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© 2020 by Julie M. Gentile. All Rights Reserved.

Exercise Is More Than Working Out

Changing your mind-set about exercise can help you look forward to it.

Care for your mind and body by finding movement that you love.

I have a confession to make.


I have never had a gym membership, but I love to exercise. In fact, I find time almost every day to exercise. Walking outdoors. Practicing yoga. High-intensity interval training. Occasional running.


Gym memberships are wonderful and there are plenty of fabulous gyms sprinkled throughout our communities, offering very well-rounded classes and programs. In fact, my husband has had a gym membership for several years. But with my current work and teaching schedule, and raising young children, exercising at home, walking outdoors and attending yoga classes at local studios just works best for me right now. This is a routine I can stick with.


And every time I exercise—no matter what time of day—I feel a burst of energy and a lightness to my mood.


I used to run and do high-intensity interval training to the point of exhaustion. I would force myself to push through it, thinking: Keep going. Just keep pushing through.


It wasn’t until I learned that exercise is meant to be enjoyed and not something I needed to force that I really started looking forward to it. I began to look at exercise as moving my body in healthy ways that feel good—not just exclusively in short bursts of targeted exercises.

Former exercise goal: to be the skinniest, fittest version of myself Current exercise goal: to be the healthiest version of myself Because skinny doesn’t matter. Healthy does.

How do you feel about exercise?


Think about what type of exercise you truly enjoy. Is it practicing yoga? Zumba? Swimming? Try more of that. You’ll be more likely to stick with exercise when you find something you actually like doing. Start to notice how exercise makes you feel during it and after. Are your thoughts more positive? Do you have more energy to do the things you want to do?


Whether you have a gym membership, choose to exercise at home or attend local classes, help care for your mind and body by moving more.


As always, speak with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.


Here are some quick tips to (realistically) incorporate more exercise and movement into your day.

  • Exercise in the morning before the rest of the house wakes up. You’ll have more energy for the rest of the day. And you might not need that cup—or three—of coffee.

  • Rent exercise and yoga DVDs from the library and pop them in when you have 20 to 30 minutes.

  • Go on a family walk or walk with a friend outdoors. You’ll get the added benefit of connecting with others and with nature.

  • Alternate between standing and sitting throughout the day. For example, take a call while walking or stretching.


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