Any time I begin to consider restarting my lifelong fitness journey, a familiar phrase echoes through my mind: Find an activity you enjoy so you are more likely to stick with it.
It seems like such an obvious statement, but as a certified introvert and couch potato, I have often felt that exercise is as appealing as stubbing my little toe on the coffee table. I just don't naturally find it fun.
But just because I don't love exercise doesn't mean that I don't understand how important it is, not only for the sake of physical fitness, but for the overall health of mind, body, and spirit. And so, despite my love of the couch, I have tried to develop a relationship with a pair of sneakers and a treadmill.
Most recently, something very surprising happened.
While I am decidedly not a fan of exercise, I am a fan of Edgar Allan Poe. Last fall, as I scrolled through Facebook, I discovered an interesting post in one of the Poe forums to which I belong. The post referenced a virtual race series honoring the Master of the Macabre himself! My interest in my sneakers and treadmill instantly spiked. Before I knew it, I was running my first Yes.Fit Edgar Allan Poe race, and within a few months, I had completed all four races in the series.
Finding the fun in fitness
My relationship with my sneakers and treadmill had warmed, and I worried that after I completed the Poe series, the fun and motivation would run dry. That's the amazing thing about finding a way to make exercise fun, once you do it, you don't want to stop!
Luckily for me, the fun and motivation have outpaced my ability to keep up, and that has taught me an unexpected lesson about fun and fitness. Sometimes, we may not find a specific activity that motivates us and makes the pursuit of greater health fun enough on its own. For some of us-die hard couchies, we have to dig a little deeper, and maybe even in unexpected places.
For me, a connection between fitness and my other interests in literature, art, culture, and travel made all the difference. Virtual racing may not be the ticket for everyone--and that's okay.
There can be many ways to connect your fitness journey to the other aspects of your life in ways that create motivation and fun. Maybe exercise time is your mental health gift to yourself, and it's the time you get to explore the outdoors, or even your favorite music. Perhaps there's a type of dance you have always secretly wanted to learn. Maybe it's a special time that you can get together with a friend or even your family.
There is no one right answer when it comes to finding your personal motivation. And finding fun in an activity may come from a different source than the activity itself.
In eighth grade, Edgar Allan Poe helped me discover the love that I had for poetry, writing, and the English language. I never dreamed he would help me discover a love for running!
Contributed by community member Samantha Blanchard