Three Things I Know Are True: Exercise


I’ve been attempting to find “true north” in a lot of things lately. This series explores what I’ve found to be true in my own life. Your answers will probably differ; the point is to find what’s true for you.

Today’s topic is exercise. Here are three things I know are true.

1. Medium-distance running is best for me.

I love running 6-10 miles. I can push it to the half-marathon distance (13.1) and if I work up to it over time, I can do 15-18 miles without much pain. But after that, for whatever reason, I don’t enjoy it and my risk of injury seems to be much higher.

2. A little bit of exercise is better than none.

I learned this from Dean Karnazes years ago, and I think about it whenever I’m strapped for time or just tired. 15 minutes or exercise, or even less in some cases, is far superior to simply not doing anything.

These days I haven’t been running anywhere near the 6-11 mile range mentioned in point one. Sometimes I only go out for two miles—but I usually feel great even though.

Lesson: If you’re not sure whether you should exercise, just try it for a few minutes. It’s still probably “worth it.”

3. Crossfit is awesome for others, but not great for me.

I tried Crossfit a couple years back and hated it. It was so hard and it never got easier for me.

I know there are many people who love Crossfit, and that’s great. They’d probably read the above statement and say: “That’s the point, it’s supposed to hurt.” But over time I came to be less enchanted with the idea that “It’s supposed to hurt” all the time. Running hurts sometimes, but mostly it’s good. Challenge and pain are not the same thing.

I did learn a lot through the process, especially about the concept of confusing your body and not doing the same kind of exercise all the time. I’m glad I went for that month, and I’m glad I stopped going.

4 (Bonus!). I like yoga, but mostly I like the idea of yoga.

Yoga isn’t like Crossfit for me; I actually like it and I do try to go to class at least once a week when I’m home. But I’m not committed to it. For years I said, “I practice yoga,” before I finally admitted to myself that a better description would be, “Yeah, I like yoga, and sometimes I actually practice.”

I do like stretching, though. I try to stretch and roll around on a foam roller at least twice a day.

Reading this, I realize there is great room for improvement in my active lifestyle. But it’s a journey, and I’m mostly happy where I am in the exercise department for now, which is probably why I’ve stuck with these patterns for so long.

How about you? Feel free to use this format for your own blog, journaling, or just thinking.


Image: Nathan

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