By Heather Castellanos – East Providence, RI
This article was inspired by my friend Jess, who came to the gym the other day dressed and ready to go. When I saw her though, I immediately saw in her face that exercise was the last thing she wanted to do at that moment. She told me she wasn’t going to stay. Why? She had a pounding headache. I convinced her to stay and workout for 30 minutes and sees how she felt. If she still felt like crap, she could go home. She reluctantly agreed…10 minutes into the workout, she said, “My headache is gone. I just remembered that I even had one. I hate you.” We laughed.
Everyone has those days…you know, the ones where you promised yourself you would go to the gym. You had your gym bag packed and clothes all set to go. You had pumped yourself up the day before, “There is NOTHING that will prevent me from going. I am doing this!” Then, slowly but surely, the excuses start floating in. I wanted to take the time to point out why a few of the reasons why you decide not to exercise should actually be your motivation to do so.
1. You have a Headache.
Headaches can be the worst. That nagging pain that prevents you from wanting to do much of anything besides relaxing and closing your eyes. What you should know is that exercise is actually an extremely effective way of getting rid of many mild headaches. Exercise releases your feel-good endorphins which can act as natural pain killers. Also, many headaches are just a symptom of dehydration and when you exercise, you tend to drink more water, thus alleviating the problem. A third reason why exercise helps headaches according to Fitness Magazine is because it helps increase blood flow to the brain, reduce muscle tension and muscle fatigue thus reducing inflammation in the blood vessels. So, next time you have a headache, try using exercise as your way to get rid of it rather than as an excuse not to do it.
2. You’re Tired.
Anyone who has exercised ever in his/her life can attest that after a workout, your body and mind feel more alert and awake than before you started. Sure the workout may have fatigued your muscles to a certain degree, but usually you can’t go straight to bed after a good workout. Why? Movement increases blood circulation and stimulates your heart and brain. Therefore, even though exercise may be the last thing you want to do when you’re tired, it’s probably exactly what you need.
3. You’re Sore from Yesterday’s Workout.
When your muscles are sore and your body is stiff from your last workout, it’s a natural reaction to think that doing more exercise would be the worst thing for you. In many cases, you’d be incorrect. Mild muscle soreness is very normal after an intense workout, especially if you are new to your regimen. Light exercise can be a great way to alleviate that soreness because, again, exercise stimulates blood flow to your muscles which carries away waste and helps repair the muscles. Obviously, there are different degrees of muscle soreness and only you know how you feel. But, next time you’re thinking about skipping because you’re sore, just give some light movement a try and you’ll probably feel better.
4. You have a Hangover.
It’s Sunday morning, your alarm is set to go to the gym, and you wake up realizing you had a few too many drinks the night before. Hangover Time!. The hangover kind of encompasses all of the above. You may feel tired, sore, a little depressed, and have a headache. Light exercise will help release endorphins that will boost your mood, help you drink more water which will aid with the effects of dehydration usually caused by a night of too much drinking, and increase your alertness. So long as you’re not feeling like puking all over the place, try going to the gym and see if that helps get rid of the hangover. I bet it does.
Next time you hear those voices in your head convincing you not to go to the gym for any of the above reasons, do yourself a favor and test me. You can curse me too if you’d like, but I bet you’ll thank me afterwards.
About Heather Castellanos
Heather has been working in the fitness industry since 2003 as a trainer, instructor, and manager. She graduated from College of the Holy Cross in 2003 with a BA and found her passion for health and fitness soon thereafter. She feels fortunate to be able to help others find their love for health and fitness every day. Heather was also a speaker at the 2013 IHRSA Convention for fitness professionals. She is currently the Operations Manager at 212 Health and Performance.