And how does that make you feel?

A big part of why I work out is because I like how it makes me feel. I also like that it lets me get away with eating a few slices of pizza now and again without having to buy all new pants — don’t get me wrong.

And I’m not just talking about the runner’s high, although that’s very nice. No, I mean the way working out makes me feel about myself. I feel proud that I’m out there, working hard, pushing myself. I feel proud of what my body can do. But there’s more.

I’ve been noticing more and more that different exercises provoke very different feelings. Running makes me feel powerful, for example. I feel the way all the muscles in my legs work together to push me forward. When I pick up the pace, I feel the way the muscles in my core and shoulders respond — and it’s with strength.

Swimming makes me feel graceful and sleek, which is funny, because I feel so far from graceful or sleek or pretty when in my bathing suit before I get in the water. But, once I slip below the surface, I’m a different person. Everything from the sensation of the water gliding over my body to the way the bubbles and sunshine create patterns on the bottom of the pool is pretty much perfect — in the water, I feel exactly like the person I want to be, if that makes sense.

Dance workouts, like Zumba, make me feel kind of sexy. Something about dancing in a room full of women  (and maybe a few men), all of whom are shaking and shimmying with abandon, is really beautiful. In my head, I know my hips don’t move like Shakira’s, and I know my abs don’t look quite like the 20-year-old instructor’s, but my heart doesn’t give a damn. It’s just joyful — sweaty and out of breath, yes, but joyful, and I think that’s pretty sexy.

Biking, on the other hand, just makes me feel sorry for Jared because all I can think about is how cyclists must never — never — have sex. Good god I hate cycling. It’s just painful. Yeah, no redeeming qualities there.

Am I nuts? Or do other people get totally different feelings from different workouts? Come on, dish!

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