Tune Into What Feels Good for You

I feel that I have far too recently learnt what I now consider to be the most fundamental piece of information about exercise. That it has to feel good. 

I have been taught my whole life that any exercise is good exercise and that the serotonin boost gained from it cannot be beaten. I would argue differently. I can think of times when I have regretted a workout, contrary to popular belief that this is impossible. 

There aren’t many things in life where one size fits all, and exercise certainly isn’t one of them. We all have different body types and sizes so it should be expected that not everything will feel good to everyone. And I don’t just mean that it won’t feel as good – I mean it can actually feel rubbish and disheartening.  

I tried running in my mid-teens. I signed up for the 800m race at Sports Day and committed to going on a run every day leading up to it, and I can say that I did this. I ran every single day for a month, but I saw no improvement. I don’t regret my commitment but I remember feeling worse after my runs than I had before. When it came to Sports Day, I didn’t come last, but I was beaten by girls who had done next to no practice. I was acutely aware that the effort I had put in far exceeded the payoff.  

Skip ahead a couple of years and I’m in the midst of lockdown with no routine or goals and a sporadic sleeping schedule. One random morning, I woke up at 5:45am and – there is no other way of putting this – I just felt like running. I sat up bolt upright, body and mind wide awake, and decided that I wanted to run. I was out the door and along the canal by 6am with only the sunrise for company. I couldn’t believe how far I went. I used to not be able to pass the end of my road without needing to walk for a bit. Now, my first run in years, and I ran the furthest I ever had before.  

It’s not fair to say that I was unfit before or that I wasn’t trying hard enough – arguably, I used to try harder than I do now. It’s that running just didn’t work for my 14-year-old body. At the time, I viewed this as an unsolvable problem. Constructively, it would have been better to think ‘ok, running doesn’t seem to suit me and it doesn’t feel good – let’s try another type of lower-intensity exercise’. I’d love all of us to become more aware of what is and isn’t working for us earlier on and adjust this, rather than stopping altogether. Writing a list of what exactly I didn’t like about running and changing each of these things would have been much healthier for me. 

In many cases, we draw the conclusion that a whole area of our life can’t be explored anymore when one line of action persistently fails us. I definitely went through this stage and felt rather ashamed that I had been unable to use my body effectively. I concluded that I was bad at exercise and was too disheartened to go down another route. 

Fortunately, this was just a phase and I’ve worked through everything I used to not like about exercise. I now enjoy running a couple of times a week but walking is also a much bigger part of my regime than it used to be. Other things like home workouts, cycling and badminton are also sports that I get kicks out of, but not all the time. You might find that some things you enjoy are more seasonal or infrequent – it doesn’t matter, as long as you just do them when you want to and take a break when you don’t! 

I have used exercise as an example but tuning into what feels good for you is applicable to so much more. See where this could take you. 



#exercise #mindfulness #wellbeing #feelgood #meditation #somatic #soma #body #mind #spirit #running #workout #fitness #sport #psychology #coach #development #improvement #reflection #blog #growthmindset

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s