Often what I “get” out of exercise, or what I expect to get out of it, will change many times from the time I start to when I finish. I experience this especially when I run because - when I am not gutting myself in a training session and allow myself to enjoy a run - I have lots of time to think. I went out recently for a short run. It was my first run since the Sea Wheeze, which I went into with less than great training as a result of a parasite I had for 5 weeks in the summer.
I left home with the intention of “seeing what I had”. I seem to default into that competitive self where I compare 'today' to previous runs or races and what’s measurable (numbers, time, pace, splits, etc), and never accepting that I should be slower than before. The measurables were great on this recent run: heart rate, perceived exertion and speed were almost like I have not missed a beat. All of this was encouraging considering I have not run for so long.
But WAY more important was the self-realization of what I tell everyone who comes to my morning classes; that clearing your head with some form of cardio will calm your mind and give you the confidence and focus to take on and have a productive successful day. Admittedly, with everything that goes with being an entrepreneur, my mind can get scattered before I even start my day...and that needs to change.
This hit me like a bag of hammers as I started to feel almost hypocritical during this run. While I get my cardio in daily, it's not often in the morning even though I know it's a good practice for me as it is such an awesome press of the reset button. I remember how morning hockey practices or run training sessions set me up for the day but somehow let myself lose that. Going out for a run with a different intention than to see how fast I am will have a much more positive impact and benefit me on a larger scale - with added focus for my day, clarity in my mind and a feeling of physical satisfaction. It's a re-realization of the right way for me to start my days - with cardio.
An a.m cardio session is the key to lasting mental clarity and focus throughout the day. Whether it is a run, a spin class or a swim, getting your heart rate up and creating a mental focus on nothing other than movement is that 'reset button' for our nervous systems, our hearts and our heads. The fact that I was able to sit down and write this after a run, without overthinking it is evidence enough for me to get back to this habit that I’ve missed for far too long. Plus, without running with stress of timing, I may get faster in the process. #addedbenefit. And, yes, I've gotten my cardio in first thing in the morning every day this week and am alreday feeling the positive impact. My challenge to you: give it a go and see how your days shift.