I had a very, very frustrating week last week and for the first time since my knee surgery I went 4 full days with out doing an ounce of physical activity. I don't mean working out- I mean no physical activity at all. I walked maybe 100 yards at the most to and from the metro. It had a much bigger impact on me then I thought it would- physically, mentally and emotionally.
Last week things were absolutely crazy at work. I was arriving to the office by 730 am and working non stop until 10 pm every night (except on Tuesday when I left at 8pm because Phil got hit by a car on his bike! He and his bike are fine but it was a scary phone call!) The only time I moved from my desk was to use the bathroom or get more water from the kitchen. I came home every night exhausted and cranky. I set my alarm for 6 am every morning hoping to get in a run or a ride but as soon as my alarm went off I would either get up and feel the need to go right to work, or press the snooze button. Stress levels were running high and I was feeling worse and worse as the week went on.
By Friday, I was a wreck. My whole body hurt from sitting so long. I felt guilt from not working out. I hadn't slept well all week from the weird muscle pains I was having from lack of activity and the dreams I was having about financial statements and work stress. I had a headache that only seemed to go away after drinking a Coke. My attitude and outlook on life was also grim- I was an emotional basket case by Friday and held back tears several times at work Friday. Please note that I do not mind working long hours as it comes with the territory of being an accountant but no quarter close has ever been this high stress.
Today, I woke up early and took a practice GRE test as planned. I felt tired. I felt like my brain was made of mashed potatoes. My test results also showed that my brain was not working. Around 5pm, after 7 hours of studying I felt so tired that I thought about taking a nap. But I decided to go run instead.
I put an old playlist on my ipod (think Ultimate Dance Party 1999) and went out on the trail and just rocked out. Note that when I say "rocked out" I do not mean I ran fast or an epic distance- I mean I sang the songs out loud and whenever a really awesome song came on, I threw my hands in the air like I just didn't care. I ran just over 7 miles...my first few miles at an easy pace and I did sprints and pick-ups on my way back home. It felt so good to get moving. I felt human again- my mood improved drastically and my body aches have turned into the good kind of burn after a great run. I actually feel tired tonight...the kind of tired where I will have a sound night sleep.
I didn't realize how a lack of physical activity would have such an effect on me in so many different ways. I now realize that a quick run, or even a brisk walk around the block if time is tight, is necessary not just for my physical health but for my mental and emotional health as well. Next week when work is just as crazy, I hope none of my co-workers mind that I take 30 minutes to go get sweaty. It's in every one's best interest!
Am I crazy? or do you notice a difference in yourself when you don't get in any physical activities as well?