I’m so tired. Not physically (because I just woke up), but mentally and emotionally, I’m exhausted. This has been such a tough year – in a series of tough years. There’s rampant political discourse, crazy inflation, insane heat, fires, and floods! How can I worry about my miles at a time like this?
Because I have to. You have to too. It’s essential. I know you’ve heard me say this before, but if you don’t take care of yourself, it’ll be much more difficult to deal with everything else. That’s why airlines insist that you put your oxygen mask on first. You can’t help anyone else with theirs if you’re passed out on the floor. Self-care (including regular exercise) is just as important as breathing. Unfortunately, most of us put it at or very near the bottom of our priority list. Taking care of our needs first is such a foreign concept that we actually feel guilty even thinking about. It’s okay though – we get by just fine, right?
Wrong. Your body is sounding the alarm. Maybe you’re just not listening. The symptoms of an inactive lifestyle can include constant fatigue, poor sleep, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, stiff joints, muscle pain, digestive issues, poor skin health/ acne, and a marked decrease in psychological well-being and overall quality of life. Yikes!! I think I’ll take “getting in my miles” for 100, Alex!
Okay, so now that we know why, let’s tackle the how. How do you find the time? Well, let’s break it down. Although it’s awesome to make it a big event in a cool place, it doesn’t have to be that way. Most people can easily walk a mile in about 20 – 30 minutes. That’s not a lot of time. How about a walk around the neighborhood after dinner? That counts too. What if it’s raining or snowing or too hot outside? Then turn on some music and dance in your living room while dinner’s cooking. That counts too. What if you break it up into two or more walks throughout the day? Yup – it counts.
Make it fun! If you do all of your miles on the treadmill in your laundry room while looking at a wall, you’re going to get bored, learn to hate it, and quit. You need to make it fun! The beauty of this challenge is that you aren’t locked into one activity. Go swimming, try a stand-up paddle board, paddle in a lake on a kayak, wind down with yoga, take a bike ride, go on a wildflower hike, run a race, fix up your garden, dance in your living room – the choices are endless. All that matters is that you’re the one doing the work (so motorcycle rides or motorized scooters don’t count) and that you have fun! If you enjoy it, your brain will remember that feeling and remind you to do it again – and again – and it will become a normal part of your life.
Now let’s make it a habit. That’s why this challenge goes for a full year. I want you to get used to moving your body every day. But, what if I miss a few days, weeks, months? What if it’s July and I only have 10 miles under my belt? Then every morning is your chance to start again. There’s no judgment here. We all have life get in the way occasionally. The important thing is to start again. Don’t give up and don’t quit. If you don’t end up with 365 miles this year or your Double or Triple, it’s okay. That’s not the real point of this challenge. If you can say that you were more active this year than you would have been without this challenge, you win! You can always try again next year. We have so many members who have missed their goal here and there, but who came back the next year and killed it. You can do it too.
In the meantime, make the effort, make the time, and make it fun. Don’t give up on yourself and don’t quit. You deserve better. You won’t regret it.