I thought this was just me. But apparently I’m not alone – does anyone else identify with this feeling. Not just of being able to run [or swim or cycle or yoga] forever, but of all sorts of things being possible. It seems that in the midst of exercise, once your mind has let go of the everyday worries and your body is dealing physiologically with the stress cycle, you inadvertently focus on your wildest dreams.
I can finish a run or a walk having generated an idea, clearly planned it out and be filled with enthusiasm to get started, even confident I can overcome any obstacles in my way including the naysayers’ attitudes. This could be a big travel plan, my next career move or adopting a new lifestyle. Everything seems so clear, so easy and, ultimately, possible and achievable.
If nothing else, this is one of the best reasons to do exercise. As well as the well documented physical health benefits, there’s another side. Exercise takes you back to reality: to the wild, natural you. Doing exercise gets you out of your mind and into your body. Your mind is then free to tap into those things that you want to think about, not the things that you feel you should do and not the barriers that we create for ourselves.
I’ve been inspired by Anna Kessel’s book Eat, Sweat, Play and she touches on this. On how being able to do sport/exercise can empower women in so many ways. From meeting new people to building physical strength and mental strength. She quotes Sarab, an Iraqi football coach working with girls in camps for displaced people and refugees, who explains:
“If you are shy to chase a ball, how can you achieve your dreams? Playing sport makes you feel free. It makes you feel like you can achieve anything”
I don’t think this feeling is unique to women and if everyone exercised a little bit, the world would be a healthier and happier place. I think sport can take us back to a baseline, a fresh start, where anything is possible.
I can’t answer the question of why or how. For me there’s a meditative aspect to running – a focus on breathing and rhythm and that’s all. Mindfulness on the run. Literally.
Give it a try – step outside and get moving. Who knows where it might take you?
If you’re feeling stuck and want some help and encouragement to get that oomph back in your life then get in touch.