I LOVE using a wide variety of activities to keep my body and mind healthy and fit.
My favorite, of course, is hiking.
Give me a mountain trail anywhere in the world, any day of the week and I’m in heaven!
I love trekking through the woods on little paths carved out by adventurous humans that have tread before me.
I especially love that gradual meandering ascent up the side of a mountain, sometimes scrambling over rocks, crossing brooks and streams, and then popping out of a clearing at the top and looking out over the horizon.
But jogging, on the other hand, is torture for me.
Not one single cell in my body wakes up excited to go for a long, monotonous jog, but I do it anyway.
Especially, when I want to do it the least.
Let me explain.
Over two decades ago, when I initially reclaimed my health, I began a daily yoga practice.
It was friggin’ awesome!
I love how yoga made my body feel.
I developed more flexibility and flow, got connected to my breath, which calmed my body and mind.
Yoga was, and still is, healing to me on many levels.
Energetically though, sometimes I need a bigger push than my yoga practice.
Some days I would wake feeling stuck, both physically in my body and creatively in my mind.
On those days, yoga offered me the relaxation and connection I required, but my body and mind still needed a little kick in the butt to get moving.
And, since I live in the heart of New York City, I simply can’t get out into the mountains for a hike on a daily basis.
So, I took up running.
Or, more appropriately, jogging.
Jogging is different than running. It’s more like gently trotting at a leisurely pace without the physical stress of full-on running.
To get started, I bought myself a pair of running sneakers, some nice cushy socks, running pants, and a sports bra to ensure minimal jiggling.
My father was an avid jogger. He ran at least 2x per week up until his mid-70’s until he hurt one of his knees, and then he switched to biking. In the mornings, I watched him doing stretches on the lawn. After a few minutes, he would take off and come back about 45 minutes to an hour later, stretch again, and then start his day.
It looked simple enough, so I tried it.
I left my apartment, did some stretching, and then put one foot in front of the other with a little momentum to get me moving in the right direction.
The first ten minutes were absolute torture!
Uggghhh, do I have to do this?
Why on earth am I doing this?
What is the purpose of this boring exercise?
Please give me a mountain! It’s much easier and more engaging.
To me, jogging seemed like a task that required far more effort than I was willing to apply.
Within 15 minutes, I wanted to quit.
Gone, goodbye, sayonara to this monotonous activity.
With each step I felt like ugghhh, ughhhh, ugghhhh, ugghhhh – when is this torture going to end?!
But, by the 20-25 minute mark, an interesting thing happened.
Suddenly, my resistance began to disappear.
My mind felt clearer, creativity bubbled up, and my body seemed to be happily going along for the ride without all the drama.
Sometimes I would jog for 40 minutes and sometimes less, but one thing was very clear. My entire day had a different feel after a jog.
Beyond all of the obvious cardiovascular benefits, jogging literally shifted my energy, cleared any clutter, and sparked my creativity.
It worked like a charm every single time!
Today, I’m not an avid jogger like my father was, but I do get out for an occasional run, especially when I’m feeling stuck. And, I bring my little running partner with me (pictured above). She really appreciates it.
Oh, and just an aside for the ladies reading this… I do NOT jog when I am on my menstrual cycle.
Nope, not ever!
Instead of inspiring me and boosting energy, jogging on my cycle would leave me feeling drained. If you are bleeding please refrain from pushing yourself.
Finding the balance of when to push and when to rest is essential to creating a supportive exercise routine.
My exercise routine for the past 20 years or so includes a daily walk, alternating yoga or morning meridian stretches, PLUS awesome hiking excursions when I can get out of the city, and a jog one or two times per week, or when I need it most.
This is the ideal balance that I’ve discovered works to keep my body and mind feeling finely tuned and happy.
My husband wants me to start strength training…. that’ll be next on my list.
What about you?
What kind of exercise do you incorporate into your routine to help you feel your best?
Andrea Beaman is an internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker and Herbalist. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching people how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers using food, herbal remedies and alternative medicine.
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