We all work out for different, varying reasons. Most of us do have a primary reason in mind: To lose weight, because it's healthy habit we're cultivating, because it's our only time that is truly time spent alone, with our own thoughts.
I fall in the last category. The first two categories, particularly the second, certainly come into play but I know what keeps me going back to the gym, hitting the pavement, and signing up for some crazy classes, all really boils down to my "Me Time".
So, what do you think about?
Me? I think about a lot of things, most easily broken down into "the past", "the present", and (of course) "the future".
"The Past": Whew. In my short (allll-most) twenty-six years, there's a lot there. Good childhood memories like time spent with my cousins or causing ruckus with my friends while we rode around on our bikes for 6+ hours a day (talk about a great workout!) Sometimes, though, as I push past my mile or a particularly high rep, my mind begins to wander to... somewhat darker periods. I definitely reflect on those at times when I felt my weakest, mentally and emotionally. Usually, though, I'm thinking about it from a good, strong place as I pound the pavement or count off my last reps. I don't know if it has to do with feeling physically in control in the moment or what but... it's actually a really good way for me to work through some of my most confusing and difficult feelings. What about you? Surely we've all had some trying times in the past that we still think about from time to time... often when we work out and are, for the most part, alone, with those thoughts.
"The Present": As a woman front and center in her mid-twenties, the "present" represents A LOT, to say the least. Talk about having a plateful! For the most part, I LOVE IT. I'd much rather have a a lot going on in my life than not but it can be almost too much to handle at times and my workouts are often the only time I really and truly step back and just... BE. That's actually always been the case- My refuge/sanctuary absolutely is any place I can go, work out and sweat with no one in my face (unless it's a trainer or instructor I'm paying to be there, of course). Career options, romance options, family/friends both near and far, travel plans, my spirituality, my short-term goals... the list goes on and on. It's a lot of thinking and it's so nice to do it on my own time.
Let's be honest, we haven't had the life experience it really takes to make some of the important decisions we find ourselves facing as we mature and a lot of it is guess work based on intuition and advice from others.... Becoming focused and centered is KEY to making smart decisions today to make an even better tomorrow.
"The Future": Ahhhhh.... "Future". I definitely do not have the details hammered out but "the future" to me is more of an amorphous plan where I'm happy and healthy and so are the people around me. As someone who is your typical Type- A list-maker, with at least four calendars going at the same time, this may come as a surprise to some who know me. I certainly have goals in life and a blueprint of sorts (flexible as it may be!) that I mostly stick to but I've mellowed out in the past few years to realize that at the end of the day, me and my loved ones being happy and healthy is all that really matters; the details work themselves out, whether we plan down to the last minute or not.
That said, there is a lot on my bucket list (live in another country, create a family, become a successful, published writer, start my own business, travel as much as possible to very remote places in the world, etc.) I am constantly considering my opportunities for the future and I find that thinking about all of this while I'm huffing and puffing away is often just as beneficial to my mind as the workout is to my body!
So what do you think about? Do you find, like me, that thinking about life while working out tends to alleviate stress? Or, do you prefer to use your time working out just zoning out?