Last week I was stuck, miserable in bed, having been hit by some kind of 24-hour bug. It got me thinking about health and what that means in a world of busy days, insurance plans, and living in a city that’s filled with every kind of delicious greasy food item you could dream of.
For most of my life, I never had to make a decision about whether or not to go to the gym. As a student-athlete, I had chunks of time out of my day that were purely devoted to practice, weight-lifting, and conditioning. But outside of being an athlete, if you spend time on any university campus you are constantly in motion. One minute, you’re off to class. The next, you’re running nearly a mile across the quad to make a group meeting. Looking back, I seriously wish I had been counting my steps (quick kudos to my new Jawbone Up) to prove how much college-Kait would destroy current-Kait in terms of sheer activity. Plus – and perhaps most importantly – all this meant I could order Domino’s and cinnasticks to my heart’s content.
Which brings me to today. In the real world, you work at a desk, sitting down, for a majority of the day. To say I felt the effects of being sedentary immediately would be a bit of an understatement. Since then I’ve migrated to a standing desk, but there’s been this question eating at me for the last six months…
What does the word “healthy” mean for me now, and if it involves exercise, when am I going to actually do it?
After a couple months of swearing to go to yoga every night, to then trying to work out around lunch at the gym next-door, to swearing off exercise entirely…I think I’ve found the answer. Perhaps you’ll find this helpful as well.
What I’ve found is that the only time I personally will ever go and perform some kind of deliberate physical activity is right before I hop in the shower. It has to be quick – twenty to thirty minutes at max – or else it eats up more time than I can commit to. So if I’m showering in the morning, I run around the neighborhood as soon as I wake up. If I’m showering at night, same thing. Weekends are reserved for yoga, since that’s when I can devote a full hour and a half to it.
Now, this took me six months to figure out. People put health and fitness up on a pedestal sometimes, but when you break it down, it’s simple. If exercise makes you feel good, you only need to fit in 20 minutes where you can. A fancy yoga mat isn’t necessary, nor are those Nike iDs you’ve been eyeing. Just put on the shoes you have, and hit the pavement.