Mix it Up

Today is my 10 year wedding anniversary (!) and to celebrate, my husband and I went to Asheville, NC earlier this week for a brief getaway. It was, as you might expect, completely delightful.  We did things we can’t often do with our three small children, like sleep in, linger in bookstores, have uninterrupted conversations, savor long dinners, sip cocktails, watch the sunset over the mountains, and work out without a baby monitor in the room! It was an escape from the ordinary. It’s so easy to get into a rut at home where we barely notice each other;  getting away always helps us remember why we’re married in the first place!

While in Asheville, we stayed at the amazing Grove Park Inn (where we also stayed right after we got married ten years and three children ago). The sports club at the Inn offers a daily roster of exercise classes, and the 8AM BodySculpt class fell at just the right time for us. However, we’d never actually taken a BodySculpt class before. No matter, we thought. This will be fun!  And it was! It was also an incredibly challenging workout, complete with about 4 million pushups which are by FAR my least favorite exercise in the world. We left that class sweaty, exhausted, invigorated, and laughing together about the whole experience.

But here’s a little secret. Several years ago, I would not have even considered taking this class. And what a shame that would have been! See, I used to be a one-trick pony when it came to exercise. I ran. Period. For years and years that was my only form of real exercise. Sure, it burned calories, but if I’m completely honest with myself, it wasn’t as effective as I would have liked.

Nevertheless, I carried on with my disciplined running routine until my knees begged me to mix in some days on the elliptical trainer. Quite by accident, I discovered the magic of interval training on that no-impact cardio machine. Better results in less time – yay! I didn’t realize it yet, but I’d begun my journey toward a far less monotonous and far more effective exercise habit.

Then, several years ago, I took another step on that journey when I attended a seminar at the Human Performance Institute and re-learned how important strength training was for overall fitness. After that course, I began strength training with free weights and bands in our little home gym and started to see muscles I didn’t know I had!

After my second child, I took up Pilates and absolutely fell in love with it – the core-focused moves delivered fast results and I loved working out on the reformer (even if it looked scary at first!). More recently, I’ve started to dabble in yoga…and I’m loving that too, especially the Hot Vinyasa Flow Power Yoga class I’ve been taking. I’ve even put myself through two phases so far of the super-challenging P90X videos of infomercial fame.

Have I given up running? Not a chance. I love it and it’s still my favorite form of cardio workout. But I’ve learned how much fun it is to MIX IT UP when it comes to exercise. Doing the same thing every day is easy and comfortable but it just doesn’t deliver the same kind of results that a variety of exercises can. And mixing it up keeps my brain fresh too; the weeks fly by without falling into a monotonous drone.

Exercise is something you’ll hopefully be doing for the rest of your life. So mix it up! Try that new exercise video, take a new class, run a new route. Push yourself out of any rut you may have settled into. Escape the ordinary. 

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