Productivity Creepin': Work it, Baby

Some thoughts on working out from a nonathletic, not particularly enthusiastic, and rather sickly, lady:

– Here’s a summation of my workout journey so far, for the interested: Let’s Get Physical, Total Elliptical of the Heart.

– Closing my eyes while on the elliptical not only helps me get into the music or the podcast I’m listening to, but makes the experience a hundred times more enjoyable. My mind is free while my body does its thing, unattended. It feels like dreaming. It took the tedium out of my workout.

– I am free to look like a damn fool while I work out in safety of my bedroom. Those of you who work out in public might not be so fortunate. And you probably shouldn’t close your eyes if you, you know, jog.

– Buying the elliptical was probably one of the best investments we’ve ever made for my health. My stamina is approaching regular-person levels of fitness. Walking around for semi-extended periods of time no longer exhausts me.

– I schedule time to workout everyday. I do not, by any stretch of the imagination, work out every day. My health isn’t stable enough to allow that, but if I schedule time to work out every day then I fit in elliptical time several days a week.

– I’ve learned not to work out, no matter how guilty I feel, when I have the following: a migraine, nausea, arthritis pain, sinus issues. I’ve learned that I can work out with the following: cramps, anxiety, upset stomach. The body is a strange machine.

– Podcasts and the like are okay workout accompaniment as long as I’m extremely interested in the subject. If it’s not moving fast enough, even if I normally enjoy it, it becomes tedious. Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me is a sure thing. Radiolab or This American Life are about 50-50. Music is usually the way to go.

– Investing in exercise is a wise and thrifty choice. Taking care of the health of your body will save you money on doctor bills, prescriptions, sick leave, over the counter remedies, and productivity. Being truly thrifty isn’t just about saving, it’s also about adding value to your life and spending wisely to get the most out of what you do spend. We paid a couple hundred dollars for a machine that I use several times a week that has increased my quality of life dramatically.

– Speaking of music: the best workout music ever has got to be Girl Talk. I made a really poppy station on Pandora but became bored with it almost immediately. The best music to work out to is stuff I genuinely love. Every song doesn’t need to be uptempo as long as most of them are. I work out to some slower songs. Anybody else work out to slow songs occasionally, too?

– Isobel loves hanging out in the bedroom and so looks forward to my “exercises.” She likes to stand on my bed and dance to the music. This makes working out as much as I do possible.

– Once I get really into working out, I generally have to make myself stop. My limit is about 30 minutes. If I go beyond that I end up hurting myself.

– There are days that I just don’t get into it, even with closing my eyes and listening to perfect music and generally doing the right things. And that’s okay.

– I started working out to maintain a healthy weight, but it has so many other wonderful benefits: I need less sleep and wake up with more energy. I get so much more done throughout the day. Standing, walking, and being a normal human being is so much easier. Perhaps best of all, working out has made anxiety my bitch.

What has helped you work out lately? What gives you motivation?

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  1. says

    My motivation has waned with the heat, so I’ve found that scaling back has helped keep me interested in continuing my running program. I need to switch up the trails and street runs I do to keep me interested. I’ve also added barefoot running, because I really like how it feels. I can’t do it every run, though. When I am barefoot running, I usually listen to Taylor Swift. She is my fave, but generally not conducive to running, because her music is slow. Barefoot running for me is in the beginning stages without a lot of mileage, so keeping it slow and easy while I build up the toughness of my feet and muscles involved is nice. I can listen to Taylor and run nice and slow through the National Park. …Oh yeah, living five minutes from a national park definitely doesn’t hurt. There are so many trails and so much prettiness!
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  2. says

    Girl Talk is the best. Best. Sorry to hear about your health stuff :/ but glad to hear the elliptical is helping. Exercise is on my “really soon: important” list. It really does help with anxiety and just general negativity doesn’t it? Well, keep up the healthy work, lady!
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    • Carrie Anne says

      I honestly never believed the hype. How could 30 minutes of flailing change my mood? Boy, was I wrong!

  3. says

    Yeah, man!! Working out is awesome, once you get into a routine of it. When Julian was born eight long years ago, we bought an elliptical so I could get back in shape. I don’t like gyms, and I especially didn’t like the idea of leaving a newborn at the gym daycare. So I started on the elliptical and could only do 12 minutes at first without feeling like I was going to die. (I hadn’t yet been diagnosed with celiac disease at that point, and chronic fatigue was something I thought was normal.) Every day, I would add 2 minutes to my workout time, until I could do 45 minutes without much effort. So good for you for kicking ass and busting a move on your elliptical.

    These days, my elliptical sits in the garage because there’s no room in our house for it. I usually just jump around like a fool while Audrey watches a Curious George, and that seems to be a good amount of exercise for me.
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    • Carrie Anne says

      It really is awesome once you get into it! And I started with 5 minutes and wanting to die, so I totally feel you. My fatigue was insane, and though most of it was crohn’s-related I really can’t dismiss the boost exercise has given me.

  4. Jose says

    The hard part is “breaking through” so that exercise becomes a habit and a “craving”. Then you don’t “feel right” without having done some exercise. But once you get there, so much easier. I would actually detest a bit the thought of going for walks (too much work). Now I have to do some type of running or gym workout.

    • Carrie Anne says

      I swear it took forever for that to happen. And despite all the active things I’ve done: Kung Fu, weight training, gym membership, it’s never happened before until I started using this elliptical at home. I swear I was beginning to think it was a myth.

  5. Dingey says

    That’s funny, Jose–walking is totally my thing! Having a dog that needs exercise helps keep me motivated. The summer’s heat and humidity has made it harder for both me and the (excessively hairy) dog to stay on task, so I am longing for the cooler weather, when i can get back in the groove of hiking straight up a mountain for a couple miles. Serious cardio, and I’m still sort of stunned that I can do it. When we first moved to the mountains, even though I’d been walking a lot for a year or two at that point, the mountains KICKED MY ASS. Now? No big whoop! Up we go! It really is satisfying to feel your body making changes for the better.

    And Carrie Anne, you’re totally right. It seems IMPOSSIBLE that exercise can make you feel so much better (especially when you don’t engage in it and never really have and can’t believe all the fitness freaks that are so into it and shit)but it really, seriously does. I never thought I would get so into it. I used to say the only way I’d run was if somebody was chasing me with a knife (and then I’d take a long drag on my cigarette and see if there were any more cookies in the jar). Now I actually find myself occasionally breaking into a trot while out with the dog. Go figure. Getting more hardcore about hiking (and biking, when we still lived in the flatlands) totally reversed my sudden onset burst of middle-aged-crazy-lady-hormones-induced high blood pressure a few years back, and really, REALLY helps keep the aforementioned middle-aged-crazy-lady-hormones at least SOMEWHAT under control in general. It’s also done wonders for my crappy lower back issues. I find that USUALLY if I am in a really bad mood, heading out with the dog and walking either really far in our neighborhood, or cruising to one of the trails off the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway does serious wonders for my brainspace….

  6. says

    So with you on Girl Talk. I had been listening to that a year before it dawned on me to put it on my exercise playlist. Now, workouts are my bitch. Viva La Girl Talk!

  7. Jenna says

    I am generally not prone to jealousy, but I am jealous of this! I, too, have a chronic disorder that would benefit from exercise (and back when I had insurance, my doctor urged me to do so). Frustratingly, my living arrangements and finances don’t allow exercise equipment. I fantasize sometimes about getting a stationary bike to use while listening to audio books. (Clearly, I need to get some new fantasies!) I also have a severe phobia of working out in public, so I am totally jealous of anyone can making private/in-home exercising work for them.

    And I’ve just revealed WAY MORE about myself than I tend to do on the internet. :/

  8. unrealsnow says

    THIS! I LOVE the elliptical. It’s the only exercise that I’ve found to be challenging but also fun. And I totally close my eyes, too. I told a friend and she was all “that’s weird.” I’m glad that someone else is weird like me! Thanks so much for this post! It’s motivated me to get back into working out after vacation.

    • Carrie Anne says

      I am so glad you close your eyes, too. Now move to CA so we can be BFF and closed-eyes elliptical together.

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