Monday, January 31, 2011

Why I Exercise At The Crack Of Dawn

Finding time to exercise is hard.   I'm aware of all the reasons exercise gets sidetracked because there are so many things vying for our attention at the end of a day.  Do laundry, make dinner, pack lunches, stop by the grocery store, pick up a birthday present, wash the dog....the list goes on and on and on.

We all start off with good intentions like when we joined that cool, new gym or bought that really cute workout outfit.  We promise ourselves that this week will be the week we start exercising.  Excuses be damned!  But, it's too hard to walk past the pile of laundry and too hard to extract any sort of motivation after dinner. Lethargy kicks in and the exercise regimen is put on hold once again.

That's why I exercise at the crack of dawn.  The only excuse I have to fight at the beginning of the day is the urge to sleep in. Take it from me the urge to sleep in is far easier to fight than the other one million excuses I can find at night.  I used to try to find time to exercise in the evening and failed miserably night after night.  Something always needed to get done.  By the time my to-do list was complete it was time for bed.  I figured there had to be a better way.

When I turned 30 I quit smoking and made a plan to get healthy.  I decided the only way I would consistently exercise was if I worked out in the morning.  I didn't really want to get up before work to exercise because I was never what you would consider a "morning person" but I needed to do something.  I tried and failed and tried again and just kept trying to get up with that damn alarm.  You know what happened?  It finally worked.  No more excuses.  I was in a groove and not only did I find time to exercise, I developed a habit that has continued for 11 years.  Yes, it was hard to get used to at first, but like any other habit, it's now a typical part of my day.

Some mornings I want to throw the alarm clock across the room when it goes off at 5:15 am.  I'm not always eager to get up and start my day before the birds (or any other living creature) are even awake.  But, I always feel better after I do. I always feel better knowing that I'm starting my day off with one thing already crossed off my to-do list - one thing I've done today just for me. 

Getting up at the crack of dawn to exercise isn't for everyone.  But if you are struggling to find time to exercise, I urge you to set your alarm early and see what happens.  You might just develop a morning exercise habit, too.  It's not as bad as you think.  When I'm done exercising and the house is still quiet, I grab a cup of coffee and take a deep breath. Ahhhh.

Let the day begin.


linda said...

My wake up call was breast cancer at 42. I signed the family up for a gym membership, and started going before work, using their showers to get ready. Surprisingly (not) there were very few people there at 7 a.m., so it was like having a huge locker room with good lighting to myself. Plus, once you're at the gym, there isn't much you can do but exercise. It's been seven years since we joined, and my husband and I go every weekday. I've been laid off for eight months, but I still get up at 5:30 a.m. and go. At 52, I feel great and also I'm pretty proud of myself! And I can sit on the couch and crochet in the evening after dinner and not feel guilty.
I got a Wii Fit Plus for the days when we have a huge snow storm, and that gives instant feedback, so it's an option to get moving in a gentle and fun way.

Kim Murray said...

Linda, it's amazing how much one can get done before 7:00 am! I used to love going to the gym early for the exact same reasons you said...hardly anyone was there! I agree that sitting down at night and relaxing is one of the best reasons to get the exercise thing done in the guilt. Glad to hear you are happy and healthy. Keep up the good work!

Mommy on the Spot said...

You are awesome! I try to do it, and some days I do, and some days I don't. It's harder in the winter time for me. But I do try and have my daughter see me exercise at least once a week so she knows that it is an important part of taking care of oneself.

Kim Murray said...

Erin, you're setting a good example because if your kids see you exercise they think it's a normal thing to do.

Angela said...

Kim, you are my constant inspiration! I love reading your blog, you are a wonderful writer! I have belonged to the same gym for 8 years, but usually don't get there until 10:00 am, a little past prime time, but if I don't do it in the morning I can't make it there the whole day! I'll have to try your early morning routine, I like the idea of having a work out in before the day has even started, what a feeling of accomplishment! Thanks for keeping me in the loop, hope all is well with you and your family :)


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