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July 10, 2006

Exercise - Love It or Leave It

I thought it might be a good time to revisit the idea of finding intrinsic joy in exercise. I took a long hike this Goddess_cards_3 weekend and I couldn’t believe how much I missed being outside, in the fresh sweet summer air - to be quiet, still in nature with no other sounds but the occasional bird and the sound of my own breathing. It was beautiful. I do live in a magnificent part of the country and realize that I’m very luck to have such phenominal surroundings just outside my front door (we sometimes take these blessings for granted), but the one thing that was apparent immediately to me was that it sure beats the heck out of the gym!

The other interesting thing that resonated clearly as I was hiking up and down hills, over logs, rocks and shadowy trails carpeted in fragrant pine needles was this - I'm working out! I’ve been very tuned in to my performance, as it were, in the gym.  Gym equipment, with all the flashing lights, buttons and gadgets staring you in the face through your whole workout - how many steps, what’s your pulse, METS, time, distance. It’s a constant reminder of 'how good you're doing' every minute. (I suggest throwing your towel over anything that lights up). The thing we want to become familiar with is our perceived exertion, because all those numbers begin to add up to just one thing – how do I feel? Is it reasonable and safe to push myself further and if so, what does that feel like?

Based on my own awareness of breath, exertion and fatigue, I knew immediately on my hike ‘where I was’. The beautiful thing was it wasn’t on my mind, I was just aware. That allowed me to free up all kinds of mindshare for more positive thinking…like how blue the sky was and how sweet the trail smelled and how happy the few other hikers seemed as they passed, smiled and said hello. 'They get it too', I thought. No one looked sweaty, grimaced and tortured as they so often do in the gym.

Finding intrinsic joy in exercise, in my mind, is the key to any exercise plan. If you ain’t lovin’ it - you’re sure to leave it.  Here’s to participating in your favorite activity as exercise and getting off the tedious treadmill of working out.

For more on finding the joy of exercise see: Jay C. Kimiecik’s book here

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Posted by Cindy on July 10, 2006 | Permalink



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