I enjoy being productive both mentally and physically, but there are days when I let the scale tip too far to the former side and find myself feeling depressed. The key is to always to maintain a healthy balance. I try to never let a day slip away without at least one good walk or hike. The effort can seem unbearable at times, especially in the winter, but once I'm outside, my mindset about life immediately starts to improve. Our bodies want to be active. Nobody was designed to be stagnant. With all the technological lures and conveniences that draw people to stay inside on the couch, it's more important than ever to get outside and develop a positive relationship with exercise.

I don't even like to label my walks exercise because to me they are so much more. The word "exercise" sounds too cold and soulless. My body freezes up at the phrase, remembering all the miles I ran in my parents' basement back in high school, sweat streaming off my face onto the treadmill in a desperate attempt to stay thin. I wanted quick and fast back then. I wanted results. I was so focused on the superficial, I abused my body to the point where my knees locked up for almost a week. My body and my mind were miserable. They were desperately telling me to stop. It took years for me to listen, but I am older and wiser now. I don't believe in strenuous efforts for superficial reasons anymore. I believe in regular healthy, humble movement.

I don't believe in miles or time either.

Yes, I'll admit, every once in a while I do enjoy checking the app on my phone to see how far I walked, but I never set out with a mileage or time goal. I view my daily walks as dates with my body. I try to remain present and engaged with my muscles and movement, the same way I would remain present and engaged on a date . . . well, a date that was going well. But it's important to enjoy every date with your body, even the difficult ones after perhaps a night of crappy eating or a few days of no movement. Beating yourself up or punishing yourself never helps. Your body needs love just as much as we all do. Find "exercise" (that dreaded word) that you truly enjoy. Find a way to reconnect with your body on a regular basis that's both relaxing and uplifting. Forget end-goals and results. Your relationship with your body is long-term--enjoy the journey. Focus on the time you get to spend within your amazing body, moving around, touching, seeing, smelling, and tasting the outside world. A short walk is all it takes to flip the switch from a negative mindset to a positive one. You just got tie your shoes, step out the door, and reenter a healthy relationship with your body.


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