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How to Exercise: Keep Moving, Do What You Love

Stretching on ocean beach 1200

I realize that I haven't written much about my exercise practices, as much as I write about food choices and diet. Obviously exercise is as important to health as diet. (But diet is much more important than exercise for weight control.)

Here's what a typical week looks like for me these days.

I don't have a very religious workout schedule. My general goal is to do some form of focused physical activity every day.

I'm a morning workout person. I know people who spend their lunch break at the gym. Or throw on their New Balance as they are leaving the office and get in a 45 minute run. I am not one of those people. I like to start the day getting my heart rate up, which jump starts my workday.

I don't have a complicated system for monitoring progress. I'm not a fan of step counting, which I doubt is related to any kind of health gains, except for extreme cases. I used to do calorie counting when it was easy with my FitBit. But now I focus on just getting my heart rate up at least 15 minutes each day.

Most importantly, I try to only do physical activities that I enjoy, so I don't have to force myself to do them.

Running is not always something I've looked forward to, despite it's obvious health benefits. It helps me to view morning runs as moving meditation, when I get to be out in nature and work through things that have been spinning around my brain during the week. I often end a run with some small revelation about a problem that has been vexing me, or some small insight into a situation I've been wrestling with. 

Rock climbing is new for me. I'm finding it's about solving puzzles and exploring the limits of my own body. And getting used to falling, so much falling! It's a good reminder of one of my favorite maxims: falling isn't failing. 

And of course there's the joy and release that dance brings to my life. That's really the best exercise of them all, for me.

My general advice is to find those exercises that you enjoy, that feed your spirit, that connect you to other people, that make you feel more at home in your own body. Then make those a part of your daily life. 

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