In my ongoing quest to optimize my life, I’ve come to one annoying realization: Exercise is key.
I’m essentially a sedentary person. Most of the things I enjoy doing involve sitting — reading, writing, watching TV, knitting. My most active hobby is cooking. I do like taking long walks and going on hikes, but it hasn’t generally been a daily habit.
I had to change that in the last couple of years. I’d been taking a ballet class and injured my knee during that, then ended up in physical therapy. The therapy required daily exercise, and my knee feeling better meant I started walking more often. I was doing well until winter hit, and I slacked off. Then the whole blood pressure/thyroid thing hit, and I was out of commission until I started feeling better, and then I was motivated to exercise more regularly. Alas, the winter slack-off thing happened again. It was too cold to comfortably walk in the morning, so I said I’d do it later, but then I’d get busy and not get around to it.
This time, though, I started to feel the effects. The double whammy of the thyroid issues and the medication I’m on for the blood pressure means I’m extra sensitive to cold, so I tend to sit at home wrapped up in blankets, but then that made me even more sensitive to cold, and I just generally didn’t feel great. When there was a warm day and I took a walk, I felt so much better, so I’ve tried to get back in the habit. If it’s too cold to walk in the morning, I get out the jogging trampoline and walk/jog while I watch something (travel programs are good for that because I feel like I’m walking through some interesting place).
What I’m finding is that if I exercise in the morning, I’m less cold, so I’m able to be more active throughout the day instead of sitting huddled in a blanket the whole time. I have more energy, and I’m more productive, getting more work done. If I want to stay healthy and functional, I need to make a habit of this.
And I really kind of hate that. I like easing into my day, lazing around in pajamas instead of getting dressed and going for a walk. But I can feel such a difference that it makes no sense not to do it. Maybe after a long enough time of feeling that difference, I’ll look forward to it instead of having to force myself. In the meantime, I have to remind myself of how icky I started feeling when I was slacking off.
This is right up there with the advice to write first thing in the morning instead of easing into the day. The difference it makes is too huge to ignore, but in a way, I hate that it works because I don’t particularly like arranging my day that way.