The traditional approach meant going to the gym or club or studio for a 60-90 minute class. As I grew older and my life filled up with ever-increasing work and family responsibilities these formal exercise sessions fell by the wayside. I felt like I was neglecting this very important part of the wellness equation. Of course, there was the attendant sense of failure to check the exercise box.
I grew up on competitive activities: long-distance running and Jane Fonda exercise classes. Pound, pound pound. Go. For. The. Burn! I transitioned to yoga and walking as I grew older and needed to accommodate injuries and life changes. I went from one end of the spectrum to the other until there seemed to be no time left for organized sport or practice. I recently set out to prioritize exercise and really thought about it. Why it is important to me. Why I was failing to do it regularly. What could be done to put it back in. How you think about a thing can entirely change your approach and attitude. What dawned on me was that my extremely active life qualified as healthy movement. I stopped berating myself for not “exercising.”
This redefinition of exercise to include all movement was liberating. I have “amped up” daily activities to sneak in a little extra where it feels good. I run up and down my stairs with the empty laundry basket when doing laundry. I keep a set of hand weights on the edge of my desk and do a few reps when I am stretching or taking breaks. I sprint to and from the mailbox to get the mail. Cooking counts too. I am standing, chopping, lifting, cleaning out the frig, hefting groceries, reorganizing the refrigerator and mopping the floor. I throw in squats and stretching during food prep breaks. While this is not running a 10K this is certainly not sitting on the couch.
I feel good because I realized that I move at least 2 hours a day and most days it is a great deal more. Someday, I hope to be able to re-join the structured exercise crowd again but in the meantime I am making all movement count!
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