Question: how do you exercise?

Reader Amy recently asked what I do for exercise.

This is a really good question. Because I’ve shifted the way I do things in the past six months or so. Dramatically so. And I think what I’ve learned (the hard way…always the hard way with me) works. For everyone. It’s not that complicated…and it’s kind.


To start, I should tell you what I used to do. I would run 10-14km every few days, run to yoga class twice a week, run to the beach to sand run, run to the gym, run 10km to work…oh, and go mountain running most weekends. I’d also go mountainbike racing…I’d compete in 24 hour races.

Got a picture? I’m not boasting. I’m kind of embarrassed.

I ran. From? Not sure…mostly myself and my fear of stillness.

In the end my adrenals couldn’t handle it any more and I collapsed. Bam! I ground to a halt and couldn’t walk for several months. I’ve written about this before. Quelle irony, hey! Our bodies do this. They teach us the perfect lessons we need right now. My lesson: stop! Rethink!

As I got better, I tried to go back to my old ways. Stubborn goat girl that I am. Each and every time, though, I’d get an injury – in my neck, my toe, or a cold or whatever. My body was rebelling. It was super shitty.

I finally got the picture. So. Now. I take a far more gentle approach. Below is what works now.

my principles

* Exercise/move every day. It’s the “every day” part of that statement that matters, not how much, or what you do. Once you start allowing “off” days….you allow the “off” days to grow. And, really, exercise should just be about moving. It should be part of life every day. Not a regime you shirk from. Treat it as such.

* Sometimes I just walk. Or stretch in the morning.

* I just commit to doing 20 minutes of something. I get out the door and move.  If I start moving and want to do it longer, great. If not, 20 minutes is cool.

* I exercise in the morning. Then it’s done. I also exercise/move to feel fresh. To get energy. This is the point. My day feels dull without this kick-start. THIS is what gets me out of the bed. Any incidental walking on top of what I do in the morning is a bonus.

* I don’t make a fuss. I tie on my shoes and get out of the house. No fancy gear or water bottles or towels. Driving to gyms and groups across town are just hurdles that can stop you from just moving. Keep it as simply and as close to home as possible. I put my key down my bra and carry nothing. No ipod, no phone. Out the door!

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