This morning, while catching up on one of my favorite blogs’ links edition (thanks, Greatist!), I found a really excellent article that pretty much sums up my feelings exactly: The Benefits of Exercising Together, by Dr. John Mandrola.
I love the “pillar” Dr. Mandrola describes: “make daily exercise feel as normal as eating and sleeping.” That kind of habitual activity is exactly what I’m striving for, and I think it’s the most natural way to live. Do I work out every day? No, but on days when I haven’t at least gotten my heart rate up (whether through a workout or something more accidental like taking the stairs up to my apartment instead of the elevator), I feel a little guilty. Last year, I made it one of my New Year’s resolutions to floss daily – until by the end of the year, I wasn’t obsessed with flossing, but I felt a little bit weird going to bed without doing it (for example, the night I ran out of floss and had forgotten to get more). Did it keep me up all night or really trouble me? Heck, no, but I liked that it had become such a part of my routine that I missed it.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make exercise fun. It has started to dawn on me just how much exercise it takes to maintain a fairly healthy body (let alone lose the vanity pounds I am currently stuck with), and it can be kind of eye opening to realize that my metabolism is slowing and I will probably have to keep up a good exercise routine forever. But on the flip side, there are so many fun ways to be active that don’t feel like working out at all – things like hiking, Zumba, ballet, and even running marathons are so much fun that I would do them even if they didn’t burn any calories. Pretty much any workout that I do with friends fits into that category of “fun and doesn’t feel like I’m exercising,” so it’s almost guaranteed to be a winner.
I still can’t get over what a blast I had this weekend in combining my fitness time with my social time, and that’s opened my eyes to a new model for proceeding (gosh, you can tell I’m mired in work tonight based on my language). While my weekdays may still find me stuck in the hotel gym, weight lifting and hitting the bike/elliptical/treadmill, my weekends are now going to be devoted to combining friends + fitness + fun in new ways. No more pounding it out at the gym; it’s time to do more stuff that doesn’t feel like exercise. After all, according to the article (seriously, did you go read it yet? It’s awesome!), working out with friends gives me motivation, friendship, healthy competition, and the energy to go farther/harder/faster. Quadruple bonus!
I’m out of town for the Bermuda Marathon this weekend, but save the dates for the following, and email me if you’re interested in joining the fun:
Sunday 1/22, afternoon: Williamsburg Bridge Run followed by bowling + beer
Monday 1/23, evening: Zumba followed by The Bachelor + wine (because really, the show’s just not as good without it)
Thursday 1/26 and Friday 1/27, morning: Bootcamp followed by Bagels on the Upper East Side
Sunday 1/29, afternoon: Brooklyn Bridge Run followed by the Macaroni & Cheese Takedown at the Bell House NY
More ideas welcome!