“Girl, Put A Smile On Your Face, Replace Those Negative Habits And Just Keep On Running To Find Your Best Tomorrow, Today”

On Discovering The Benefits Of Exercising Every Day For Personal Mental And Physical Health

Photo by Andrew Tanglao on Unsplash

We’ve all heard those words, or something of the same ilk, so many times. It sounds like one of the worst types of cliché, but is there actually some truth in it?

I was never any good at any kind of PE. I was overweight, and not in the least bit physically fit. In fact, I spent most of the night before a school PE lesson, trying to come up with ideas to get me out of doing it. And I spent most of the actual lessons, warming the bench.

The thing is that at my school, the PE teachers were the type that had favourites; those kids that were good at it all. They were always picked first for every team. This left very little time for those of us who weren’t quite as gifted.

I remember one particularly humiliating gymnastics class where the boys and girls were put together due to bad weather. I was trying to do what the teacher wanted, but I didn’t do it to his standard, so he thought it would be a good idea to criticise me, imitate me, and draw attention to my varied failings. Everyone laughed at me.

That was the last time that I ever did PE at school.

The thing is that school PE often sets kids up to fail. It seems to be all about being active for that hour and a half, rather that teaching them how to build a habit. There is no actual training.

Since school, I have had a love — hate relationship with exercise.

Recently, I started a ‘Couch To 5K’ program after being told that I should increase my cardio fitness to help with my high blood pressure.

This is where the epiphany hit.

The gradual progression and building up of fitness in this program is a far cry from the way things were done in school, where we were expected to do a 10K after running 800m, once!

I have also begun practicing yoga. This was partly for emotional reasons, and also to help my flexibility and to help me to ease any physical pains that I have.

On the days when I don’t run, I am doing weight training, to try and build up my upper body muscles. This is the one that I’m finding difficult, if I’m honest, but I am determined to stick at it.

The thing is that exercise has many benefits. They increase strength and fitness. They help to keep weight down. They help with general, overall health. Exercise also releases endorphins — the feel good chemical in our brain. We look better, and feel better.

I have found that, even on my worst of days, as long as I can make myself get started with my exercise, I always feel better afterwards.

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Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.


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