I NEED exercise

I can't believe I'm actually saying that!  I was always the girl to get picked last or second last for sports teams at school.  Totally not my scene at all.

But I seriously committed myself to regular exercise about five years ago.  I was initially motivated by a desire to lose the large amount of weight I had gained during my No 3 pregnancy.  But as time went on I realised that exercise and going to the gym were keeping me sane.  Literally sane.  Without it I found myself going a bit loopy - getting anxious, over-processing every conversation, unable to feel calm, getting angry and grumpy with the family a lot.  Even Rowan now says, "I think you need to go to the gym - you really need to go (code for 'I love you, but you are a mental case').

I certainly don't look as happy or glamourous
as this lady at 6 am in the morning!
After I had my fifth child I was so smashed tired - I felt pretty terrible at the 9 month mark and one of the things that got me through that time was pushing on with the exercise.  It helped that Rowan was very committed to helping me do it - so he reassured me over and over that it was OK for me to leave the children with him so I could go.  I found it hard to leave the house guilt-free.  It was all so crazy with the kids.

Over the past few weeks I've noticed myself getting really frustrated with the kids over silly things - their fighting is getting me down.  A combination of Rowan being away a lot and me starting work has eaten into my gym time (I go first thing in the morning - only regular time that is spare in the day)  and so I've hardly been at all over the past few weeks.  And I'm going a bit mad.  I need to go at least three times a week, more is better, but that at least seems to create the mental balance that I need.

It's all a bit freaky. I don't understand all the science behind it, but I do know it works.  It's also helped me strengthen my back which is pretty destroyed after having multiple pregnancies (all 4-5 plus kilo babies) and then lugging them around for years.  Dual benefits.

Still can't really believe that I enjoy exercise - so not me!


Kath said…
There's evidence that regular exercise has similar recovery rates as anti-depressants in mild to moderate depression. (Better side effect profile, too ;) So you're onto a good thing.
Taara said…
Just wanted to say I love reading your blog. You have such a raw, honest way of writing that is so refreshing. After baby #2 and heading into Christmas, I am also inspired to get exercising. Maybe it's also so I can justify eating all those Christmas goodies!
wide eyed said…
I totally agree - I don't know why I need it, and I can't see any outward signs of improvement, but the inner benefits are there. I have even been enjoying a boxing class (is there some underlying un-worked out aggression there!)
Karen said…
You really are my long lost cyber twin Jenny. I'm trying not to become a stalker, but I really do enjoy your writing too!
I could have written most of your post (except for the five pregnancies bit...) with the substitution of "swimming" for "going to the gym." I am completely non-sporty too...I really disliked swimming at school and the main reason I do it now is because the kids do it and we can get a six month entry pass to the pool for the whole family. But I have come to find it strangely relaxing churning up and down the pool looking down at the black line, or up at the indoor pool ceiling (I love backstroke because I don't have to think about breathing).
I haven't been for a swim for ages either, and am starting to notice all the symptoms of frustration you're talking about. My husband keeps telling me I should go for a swim too...hard to get back into the groove when I get out of it though.
Peter Sholl said…
About 20 years ago I ran for competition and for the thrill of a PB. Now, its for mental health then physical health (in that order).
Sandra said…
it's all about endorphins.
Donna said…
I have just bought a bike, and the other day, as I was riding the half hour home from work I was literally laughing as I cycled along because it felt so good. I don't know about all the science, but I agree, exercise keeps me sane too (and I only have two kids!)
Sandra said…
I walk and swim with different friends- keeps us accountable and is also a great opportunity to catch up.
Motherhugger said…
I needed exercise this morning, so drove to my yoga class to find I couldn't find a parking spot. Not impressed.

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