New here? Learn about my wellness project, a year-long wellness experiment.
Growing up in Sweden, I moved naturally every day. I walked or biked to school. I played tag. I ran laps around the house (my grandma said we had to run around the house once for each pancake we ate). I played ping pong during recess. I went cross-country skiing on cold winter Saturdays.
I never exercised (unless I was forced to).
Exercising vs. Moving Naturally
Then I moved to the US and gained weight, because I wasn’t moving. I drove my car to get places (because biking didn’t seem safe). Walking around the neighborhood was treacherous (think cracked sidewalks or no sidewalks). Moving naturally wasn’t the social norm.
So I had to start exercising. I couldn’t afford to go to a gym, so I bought these amazing exercise videos with Gay Gasper. Boy did she work me hard! After a couple of months, I started to feel and see a difference. I felt good!
Then I got pregnant… So I bought a pregnancy workout video. It wasn’t quite as amazing. But I tried to stick with it – Kegel exercises and all.
After I gave birth to my beautiful daughter, I quickly discovered that going for a walk every morning meant some peace and quiet for me – and sleep for her. It became my primary form of exercise… until I attended Baylor University a few years later and got “free” access to their amazing fitness facility. I started exploring the elliptical macine and resistance training. I really worked hard and it paid off!
Then I realized that all the really fit girls were on the treadmills – so I overcame my fear of falling off (and making a fool of myself) and gave it a try. I signed up for a 5K in the spring of 2001 and managed to run the whole thing. I was officially hooked.
For a few years, I was obsessed with running. I ran three half marathons. I injured myself. Now I am more of a moderate runner – and it feels good.
Simply Enough Exercise
Last year, I moved to a town where I am so lucky to be able to walk and bike most places. I love moving naturally again throughout the day. However, I still exercise as well. I like getting my heart rate up and feeling the sweat pouring. As I get older, I feel a greater need to keep my muscles strong and my body flexible.
My goal is to figure out the minimum amount of time that I need to spend on exercise to get the maximum wellness benefit. I don’t think it has to be multiple hours per day. I don’t know if it even needs to be an hour per day.
The other day, I received my ACSM Personal Trainer certification (yay!). My goal with this training is not to help fit people get fitter. Rather, it’s to help people who are not fit at all to adopt that minimum amount of exercise that will make them feel good and stay healthy.
Coupling “simply enough” exercise with natural movement seems to be the ideal recipe for wellness.
The Plan for Fitness Month
Fitness is part of my daily life. It’s a habit I’ve established over the course of many years. However, it’s always possible to get in a rut. And when you get in a rut, you don’t progress.
I know I could be stronger and more flexible. And I know I could achieve increased fitness by consistently letting the car stay in the driveway. Hence, the following resolutions:
Fitness Resolution #1: Try Something New
For fitness month, I want to try a new form of exercise – ideally one that will improve my muscular strength and endurance. I’ve decided on Pilates. A friend of mine owns a Pilates studio two blocks from my house, so it’s convenient, which is key for me.
Fitness Resolution #2: Get ACSM Certified
Another goal for fitness month was to complete my ACSM certification. Done!
Fitness Resolution #3: Move Naturally in the Cold
Finally, I want to continue moving naturally even as the weather gets colder. Biking to class, to the grocery store, and to church. Walking everywhere else. There’s no need to get in the car (unless it’s raining cats and dogs – I draw the line there).
Over to You!
Share how you move naturally on the Simply Enough Facebook page!