I was beginning to lose the motivation to exercise every day. Exercise was beginning to feel like a chore, a daily hurdle to be overcome as quickly as possible. I was beginning to prioritise other things over exercise and to make excuses to escape the exercise sessions that least enticed me.
Where exercise is concerned, I feel like I’m going head to head with Parkinson’s and I can’t let Parkinson’s win. Parkinson’s doesn’t stop, it doesn’t lose it’s motivation, it gradually but persistently continues its path of destruction. I know that exercise is the only thing shown to slow the progression of the disease down. However, I had mistakenly thought that this fact alone would motivate me enough to ensure that exercise is always top of my daily ‘to do’ list. Not as simple as this, it seems.
One of the symptoms of Parkinson’s is apathy. This is well recognised and well documented. Apathy is more than a lack of motivation, it is a loss of interest, an indifference, a loss of enthusiasm, a loss of emotion. Apathy can infiltrate every aspect of life. Perhaps I’m experiencing more than a loss of motivation, perhaps I am developing a Parkinson’s related apathy? It’s easy to blame Parkinsons’ for everything, so for some balance, I looked for other things to blame as well!
The dark nights drawing in, combined with the cold, wet and windy autumnal weather have undoubtedly lessened my appetite for exercising outdoors. I am not sure apathy or a lack of motivation can be blamed for my not wanting to venture out on my bike on a cold, dark, rainy evening, it’s simply that the lure of a cosy night in front of a warm fireplace wins every time!
Exercising indoors is not as appealing as it used to be either. Having been closed for many months, since reopening, my local gym has been underused, there’s no camaraderie and it lacks any kind of energy or atmosphere. It has developed an apathy of its own and is uninviting, unappealing and indifferent to my presence or absence.
Each of these factors undoubtedly contribute to my lack of motivation but it was only when speaking to a friend about an endurance challenge he was training for, that it dawned on me……I no longer had an exercise challenge to work towards and without a destination in sight, I was losing my way. For me, having a goal to work towards is a vital component that gives me the motivation, drive and commitment to exercise. I’m fortunate to have a group of like minded friends and so training for a challenge has always been sociable and fun as we encourage and support each other. Without a doubt, this is the single biggest factor that motivates me to exercise.
Despite this year’s mammoth cycle challenge being cancelled twice, it served to motivate me to cycle over 6,000km of hilly training this year, something I am very unlikely to have achieved otherwise. With this goal in front of me and with the company of friends, I had enthusiastically cycled each of these 6,000km and thoroughly enjoyed them as well.
Due to the restrictions and uncertainty related to the Coronovirus, we had delayed our plans to cycle from Seattle to San Fransisco next year until 2022 and so, I had no significant challenge in my diary for 2021.
Thankfully, this is one of the more easily remedied ‘excuses’. I have since signed up to take part in a Mont Ventoux cycling challenge in May 2021 in support of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust…………….and I immediately ventured out for a thoroughly enjoyable hilly 50km cycle! I just need to encourage a few friends to join me now…….