30 Things I Learned in My 30 Years: Fitness Edition
The night before my 30th birthday, I was feeling philosophical. (Ok, I drank some wine. But it was red because well, health and fitness.) So, I decided to write 30 Things I Learned in My 30 Years: Fitness Edition. Without further ado…
1. Borrow someone else’s iPod for a week. It will shake up your workout routine as you bop along to new and fun songs.
2. Don’t be afraid to mix up your cross-training. Dance, swim or try goat yoga. It is all good!
3. It is alright to not know what you are training for all the time. Maybe you do not have any races lined up. Maybe you do not have a time you are aspiring to beat. Sometimes it is enough to exercise just because you know it is good for you. Or to run because you know your future self will appreciate it.
4. Celebrate the small victories. Workouts can easily blend together or seemingly become a chore. Break it up by celebrating the small victories. Recognizing success can be motivating and can lead to more success.
5. Never underestimate the preventative and healing power of stretching.
6. Laugh as often as you can! It is enjoyable as well as an ab exercise.
7. If you are feeling lonely, foster a dog from the humane society. It frees up space in the shelter so they can take in more strays. The pups also make good running buddies.
8. Small habits daily make much more of an impact than giant declarations of change.
9. A one-hour boxing class is hard. And it is a different feeling to have your arms feel exhausted rather than your legs from running.
10. It is entirely possible to be a hot mess and a badass simultaneously.
11. Wear sunscreen!!! Even on a short run. No excuses!
12. People are way more concerned with themselves than with you. So if you want to attempt a triathlon, do it! If you want to attempt a new distance or do something brand new to who you are, go for it! The beautiful freedom behind this realization is that people are probably not listening/watching/thinking about you anyway so be free to flex your talents.
13. Travel often, travel everywhere. Destination races or just running in new places can be an excellent way to explore the city.
14. Self-care can sometimes seem like a take-it-or-leave-it luxury. That is a false perception because it is in fact, a necessity. Whether self-care to you means practicing meditation, repeating positive affirmations, or scheduling regular massages, make sure you are consistent.
15. Being consistently happy is harder than being negative. Take the road less traveled and smile. Be grateful that you have the ability to exercise.
16. It is better to make mistakes and realize something was not for you than to spend your life wondering if you missed out.
17. Nature and solitude heal the soul. Group fitness is great. But sometimes it is necessary to escape into the wild.
18. Do not time every run. Lose your watch on purpose every once in a while.
19. The importance of active recovery cannot be overstated. Do not let an injury defeat you! Walk, practice yoga, try water aerobics, but do not allow yourself to wallow in the depression an injury can bring.
20. A running buddy or group really can make all the difference in maintaining consistent workouts.
21. If you hit a plateau or lack of motivation, go back to your “favorites.” This could be a favorite trail, a favorite route, a favorite pace, or a favorite workout. It will help remind you why you started running in the first place.
22. Mental health affects physical health. Anxiety and depression, in particular, can take a physical toll on the body.
23. SLEEP! Be resolute in protecting your sleep. That next Netflix episode is not worth a lost hour of rest.
24. Trying new things is the best way to learn what you do and don’t like. But it is also great to find acceptance for the type of runner you are. Own your niche! Example: “I am happiest and most consistent when I run 2-4 miles a day. I keep trying to be a marathoner and keep telling myself I should sign up for another one. But the truth is, shorter distances make me happier.”
25. Regretting a workout once it is completed is rare if not impossible. So if you find yourself questioning whether you should work out, just do it!
26. Cute running clothes can help with motivation before a run.
27. Schedule workouts like you would any other meeting or important priority in your life.
28. Remember the now familiar refrain “sitting is the new smoking.” Just because you exercise, does not mean you are immune to the dangerous effects of sitting for long stretches. Takes lots of walk breaks if your job has you sitting for most of the day.
29. If you are going to spend money on only one thing, let it be a pair of high-quality shoes. In my opinion, Brooks makes some of the best.
30. And in the wise words of Christopher Robin speaking to Winnie the Pooh, “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”