about that. Passers-by think you are a successful human being. They, unlike my friends, don’t realize how much time I spend writing articles in bed. Also, my skin felt firm and soft afterward, which was amazing.
I think these notes should serve as an example of how ill-founded our fears are when it comes to exercise. And when you’re exercising a few days in a row, there is NO room for those fears to stick around, so be prepared to bid them adieu!
3. It will become a habit
Just like getting up and having breakfast, exercising will become a habit. Before you know it, you’ll be reaching for your gym gear and heading out the door for a quick power session.
4. You will forget what normal clothes look like
During that week, I became so used to wearing gym gear wherever I went that the idea of wearing a whole dress and tights began to freak me out. Gym clothes were my home. It was great.
5. You will GLOW
This is a hugely underrated side-effect of exercising. People always talk about the ‘abs’ and the ‘tone’ but they don’t often mention the GLOW. When you exercise every day for a week, you start to notice that your face isn’t just your face anymore. Suddenly, somehow, you’re radiating warmth and health and WELLNESS. This was one of my favorite parts of my little experiment, and one of the reasons I think it is completely worthwhile to try this yourself!