With exercise we seek physical attunement and mental clarity. These attributes are believed to give us positive responses to actions that happen in our environment, and thus, positive outcomes throughout the day.
I was riding to Brookville, Indiana with a college wrestling buddy and catching up with him along the way. Of course, we got to discussing the current demands in life and how things have changed over the past 10 years.
While in school, we were highly active athletes with plenty of time to fit in workouts. Now, the task of physical activity seemed much less possible due to jobs, family, and social obligations. One of his remarks was that he wished he could get into it, but never seemed to have the energy to get the most out of his efforts.
Without exercise, it’s not as if we are not seeking physical attunement and mental clarity. The choice is in putting other people’s needs ahead of our own. We think that if we fulfill somebody else’s satisfaction ahead of our own happiness that it will net us some profit of energy. It never ends up like this though. Usually we come out drained and not looking forward to the next day ahead of us. We leave nothing back for ourselves.
My friend spent much of the weekend expressing his disdain for the current structure of his job. Mostly that the weekends went by too fast and the week drug on for too long. For this, he could not exercise or expend any extra energy to exercise.
Exercise does not deplete you. It completes you. Sure you have to stress the body to create a good feeling, but what a lot of people do not know is that there are two distinctive types of stress. Eustress and distress.
Eustress is stress that is good for the body. We have a positive feeling from the activities that we engage in. We grow our interest and curiosity and the body ages in a healthy manner. Distress is bad for the body. It is when we become motivated by fear.
A lot of us are operating under a heavy state of distress within a day. This distress debilitates the body and mind, and we function far less than optimally. It only acts to cripple us as we grow and leaves no room for hope into the future. Under no circumstance of fear can we move hopefully into the future. The future is in this moment, and if this moment is cultivated only under distress, then we have no future at all.
My personal commitments to exercise are heightened attunement and freshened perspective. These feed into other aspects of my life such as personal training, athletic competitions, and family joy. These commitments are forms of eustress that I consciously choose to pursue that bring happiness into my life and allow me to share and spread that message with others.
Trey Tompkins is a local resident who writes fitness columns for the Record-Herald.