How do you perceive physical activity?

As i write this, I’m literally days away, 2, in fact, from my first marathon – I’m not telling you that so you can send messages of congratulations – I’m telling you that to show you that the way we view physical activity is most definately about perspective.

This is a little about my running story, hope I don’t bore you, but really the morale of the story is about perspective and mindset.

5 years ago , actually, even 12 months ago, I’d say the thought of running marathon could have made me physically sick, or at least twitch a little! Of course, I wasn’t sick, but I viewed it as torturous!  It was SO far out of reach, not to mention, my comfort zone.

Since then, I’ve slowly increased my running, and along the way just decided I needed to do one marathon in my life.  That was pretty much all – I made a conscious decision, rallied my beautiful girlfriends to be support crew, booked flights, accommodation and registered for the event.  To be honest, I’m still feel amazed at what the body is capable of when we set our minds to it!

I’m not implying everyone needs to do a marathon or similar, for you, it might just be starting to committing to using the stairs every time there is an option, instead of the lift!

Today, I’m, yes, a little anxious but strangely excited – excited for lots of reasons.  Here are some random thoughts for race week and a few things I’ve noted and learnt in the last 6 or 8 months:

I’d be a liar, liar pants on fire if I said it’s all been super easy! Did I want to get out of bed and run every time the alarm went off? No! But I did (except for maybe a few times, when I couldn’t logistically sort my children to be safely looked after!)

Training for a marathon is a rollercoaster of emotions – on the days I didn’t run, especially if a few in a row, I’d start to talk myself out of it! Questioning my decision and perspective! In comparison, after I’d run,, I knew I could do it!

A runner I know was telling me how he cried at end of one of his marathons!  At the time, I felt sorry for him and was thinking, he’s soft, who’d do that?!?!? I so get it now, after all the training and commitment, the support (and well meaning questioning) from loved ones, the ups and downs, I might just get a bit terry too!

I’m going to be towards the end of the finishers, and that’s cool, but I absolutely cannot wait to know I am capable of a marathon! I feel like, my view of the world will change even more – I’ll let you know!

My marathon perspective took on a whole new level of meaning when I also decided that the Jake Garrett Foundation would be my beneficiary for my fundraising efforts.  Again about perspective.  The Jake Garrett Foundation provides emotional and financial support for parents whose precious children have passed away.  Thank you to everyone who has generously donated. When you see a friend and her family having to face this, marathon training isn’t even on the radar of degrees of difficulty.  The marathon is half a day and families have to be without their little person forever.

Please, let my gradual shift in perspective be proof that once we change the way we view things, what we’re capable of changes!  For physical activity – just get moving!

I have a gorgeous friend who has been sending memes in the lead up to race week – all supportive, some hilarious – so I have a few quotes to share:

You will never grow if you stay in your comfort zone – cliche but true – how we view a challenge matters!

We always over estimate what we can do in the short term but under estimate what we can do in the long term – just start!  Go for a walk around the block to reward yourself. Make it a priority instead of making excuses why you can’t, just make it happen, and see how it feels!

That’s what I’ll be doing on Sunday!

My house is still messy.

Changing your perspective really can be a personally restorative act.

Let me explain – take cleaning the house for example – I feel like it’s a chore, so, given a chance, I avoid it! If I just took the view that by keeping the house clean it would be easier to live here, things might be different…(note, I haven’t mastered this yet and as a result always struggle to keep the house respectable!)

It’s the same with exercise – if we see it as a chore, quite simply, it will be!

But yet if we see it as not only being protective of our physical health but also our mental health – the game suddenly changes!!  When we are soaking up endorphins and achieving – we can easily choose our marvellous life, largely because we are feeling strong and confident from our efforts.  Are you following?

Perspective by definition is “a particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view”**  We make our best decisions when we can be aware of our own attitudes and points of view.

Now for the questions – how do you view physical activity?

Do you do it because you love the endorphins or because you think you should because of that chocolate slice you had for morning tea (or similar)?

What if you chose to view physical activity as an act of self-care and not torture?  It puts a whole new perspective on it really, doesn’t it?

Do you think choosing to change your perspective would make your life more marvellous?

** Reference – http://www.dictionary.com

 

Photo via Visualhunt

“Opportunistic”

Opportunistic

  1. exploiting immediate opportunities, especially regardless of planning or principle.

Source: Oxford dictionary

I believe that what I did yesterday fits this definition perfectly.  I exploited, or took advantage of the fact that my children’s Great Uncle wanted to take them to the motorbike shop and I went for a run.  No children were harmed in this opportunistic act, in fact, they had a fabulous time, so everyone had a win – got to love it when that happens!!

Anyhow, back to my run, it was an unexpected run – such a bonus!  For anyone who is time poor (which is probably most of us at some stage), this is comparative to winning on a scratch-it ticket – not anticipated, but you are grateful anyway!

When I was running I was thinking about both time and change.  They are the two things we have no control over and yet both make a huge difference in our lives. Its how we perceive them that makes all the difference.  For example, five years ago, running definitely wouldn’t have been my chosen opportunistic activity when someone offered to take my child (there was only one then) off my hands and honestly I would have cringed at the thought at all!!  But here we are, 5 years on, running is a chosen past time of mine – and on my opportunistic run it felt was so good it almost seemed a little naughty.  I almost felt like someone was going to tap me on the shoulder and tell me my time was up – now that is a massive change of perspective!

There was certainly nothing pretty about my run, it was slow and I sweated, a lot!  But it was my longest for the year this far and man, knowing I had just smashed out 9km, I can tell you, that felt pretty damn fine!  I also discovered a road I didn’t know existed, which links perfectly to my last blog post about new adventures being good for you!

So time has changed me and I’m proud of that.

I’m a runner now because I believe I am, (but just to set the record straight here and now, I will never be a race winner – but I sure feel like one especially when I walked in the gate and our dog was so pleased to see me, I imagine that’s how elite athletes feel when their fans surround them!

My perception of yesterday’s opportunity was as a way to get closer to my goals and I was ever so grateful for the time.

It is rather ironic, because, as a nurse, normally when I think of opportunistic I think of infection!  Since I’m writing about health, infection is obviously antagonistic to the cause!  However, perhaps just like sneaky infections, we all need to be a little opportunistic sometimes, especially if it meets our needs and gets us closer to our goals!

Disclaimer:  I tried to upload the photo I took just after I got back from said run, enter technical difficulties, hence the use of the happy emoji instead!  My apologies!