Some quirky exercise habits of mine

Like many people, I enjoy exercising for the way it makes me feel, both during the workout and afterward.

No matter how badly my day is going, it improves once I’ve hit an elliptical machine, played some volleyball, or gone jogging.

The act of getting to the gym may be a challenge, but once I’m there I’m golden.

Anyway, recently I’ve noticed that I have some pretty quirky exercise habits. I’m sure I’m not alone, as many of us have routines we can’t (or don’t want) to break.

Here’s a list of some of my strange practices:

1. Whenever I go jogging I imagine myself jogging a course I frequently ran during another time in my life. For some reason this makes my jog easier. The most common course I think of is a route I took while living in Castelnau-le-Lez, France. It was perfect for a 30-minute run. From home I headed down the Chemin des Centurions, past my bus stop, the tobacco shop and the pharmacy. By the time I got to the Avenue de l’Europe my jog was a quarter done. I then ran down a  stretch of the Avenue de L’Europe, past big box retailers, fruit sellers, and swarms of vehicle traffic, until my run was half over. Then I headed back home. Whenever I reach the midpoint of a jog I imagine myself circling a street sign on the Avenue de L’Europe like I used to do. Then I think to myself: “I was able to finish the rest then, I can do it now”. Other routes I commonly think about include six times around a large reservoir next to Loyola College in Baltimore, and a run through woods, up and down hills, and past horse stables in Saint Georges d’Orques, France.

2. When playing a two-person sport like tennis I always hope and pray that my competitor will play well. This doesn’t necessarily come naturally. I must tell myself to think this way, and then do it. The more I have this mentality the more naturally it comes. Right when the other person swings his or her racket to hit the ball I think: “Come on (insert name), you can do it! You can hit the ball over the net! I know you can!” Usually the ball ends up coming over the net, though surely not as a result of my thoughts. But because I told myself the ball would come over, I am better prepared to hit it. So by thinking and hoping that my competitor will play well I actually help myself play better. You should try this sometime!

3. When possible I choose treadmills that are in front of windows or bright-colored pictures. At my gym there is this one treadmill I feel is in an ideal location. It’s about 10 feet away from a large window enclosing the gym’s office. I like running in front of it because I can sort of see my reflection in the window. I don’t see enough for me to be critical about the way I look while running, but enough to see my outline. For some reason watching a silhouette of my steady running movements helps me focus on running. I think it’s sort of like how white noise can help you sleep better. Anyway, if I look through this window I see two pictures: one of a man flexing his muscles and the other of a red sports car. If I stare at either one of these pictures while running I can also run better. I think they help me from getting distracted and inspire me with their implied representation of greatness. Lately I’ve preferred focusing on the red sports car, even if it’s not right straight ahead like the muscle man picture is.

So these are a few of my quirky gym habits. Maybe they are stranger than most people’s, but that’s OK. What matters is they help me out!

Image from www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/467082727.

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