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What I Learned From Not Exercising

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For the first two weeks of the month I did not exercise once. Two weeks is NOT LONG AT ALL in the grand scheme of things. In fact, I will be taking much more time than that off from running (update soon). But when you go from marathon training to literally nothing (and I mean less than 1,000 steps a day), it’s a bit of a shock. At least it was for me.

I’ve never been one to get “antsy” from not running or working out. Anyone who knows me knows I can win a couch-sitting contest. For a few days over the summer my sister and I practically glued our butts to the couch and only got up to eat, but we preferred when food was brought to us. My point: I like lazy days. I like rest days. If I wasn’t marathon training, I wouldn’t plan my workouts at all, other than maybe scheduling a group exercise class once a week if it’s a place where spots fill up in advance. However, I genuinely enjoy exercise at home using my vibration plate. No one forced me to go to the dozens of fitness classes this summer in NYC. I really love being active and I feel better, mentally and physically, after moving my body.

I am admittedly frustrated having to take time off because of my foot. Not only can I not run the marathon, but I can’t run at all. Kind of a double whammy. Earlier this month when the injury first hit I was feeling defeated and uninterested in other forms of exercise. So, I did what any smart college student would do…I traded running marathons for Netflix marathons. Kidding. The truth is, I was tired. I decided to use the immediate weeks after my injury to take a break from all exercise. More than two weeks later and I didn’t gain 10 lbs (or any…I have no clue and don’t care), die or lose part of my soul. Dramatic enough for you?

I went to bed without setting an alarm, which is an amazing practice that we all should do more often. I read more. I took more naps (I didn’t think it was possible…it was). I ate normally. I caught up with the Kardashians (pun intended). I spent time with friends and family. I enjoyed time in the sun. All good things and, more importantly, all things I normally did on days I worked out. This means, not working out didn’t change much of my life. 

It’s crazy to me how often people in both the blog and real worlds complain about taking rest days. It’s a freaking day. Most people in the world don’t exercise as much as people portray online or on social media. We act like it’s the worst thing in the world to lose an ounce of running fitness or muscle strength. If we aren’t being paid to perform, then it shouldn’t matter too much. Sure we “worked hard” to get to a certain point, but setbacks happen. Actually, I think the challenge of “losing” fitness and gaining it back is alluring.

By NO MEANS am I saying I’m done running half/full marathons, quite the opposite actually. Like the saying goes, “you don’t realize what you have until it’s gone,” I truly value and am grateful for my ability to run. It’s a passion and hobby that will be welcomed back with open arms. But I know for certain that running is a want, not a need.

So, there you have it. A long-winded result of some much-needed and guilt-free couch time. I’m not giving up fitness entirely during my injury recovery, but everything will change. I’ll fill you in soon, because I’m sure you’re curious. I am fully in-tune with what my body is telling me and I respect what it needs at this time in my life. That is what’s most important.

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