E is for Exercise

Do you have a love or hate relationship with exercise?

I admit I love exercise. Lest you think I’m completely virtuous, I assure you I have a hate relationship with healthy eating. I guess one out of two ain’t bad.

Ever since I started competitive swimming at age eight, moving my body in some fashion has become a daily habit. High school and college swimming peaked at four hours of exercise a day (yes, swimmers are insane) but now I strive for an hour a day. Here are some of my favorite ways to spend that hour:

* Swimming laps with friends (two miles take us up to 90 minutes because we chat and insult each other so much between sets)
* Reading a novel on the exercise bike
* Walking with my iPod, plotting the next chapter of my novel
* Ellipticalling on the elliptical machine while playing Word Welder on the iPad
* Walking with a psychotherapy client during our session
* Strength training to pump *claps* me up! (remember Hans & Franz from SNL?)

Beyond the physical benefits, exercise is my therapy. There’s substantial evidence that exercise reduces anxiety and depression, possibly working even better than medication, and the mental health benefits are certainly true for me.

What’s your favorite exercise?

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19 thoughts on “E is for Exercise”

  1. Ah Jen, I wish I were like that. I definitely have a love hate relationship with both food and exercise. My favorite exercise is walking. I love to take long walks outdoors. Love it. Then why do I avoid it? Gah!


  2. I love exercise too – well, I am a gym instructor, it's a silly job for someone who doesn't love it.And yes, many a plot detail has been worked out while lifting something very heavy!Great post!


  3. Karen, if you're not in a routine of walking, it's so hard to get it going. Do you have someone who could qualify as a walking buddy? Though I exercise frequently, I'm horrible with the portion control thing, and I've inherited a \”thrifty metabolism\”, so I'm overweight.


  4. Annalisa, what kind of classes do you teach? My friend Gwynn teaches yoga, water aerobics, and zumba, which sound so fun. Hooray for the benefits to your writing from exercise!


  5. Biking is my favorite exercise. The wind in my face, the sounds of nature all around me, cats hissing and leaping to the curb as I nearly hit them from having my head in the clouds! LOL.


  6. Jennifer – I'd say it's worth a go, you'll be pushed a bit more than you think you can go, and work towards a prgression, which is harder to do on your own, unless you're really dedicated!


  7. I love your ways of exercising πŸ™‚ Mine is not strictly an exercise but more a way of being, and that's yoga. Am currently kept from doing my most favorite asana's by a botched knee, but I still get to do it πŸ™‚


  8. Roland, you really get into your biking as a sensory experience! I love it.Annalisa, thanks for the encouragement. I miss having a coach cajole me into a hard workout, so I probably need a trainer.Sylvia, yoga is lovely too. I have trouble carving aside time to delight my body and spirit with yoga (preferring something a bit more active) but someday I hope to take yoga more regularly.


  9. I'm pretty good with the healthy eating part, but not so much the exercise anymore. When I was younger I loved a lot of it – aerobics, volleyball, gymnastics, badminton, swimming… Still love to walk though πŸ™‚


  10. I love exercise too and I strive for about an hour 5-6 days/week. Though some days are difficult to have motivation and those days I fall back on my favourite form of exercise: swimming!


  11. Hi Jen: Were the heck was I yesterday when your post went live? Sleeping on the couch, I recall, most of the day. I've been so bad this winter. Normally I love to walk Jasper everyday. But I've been paranoid about falling on the ice. Broke my leg a few years ago and I've never forgotten about the pain. I'm looking forward to gardening soon as the frost leaves the ground. All that digging and weeding, etc is great exercise and very therapeutic as well.Feather


  12. Christine, I hear ya. Many loathe exercise! Are there good places to hike around you? Central Ohio is rather flat so I don't often hike here.Feather, I got some sad news Thursday so I was a little off my posting schedule for \”F\”. There's something about working with soil and plants that is therapeutic above and beyond the exercise it provides.


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