The perfect wedding: You began imagining the day as far back as you can remember. Now, the real thing -- your milestone day -- is just months away, and although you feel like you’re attempting to go up the downward escalator while simultaneously juggling a bowling ball, a chainsaw, and a flaming torch. Planning can unquestionably be draining, and the meticulous attention to details just saps the life-force out of you.
Here’s an idea: Go to the gym! Grab a workout, a yoga class, or maybe some kickboxing -- whatever works for you. Go today! Not a member of a gym, or you let your last membership expire? Don’t let yourself use that as an excuse. Take action. Make it happen.
Exercise (coupled with proper nutrition) is the recipe for a renewed sense of energy and vigor. It’s the best way recharge your batteries. Face it, “Miss Frazzled Bride-to-Be,” now is not the time to slow down. Au contraire, it’s the time to kick your wedding planning into hyper mode, and the best way to make sure you sustain the energy level you need to pull it off is by maximizing your fitness level.
You may be thinking, “Yeah, right, Mr. Fitness! Got news for you -- my day is already crammed with a thousand errands, not to mention the office, private time with my fiancé, my mother, etc...” Yes, and that’s precisely why you should make routine exercise as much of a priority as opening those RSVP’s and finding the perfect Jimmy Choo’s for the rehearsal dinner. It sounds tough, and on the surface might appear to be another ball to juggle, but it will end up helping you tremendously. The result will be more production, less stress, a positive attitude, and more restful sleep -- and that’s just for starters. If you are already working out regularly, then turn it up a notch, or try something new that will challenge your mind and body. I assure you, there’s no down side.
When you ask people why they decided to join a gym or health club, the reason mentioned most is “to get rid of this” (as they pinch the fat around their waist or thighs). Although I have yet to meet a bride who did not want to shed at least a few pounds or buff up her abs, the most immediate result of exercising is the stress relief and the overall feeling of rejuvenation.
Having more energy and stamina comes quite quickly after beginning a consistent exercise routine. While it may certainly be a worthwhile goal, weight loss takes time and patience, and shedding body fat is heavily dependent on what is traveling over your lips throughout day. Stress relief and feeling energized however, are practically instantaneous. It is not uncommon to notice a discernible difference after just two or three workouts.
If you’ve been skipping the gym because you are so busy doing a bazillion things for the wedding, don’t feel guilty. You are hardly alone. Getting back to the gym will simply take a concerted effort and genuine commitment on your part. But remember, the benefits far outweigh the sacrifice.
Aside from the obvious stuff like looking more toned and svelte in your gorgeous new wedding gown, workout time is your time. Your time to stop going crazy about all the little details that only you can take care of. Your time to look forward to your big day. Your time to escape and decompress. And your time to take care of your body by giving it needed exercise that will result in more productive, industrious days.
Why does exercise make you feel better anyway? Researchers have postulated that chemicals produced by your brain are stimulated during regular exercise. According to the theory, these chemicals, known as neurotransmitters have an improvement effect on our moods and emotional state. Hey, theory or no theory, neurotransmitters shmuro-transmitters -- if you conclude that it makes you feel less stressed, and more invigorated, that’s what truly matters.
So let’s say that you take the initiative to start working out because you agree that you want every advantage possible. You realize the added zest and tension relief you get from regular exercise is the only way you’re going to survive these next few months. You will have taken a momentous step. A step toward some well-deserved rewards and bonuses.
The old adage says that it takes about twenty-one days to establish a habit. Suppose you have now been working out for those requisite three straight weeks. You’re weight training two or three times a week, hitting that power yoga class every Saturday morning, and running on the treadmill like a madwoman every evening after work -- whew!
Congratulations. Wipe the sweat off your brow and take a quick swig of Evian, because you just made it to the next level, and this is where it really gets exciting. For the first time since high school, you feel awesome. You had forgotten what it was like to enjoy a vigorous workout. You leave the gym drenched. You not only sweat like Paris Hilton on the way to confession, but you do it consistently during the course of each week. Your hard work and dedication to fitness is about to start reaping some ancillary benefits.
You see, you’ve already achieved your first goal -- recharge the ole batteries and feel terrific each day leading up to the wedding. Now you are likely to start working on the whole eating thing. Yeah, you’re starting to see those arms get a little definition, and those jeans you haven’t squeezed into since that ‘92 Nirvana concert actually fit again.
You are aware of everything you put in your mouth because you now have the extra get-up-and-go and that added oomph to stay away from all those high calorie foods. You grab the club’s group classes flier and start circling stuff. Hmmm, cardio-kickbox, indoor cycling, hip-hop aerobics, what should I try next?
Your excitement level builds because you see all the positive changes in your body. The psychological benefit of this is powerful. The physical stamina that you started off seeking has now been combined with the mental drive to keep the results coming!
So, aside from the fact that regular exercise will help you become more productive, revitalize your body and mind, make you feel less anxious, increase your alertness, make you feel better about yourself, reduce depression, help you sleep better, initiate weight loss, and even motivate you to follow a healthier diet, all of which will likely result in a more perfect wedding ... why bother?
Someone much smarter than me once wisely stated, “If you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’ll continue to get the results you’ve always gotten.” You’re going to look stunning, feel incredible and your wedding is going to be fabulous!
Opening photograph by Punam Bean