Last weekend the trail heads where I enter the woods to hike around the well-worn paths were piled high with snow blocking my entry. I desperately needed some fresh country air coursing through my arteries, veins, lungs, alveoli. It was a heavy work week and time to cleanse my qi, clear my mind, and gather a new perspective, so I did what I tell my patients to do when they are stuck in a non-exercise mode. I dressed for the grey, threatening-to-snow sky, stepped outside my door and began walking—first slow, than a little faster before breaking into a sort of slow jog. I ran past the water on my left and under the birds getting ready for another storm and past a couple of dog walkers not quite awake yet. After five minutes of that, I went into a fast walk for another five, then two minutes of jogging, five more of fast walking, one last minute sprint and then a few more minutes of ‘cool down’ before walking back in my door. I just did twenty minutes of elevating my heart rate, breathing fresh are, and breathing nature—done! My cheeks were rosy, my mind a lot sharper and I felt ready to do the spring cleaning I had planned.
“What do you do for exercise?” I always ask my patients and then help them find something that fits easily with their schedules, constitutions, and natural tendencies. I know that getting them to move their circulation helps support the work I do with them. We can all find ways to blend an exercise routine into our lives. Find your fit. Be creative. Get out and move as the days get longer. Use this seasonal awakening into spring as a way to get “in shape” by Memorial Day. If you can’t think of anything, just walk out the door!