Published Aug. 24 2017
At one point in my life I considered myself a runner. I truly believed that if I didn’t go for a run I wasn’t exercising. Even an hour on the squash court didn’t count as exercise in my mind. The incredibly funny and shortsighted part of that thought process is that squash can burn up to 600 calories per hour for a person my size. That’s twisted thinking for sure on my part.
Today I consider myself an active person. I do run a bit but it’s really more of run/jog/walk. And it counts. Cycling is the activity where I find myself most at home. I get on a bike and I can go for a couple of hours depending on the number of uphills I have to contend with. Sometimes when I find my rhythm I feel like I could ride the entire Tour de France (I’m some kind of superhero in my own mind). But even with cycling I have a comfort zone. Beyond that distance I start to hate it because it hurts in ways that it should not.
That’s the thing about fitness. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing as along as we are moving. Gardening can be fitness activity. It will strengthen muscles and improve balance and range of motion. It will not improve cardiovascular fitness like walking at a fast pace or uphill will. We need all forms of fitness to be part of our daily lives. If we force ourselves to do an activity it will not have the same benefits as something that we’re champing at the bit to do!
Today I went for a bike ride with a friend. Initially we were going to head out for a fast ride because we’re signed up for an event next weekend that we want to be ready for. Our plan changed. Neither one of us was feeling like working that hard so we adjusted to suit our mindset. We did ride the distance we intended to ride but we took it at a slower pace and enjoyed sightseeing and chatting along the way. The event we are registered for is not a race. We are doing it for fun and today’s “training” ride was awesome – because we had fun.
Let fitness be fun for you. Find something you love. Anything and everything counts as long as it involves movement. Walk jog cycle paddle swim dance play with your kids walk the dog chase the dog. It all counts. Let fitness activities do as much for your soul as it does for your body and it will leave you wanting more.
Something to think about.
Laurie Sweig is a certified personal trainer and spinning instructor. She is one of the founders of The Point for Fitness:www.thepointforfitness.com.