“23 1/2 Hours”

About 18 months ago I made a decision – one that’s made a huge difference in my life.  I committed to exercise regularly, most days of the week.  I’ve always admired those who made exercise a part of their lives and promised myself that someday I’d do it too … someday.  “Someday” meant a number of things depending on the day: after I finished the semester, after graduate school ended, after I got a full time job, after the weather got cooler/warmer, after I lost some weight, after I could do more than one “real” push up, etc.  Although I went through phases of exercising regularly, it was difficult for me to maintain the kind of consistency I wanted.  I brainstormed ways to make regular exercise work for me (those of you who know me well also know that I am a planner and analyzer by nature) and came to a powerful realization – if I didn’t make “someday” become “today”, “someday” for me would never happen.  I worried about the time commitment but realized that I would be a better woman, friend, sister, daughter, student and employee by taking time each day to do something healthy for myself.

My dad showed me this video, which I found pretty inspiring:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F5Sly9JQao

In taking this journey, I’ve discovered that I love walking outdoors, weightlifting classes, step aerobics, stretching, listening to music/watching tv while using cardio machines at the gym, training for and participating in events, hiking, exercising with friends, exercising alone and using exercise videos.

I’m blessed to have wonderful examples among my family members and friends who are role models for living an active lifestyle.  While growing up, my dad swam laps with me on Saturday mornings and my mom and I went for walks with our dog around the neighborhood in the evenings.  My family also stayed active on vacations.  On one trip, we went for a crazy, rain-soaked bike ride in Alaska.  It was amazing! 

I trained for a 5K during graduate school and my brother ran it with me.  Grandma Tueller encourages me to be active and asks enthusiastically about the current type of exercise I’m enjoying.  I have extended family members who run marathons, complete century bike rides, walk, hike, play tennis, lift weights and swim in relay races.

Don’t get me wrong, there are days when the only exercise I can fit in my schedule is a short walk or a few minutes of squats, pushups and stretches.  There are definitely days where I feel like skipping the gym after work but knowing that my co-worker is counting on me to be there helps motivate me.  Keeping this commitment to myself requires planning, creativity and committing to regular exercise “appointments” that I write in my calendar.  I’ve realized though that exercising regularly makes a huge difference in my quality of sleep, my level of happiness, the amount of energy I feel and my general quality of life.  I’ve learned that exercise is not about forcing my body to fit a stereotype; it’s about listening to what my body needs to feel healthy, energetic and happy.  Making time in my life for exercise requires sacrifices and creative planning.  I feel blessed to have great people in my life who are understanding and supportive of this important part of who I’ve become.  Thank you to everyone who has offered such amazing support – I couldn’t do it without you! 

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