Why I Stopped Going to the Gym and Feel Better for It
In the age of wellness, the gym is often the centre piece of the action. Exercise, we are told, is the key to living a long and healthy life. ‘Do moderate exercise every day, at least 30 minutes’, we are told by the wise folk in national health organisations.
In the workplace, the gym is the ‘cathedral’, where workers go to work off that stress and let it all out.
Better still – join a class if you can. Perhaps spin is your thing – after all, in theory working as hard as you can, sweating it all out to mindless techno and what have you, is surely good for you?
Hands up though if you’ve had the opposite experience. Perhaps you feel exhausted the next day despite a great work-out. Perhaps this is because you are dehydrated, didn’t eat ‘properly’ afterwards, not enough sleep….Confused? Is this you? Perhaps not. If it is, keep reading.
Let’s face it. Exercise is a form of stress on the body. We have to work hard to perform and that often involves pounding joints, straining muscles, including our heart, to get through our exercise regime. We also perspire, dehydrating ourselves and in the process losing vital vitamins and minerals. It’s hard to be believe that exercise is in fact ‘good’ for you.
However for some, doing intense, demanding physical exercise really is a drain. For me, I feel fatigued, tired and often wonder why I even bothered going. I would feel so ‘high’ afterwards, but then ‘crash and burn’ the next day.
On the other hand, when I practice some gentle hatha yoga in the mornings, especially before work, gently raising heat and sweat in the body, I feel energised and focused all day long. I sometimes refer to this as the ‘air conditioning effect’ – a gentle cool ‘breeze’ blowing on my body, keeping me feeling refreshed. What’s even more remarkable is that I exert less effort to achieve more energy, compared to if I worked out harder at the gym.
Why would this be the case?
The answer could be due to your body type. Not everyone is suited to heavy exercise. Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, determines how you should lead your life according to your constitution. For some, more physical exercise is suitable. For others, it’s definitely not.
For me, I connected the dots together when it was recently revealed to me that the type of exercise that I really thrive on – yoga, swimming etc., could be in fact due to my constitution – specifically, my blood type.
This revelation to me is game-changing. I can be intelligent with the choice of my exercise, as well as the food that I eat. The specific details of this regime is a topic for another post, but for now I feel rejuvenated in the knowledge that everything I have been told about exercise isn’t always appropriate for me.
When I step back for a moment and look at the fact that we are told by so many people how to lead our lives, I realise that there is so much information out there telling us what to do and how to do it. Yet, when we dig deeper, being smart about the advice we constantly receive is really about filtering much of this information and working out what works for you.
When it comes to exercise, listen to the signals your body is sending you and find that right routine that works for you. If smashing it out on the treadmill leaves you feeling shattered, stop right there, and try a different routine; one that makes you feel great but one that also allows you to really thrive.
What’s your experience of different exercise regimes?