Exercise as Therapy

For me, exercise is my primary stress reliever. Without it, I’m a bundle of nerves, easily aggravated and just short-tempered in general. Over the past few weeks I’ve been dealing with a pretty significant sprain in my foot. The injury has had a dramatic effect on my activity level and frankly my attitude as well. I had to learn to accept that while I might not be able to exercise to the same intensity or frequency, there were things that I could do despite the limitations from the injury.

This brought to mind a very dear friend of mine. She faithfully exercises a number of mornings a week without fail. In fact, when I first met Nancy, I was a recent college grad and had very sporadic workouts. Between my age and my metabolism I was able to maintain a reasonable weight. I remember admiring her dedication to getting up and exercising in the morning before work. I’m not much of a morning person so I couldn’t imagine (at that time) exercise being a great reason to get up early! Several years later and more miles than I would like to count that separates us, we are still great friends, and she’s still faithful to her morning workouts!

Image of woman

My motivation is to get the endorphin rush and the calming feeling after a workout.

My Motivation for a Regular Workout Routine

by Nancy Neiman Flaharty

I like to do workout videos (some are still VHS!) in the privacy of my own home. Most of the videos are cardio mixed in with light weights or strengthen moves. My favorites are by Kathy Smith and Chalene Johnson. (It’s important to find an instructor you like. Some of them, who shall remain nameless, get on my last nerve.) I’ve never joined a gym and prefer it that way.

I work out pretty regularly. Mostly, I work out 4 to 5 times a week. My friends who have a hard time maintaining a regular workout routine often ask me how I am so disciplined. I don’t think of myself as that disciplined but I can see where they are coming from.

This is what I tell them: I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease when I was 23. Before that the only exercise I got was dancing all night in the clubs of Hollywood with a cocktail and cigarette in hand. But after treatment for Graves’ Disease I became hyper­anxious and suffered panic attacks. I had to take two separate doses of radioactive iodine which sent my hormones into a tizzy. One night, the anxiety was so bad I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin. At the suggestion of a friend, I put in the VCR (yes! The VCR!) one of the Kathy Smith video workouts that I’d tried earlier in life and promptly stored, untouched in a cabinet for years.

I put everything I had into this 40 minute low impact workout trying to get rid of the tortuous panic and low and behold, at the end of that workout, I finally felt relaxed. It must have been the combination of the endorphins and the complete depletion of energy. Since then I have been hooked.

Unfortunately, I smoke a pack of cigarettes a day and my diet is known to contain McDonald’s, mac and cheese, and burritos on occasion, but I have been able to maintain my fitness level and weight doing these aerobic videos for the better part of 25 years.

My motivation is always to get that endorphin rush and that feeling after a workout that calms me. Plus, I always do my workouts in the morning. I have my 20 ounces of coffee and a couple cigarettes, then hit it. I know, not the best formula, but it is what I do. When I am done, I already feel like I accomplished a personal goal that day and it’s only 8 AM!


So while Nancy’s diet and smoking aren’t a prescription for clean living, she keeps her commitment to exercise. Through her regularly scheduled workout routine she is able to keep anxiety in check and her body strong.

I can’t stress the importance of finding a workout routine that works for YOU and establishing a regular workout schedule.

As Nancy said, not every workout instructor is going to mesh with your personality – and that’s okay! Find one that teaches with a style that inspires you to stay committed and work hard. Just like you wouldn’t give a friend a lame excuse to skip a coffee date, don’t let lame excuses get in the way of exercising. Put it on your calendar in ink and don’t cheat yourself by skipping it. The more exercise becomes a regular part of your daily routine the easier it will be to stick with it.

Want to get started in finding an exercise routine that works for you? Give me a call (574-387-1344) or drop me an email. Let’s talk about your likes and your dislikes and identify some possibilities.

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