It doesn’t matter what the activity is, just that one is done!

Over the past several years, I’ve developed an increasing interest in incorporating physical activity into my daily life. This is a constant challenge, particularly with work, a family, and school, getting in the way. All these activity-inhibitors land me behind a wheel or a desk, neither of which provides much physical activity. The challenge for all of us is how to build in this human necessity without it feeling like drudgery. Someone said to me a while ago that physical activity and exercise should be viewed like the generally-accepted daily requirement of brushing ones teeth. Not always fun, but aren’t we happy when it’s been done? So, challenge ACCEPTED! Arming myself with an attitude of prioritizing my health, I have experimented with various forms of exercise and have found it to be quite entertaining. The National Institutes of Health’s Recommendations for Physical activity suggest the average adult shoot for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, mixing in weight-bearing activity at least twice, per week to garner healthy benefits. Over the years, I’ve developed a toolbox to reach about that much. Here are some things I’ve done:

 

  • Arranged a small area in my basement with a yoga mat, free weights, my husband’s spinning bike and an old TV that gets Netflix. I’ve equipped the bike with an inexpensive book holder to accommodate my textbooks or iPad to turn exercise into a study session, when necessary
  • Bike to places (coffee dates, library, grocery store) in my neighborhood when the weather permits
  • Run (actually, it’s a slow jog) up to 4 days per week, trying not to run 2 days in a row
  • Several times a week, I add 5-10 minutes of high intensity interval training (HIIT), such as those exercises found in the New York Times Scientific 7 Minute Workout, to my workout. I’ve also participated in a Plank-a-thon! That was fun!
  • Yoga and barre classes at the local community center when the schedule meshes with mine (not as often as I’d like)
  • Plan walks or jogs with friends to both socialize and workout at the same time

 

Last weekend, my husband and I went away (leaving our mischievous 9-year-old with a friend) to celebrate 19 years of marriage. As a special treat, the husband booked a Chi Running coach for us to learn the Chi Running technique that we’d read about in the book by Danny Dreyer.  We met our coach, Kari Wilkinson, at a community sports complex near Durham, NC after having made introductions and sent our goals for the coaching session via email. Considering these goals and our individual skill levels, coach Kari was able to tailor our sessions to meet our needs. Not knowing what to expect, we showed up ready to run… of which we did not do much! However, the technique we were taught brought focus to our posture, mid-foot strike, arm swing and pelvic rotation, with the ultimate purpose of providing efficient running and minimizing injury. All in all, this was a great experience that left me eager to put these concepts into action and plan another vacation that involves running. The beginnings of my understanding of Chi Running is another tool for my toolbox. Thank you husband! And, Kari, of course. By the way, one can find a Chi Running coach by searching the database of certified coaches.

 

Variety, it seems, is the key for me. What works for you?

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