By Becky Sherman, director of nursing
Exercise tips for people who don’t love to exercise
Recently someone accused me of being a runner. I’ve been known to run from a lot of things but running for exercise hasn’t really happened in about a decade. What they really wanted to know was what I do for exercise. The answer will be disappointing for hard core workout enthusiasts. I don’t have a gym membership, I don’t follow the latest diet trend, and I don’t like feeling sore. I do have a flat exercise ball at my house and a moldy yoga mat, though.
My physical wellness looks like this: I do everything the hard way and I walk. I walk a lot. Walking in the mornings before work was a terribly hard habit to get into with lots of starts and stops over the last couple of years. But now it is just that, a habit. And it’s short, about 25 minutes. I try to find all sort of ways to include other muscle toning activities like running up stairs and doing 10 squats at the top. Yep, looks pretty silly but I go early so no one sees me. I’m that vain.
Now that my kids are grown, I love long hikes on the weekends when I can listen to podcasts about viruses. We all have a tiny nerd in us. Just own it. When the kids were young, we hiked a lot, building up my tolerance to exercise and whining. And all those forced marches paid off because they still hike today. Now it’s me who can’t keep up with them because kids are like puppies. You can’t wear them out; you only make them stronger.
As for doing things the hard way, well, I have a push mower. Granted, every year I replace some of the grass with bark, so my yard is now the size of a postage stamp. Nonetheless, it’s a dull mower and I get significantly out of breath. In fact, I do all my own landscaping which means I move rocks, plants, trees, and bark around just for the fun of it. All my small trees have been moved at least a few times which involves a lot of senseless digging. Plants are in a perpetual state of being uprooted so I wouldn’t say my gardening practice is trauma-informed. Bottom line, find a hobby that makes you move.
Exercise and wellness look a lot different for me now than when my kids were young. I have more time for long walks now, but back then there were playgrounds to work out on or gym time while they were in swim class at the YMCA. As we get older, I think it’s important to make a conscious effort to use those upper body muscles that might not be needed as often. Don’t make things too convenient. Keep frequently used dishes up high. Take the stairs and skip a step.
Tip: It took me a long time to get into the habit of morning walks. Like years. Don’t give up.