Exercise to Live

 

exercise-585Cardio, strength and flexibility — it can be a struggle fitting it all in. Every time I excel in one area, another piece of that holy trinity of fitness takes a nosedive. There don’t seem to be enough hours in the day or days in the week or even enough of “me’” to go around.

This past summer, I found my long-lost cardio groove. Daily dog walks coupled with quickie 10-minute workouts and my regular yoga practice made for a decent schedule, but by September my muscle mass had taken a hit and I hankered to get back to the gym.

Decision time. Cut back on yoga and risk losing my hard-earned flexibility or skimp on the cardio and endure my dog’s sullen behavior.

In the past, I would have crammed it all in no matter the cost. Today, I realize that too much of anything (even the good stuff like exercise) will result in injury, burnout or just plain ol’ unhappiness. So instead, I compromise and add two full-body weight room workouts to my schedule and make damn sure I stretch afterwards. Yoga gets scaled back, but I still make time for one hard-core practice a week and continue with the walking.

Maybe my crow pose will suffer, maybe not. It really doesn’t matter.

What does matter is this: I still get to spend quality time with Lucky, and I feel healthy and strong. Ya know, it’s taken a while for me to figure this out, but I am not actually training for anything — except life — and as long as I keep doing something, it will all work out. Six months from now my life may look completely different and so will my priorities. I’ll deal with that then.

Exercise is important, but it’s a travesty to miss out on life in the name of it. Do what’s reasonable for you today; it will always be there.

In other words: Exercise to live; don’t live to exercise.

How do you prioritize? I’m not picking on yoga, I love it, but right now strength training is my focus. —Karen

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