Embracing Exercise as a Positive: My Personal Journey with Exercise

Okay, be honest. Has anyone ever done a workout with a true gym rat? By the end of it, you want to hate them with every fiber of your being, right? Have you ever been in a situation where you wonder how the hell they are so happy when you barely had enough energy just to meet them? I knew a girl who was a long-distance runner. Every morning she’d wake up at 5 am to run 10 miles. She would do this just to get her day going. She would find the whole thing so euphoric. In fact, she would get upset if she couldn’t squeeze in the time on a busy day. Now naturally when I first met her, I thought she was out of her mind. I mean I can barely get a mile finished before I want to puke. We’d talk, and she’d tell about me all the reasons why she loves to run while listing all of the health benefits. I’ll be honest, initially, after the two-minute mark, she got the Charlie Brown treatment. Pretty much where I stopped understanding what she was saying.

I wish I could have kept up with her, but I just couldn’t. The thing is, everyone has an opinion regarding the ultimate workout program. Everyone has an opinion on the most effective regimen for good health. Those surrounding voices constantly doling out advice can be so overwhelming. How is anyone supposed to try the best workout program if each one is considered "the best?

The initial stages of my rehab were the worst. Everyone around me had a very loud opinion of what they thought would work best for me. I didn’t find it helpful at all. Any time I was rehabbing I felt like was somehow doing it wrong. My attempt at yoga was a fail because all of the easily modified poses you do on your knees only caused me more pain. Any machinery was tricky because it was so tiring. I had a death grip on the elliptical bars the entire time I was on it just to hold myself up. I was very resentful. I hated that everyone tried asserting themselves over my rehab. I hated that I felt like my body was betraying me. I hated having to exercise to get better. I just hated for the sake of hating it.

Then I asked myself why? Why was I expecting to get with a negative attitude? Why was I letting everyone’s opinions get me down? Why did I hate this process?
Because I wasn’t listening to my body. If you push yourself to do something you hate every day, you’re never going to magically like it. I knew for my sake, I needed to like the process, or I was never going to get anywhere. I needed to block out the voices and just do what felt right for me. I realized that I was uniquely qualified in finding ways to challenge my body because none of the outside voices had my Cerebral Palsy. None of them had a history of two broken ankles and a fractured knee. It was a very personal journey to find the right kind of challenge. It was difficult trying to differentiate between good hurt and bad hurt. I needed to find the right balance between too easy and too hard. I had to be so in tune with my body to navigate those decisions.

That introspection really shifted the rehab process. Now I understand why my friend was so happy to start her runs. That doesn’t mean I'll try my hand at running 10 miles though.

Until Next time readers…

- Bianca A.

Leave a comment