I completed my first 5K race this month. No, I didn’t win – I didn’t even run. Unless you count running after a toddler, to keep him from tripping others as he swerved left, right, and backwards.
I have wanted to enter a race for a charity for several years, but it seems there is always some commitment that takes priority. So, this year I made it a priority. And, as almost everything I do, I over-prepared for race day. I tried to anticipate every possible need.
I brought along my kids, ages 6 and 3. (We are working on “12 months of giving,” and, I insisted that they come with me.) I packed snacks, drinks, coats, Kleenex phone, cooler, and stroller. I was sure I was forgetting something. We made it to the event, just in time to be at the end of line.
I’m proud to say, I finished, and still had two kids. Yet, I also had too much stuff. While I had a great time, enjoying the camaraderie of fellow racers/walkers cheering each other on. And, I was thrilled by the snacks, drinks, and people present to pamper and provide for us. The next time, I will over-prepare less.
I’ve learned the secret to exercising joyfully is making it less of a hassle. As blogger, Courtney Carver of Be More with Less, has inspired me to see that I can truly enjoy more with less. The more I let my worry about being unprepared rule, the more I was literally pushing and pulling more than I could enjoy!
Make exercise less of a hassle and enjoy it fully:
We’ve all heard the benefits of physical exercise. It improves our sleep, energy, mood, and even our sex life! So, why is it so hard to get moving and keep moving? I think if exercise is a hassle with little reward and no fun, anyone will give up. How do we make physical activity fun again?
- Exercise for yourself: As the race approached, I was more focused on getting my kids to join me, then I was on doing it for myself. Taking time to move our bodies isn’t selfish, it’s self-care. Engage in physical activity for you, not for your mom, sister, friends, spouse, kids, or future contacts.
- Go at your own pace: It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are. It’s for you, so embrace your own pace and style. If you love to compete, do it. If not, just keep moving one foot in front of the other. You will get there, stretching yourself in your own way.
- Work out without buying new attire: Start with comfortable clothes you already own. If you decide you need gear and truly enjoy the activity, invest in yourself. But until you find your exercise match, just move and groove without the hassle of having more items to corral and care for.
- Pick physical activity you enjoy: I only participate in exercise I enjoy. I do yoga, dance in my living room, and walk in nature. Try something new until you find your personal exercise groove.
- Balance active times with rest: Most of my work life is seated, writing or coaching. At the end of a work day, I am restless to get moving. I strive to balance physical activity with rest. Both can energize and refresh us.
- Set realistic goals: My goal was to finish the race. Although my son, stroller, and I were last, we did it. Next time, I aim to finish and not be last!What is your exercise goal? Make it small, and enjoy the moment.
I will enter another 5K race. I will walk and not run. I will let others pamper me. I will breathe and enjoy the moment, the cheer, and the natural high. And, I will leave all toddlers and bags at home!
What is your favorite way to be physically active?
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Photo Credit: “Enthusiasm” by H. Koppdelaney