I used to be a Sedentary Person, studying all day (medical school is a long haul!), not moving much, and as a consequence, I always struggled with my weight, tried every new diet that came out, got frustrated and gained my weight back and more, and felt like I was in a vicious circle: I knew I “should” exercise, but since I wasn’t exercising, I didn’t have much energy, so then I didn’t exercise, and on it went. Even the word Exercise used to make me wince!
Then one day, I discovered the outdoors, and the joys of moving in the outdoors, and I’ve been an Active Person ever since. Now I love to move, and I don’t “exercise” so much as I spend as much time as I can, doing all the things I’ve discovered I love to do….once I started doing them! My journey into Movement started in college, when I realized I could substitute team sports in Physical Education Class by going to the lap pool and swimming (which I’d learned to do as a kid, and enjoyed). Since P.E. was an hour in length, I’d swim for the whole hour, lap after lap, and I noticed how meditative the experience was turning out to be: just breathing, and moving, breathing, and moving; meanwhile, my body was thriving: loving the endorphins (the body’s natural opium-like substances that are produced after the first 20 minutes or so of brisk aerobic activity); enjoying the mental and physical stimulation; and really loving the fact that I could start eating more calories per day, since I was burning so many off. From there, I discovered walking when a friend and I signed up to walk 13 miles to raise money for breast cancer research. I was surprised to find that half a marathon of brisk walking was not only do-able, but fun!
During medical school, I was fortunate to be able to take a year off, during which I worked several jobs, all outdoors (surveying land for an energy company; planting trees in British Columbia) and took a month-long mountaineering course in the North Cascades, which opened up my heart and my mind to be challenged and fulfilled by hiking, climbing and living in the mountains. Ocean sports followed, when my medical internship took me to the islands of Hawaii.
What I have learned, and WHAT I HEARTILY RECOMMEND to all who seek Ultimate Health, is this: Find something you love, hopefully several things, that involve Movement, and if possible, immersion not just in movement, but in nature as well, if only your local park or an arboretum. For city dwellers, find a safe place to walk, get some comfortable and supportive shoes, and GO! The rewards are immense, and the coolest thing about movement is, once you get started, and slowly but surely begin to build a habit out of movement, I guarantee you will love how it feels, and your body will love how it supports your health.
STAY TUNED FOR INFO ON: The differences and benefits of aerobic activity, strength training, “burst” training, and other movement activities like pilates, yoga, and group or team sports.
ALSO COMING SOON: Tips on how to get started on the Sedentary-to-Active-Person journey; how to find movement you love; how to avoid injury; how to stay inspired to move (this part is easy! once you’ve become an Active Person, you won’t feel “right” unless you’re moving, often and much!).
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