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I'm a college student and I would like to start exercising. I used to run a lot back in middle school and high school, but I stopped in college.

The primary reason is that my typical day in college is a lot more demanding. I feel kind of tired on most days, and I feel kind of sick on the others; I just never feel physically ready to exercise. For example,

  • I don't know whether I should/can exercise when I have a headache.
  • I don't know whether I should/can exercise when I didn't sleep enough last night.
  • I don't know whether I should/can exercise when I really need to work on an assignment with full energy in the evening (exercising sometimes make me drowsy).

In short, I worry if exercising actually makes my health worse when my physical condition is sub-optimal.

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The funny thing about exercise (or just physical activity in general) is that the best way to feel ready for it, is to do it.

It sounds like what you're doing is assuming that exercising means going balls to the wall, run until you puke, squat until you're legs give out, every time you do it. It doesn't.

Didn't sleep? Go lighter or do less reps / sets.

Need energy to finish an assignment in the evening? Go for a short run and do a few press ups (the fresh air might actually help you think more clearly).

Have a headache? Ok, so this one actually depends. I'd say make sure you've had enough to drink throughout the day and go get some fresh air, maybe have a nap, see if that helps.

Exercise should stimulate, not annihilate. Yes, sometimes you should push yourself as hard as you can, but most of the time, just try and do something every day, even if it's just going for a walk, doing a few press ups or swinging a kettlebell for a few sets.

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    Thanks for reminding me that this is yet another example of how all-or-nothing principle prevents action. I'll try what you've said. – Harry Yang Dec 27 '19 at 1:32
  • @HarryYang You're most welcome. I'm honestly guilty of doing the same thing myself sometimes – Dark Hippo Dec 28 '19 at 19:55

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