Some addictions are positive, unlike addictions to drugs. Years ago I broke my addictions to nicotine and to tetrahydrocannabinol. Those were a couple of the hardest things I ever did, but doing that was sure good for my health.
But now I have another addiction. I have become addicted to exercise. Every time I see that it’s a beautiful day out, I want to head for the mountains. Even when it’s a cold, rainy, or snowy day, I would like to go hiking, but instead I choose to head for the fitness center and one of the treadmills there.
I didn’t used to have this addiction. I started exercising in earnest when I started on Byetta. I exercised because I knew I should. My mind but not my body knew that it was good for me.
Should’s grate against my independent sensitivities, and I try to avoid “you should” in my conversation and writing. So when at a party a year or two ago, I resented what someone said to me so much that I still remember it.
I had mentioned how tired I was from my hike that afternoon. “You shouldn’t feel tired,” she said. “You should feel invigorated.”
She was wrong. I did feel tired after hard exercise then, because I had to push myself hard.
Nowadays, I seldom if ever feel tired after even a long, steep hike. And gradually as I felt better and stronger, the “should” changed to “want.”
I had heard of people getting addicted to exercise, but never really believed it and certainly never thought that it would happen to me. It can well happen to you too, if you let it.
But don’t believe me. Instead, you might consider doing a little experiment. It will take just a year or two. Start exercising regularly because you know that it’s good for you. See if you don’t gradually exercise because you want to, not because either you or I think that it’s something you should do.
This is all that I have time for now. Gotta go. It’s a beautiful day and I gotta hit the trail. Besides I gotta balance my work with taking care of my body.
I’m going to climb Green Mountain, which I can see almost every day from the windows at my desk and living room. A few days ago I was calling it “White Mountain,” because it was covered with snow. But now it’s sunny and warmer, and most of the snow has melted.
Green Mountain from my Living Room
P.S.: This evening I’m back from the trail. Here’s the view from 8,100 feet at the top of the mountain down to my home in Boulder at 5,400 feet.
Boulder from Green Mountain
This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.