On Exercise: I Put My Money Where My Mouth Is

So in The Book, I give lots of advice about how to come up with an exercise regimen you'll actually stick with. Condensed here:

1. Choose something you like, that you'll actually stick with, because if you have a nervous breakdown every time you think about going to step class, that's not your kind of exercise.

2. Mix things up for balance and variety. If you try to do 45 minutes on the elliptical trainer every single morning, you will get bored and hate yourself and your elliptical trainer (you own an elliptical trainer? that's sort of cool). You know: run, swim, bike, lift some dumbbells, go nuts on one of those giant rubber balls that I secretly love.

3. Keep your workouts short enough that enough time passes between workouts for you to actually want to do it again. If you spend 2 hours at the gym every time you, but then you're so burnt out you only go once a month, that's not fun.

...&c. (That's supposed to pique your appetite so you'll run out and buy it to find out what else I say that could and actually definitely will change your life.)

Okay, so I know all these things, but how often do I actually take my own advice? So this week I varied my running route and actually sought out the park by the river rather than just going on the paths through the housing development (oh, to live in the wide open country where one can run and frolic in streets and yards!) like I always do. I ran by the river, through a playground (watch out, tykes!), around a baseball field, I ran into a big soft track and did a few laps, ran back and couldn't resist a spin around the housing development (you can't keep a good girl down). But it was exhilarating. I felt like I'd discovered an extra room in my apartment, you know, that dream that's always so sad to wake up from, where you realize you have a wing to your house you never knew existed, like the closet has a fake back wall and there's a giant bathroom with a clawfoot tub back there you never knew about. It was almost like that, except it wasn't a dream!

Then Ben and I rode up the east side on our bikes today, which was less than halcyon, since the path dead-ends at 42nd Street and you end up on the highway (oops!) but we've been riding most weekends on the west side, which is sort of like a boardwalk full of happy beachcombers jogging and biking and rollerblading and you could almost believe you were someplace tropical if you don't look to your left. Ben likes to remind me that these bike rides are in no way strenous, but I say it's all exercise, and another tip I have in the book is to find a "workout buddy" (I hope I don't use that term, but it is accurate, if dorky). Better that we should be riding bikes while we chat than, I don't know, watching one more documentary about lefty politics, our former favorite weekly practice. I mean, we're still going to see Iraq in Fragments (I hope) but the riding feels as enriching.

So I'm here to say that a super-busy week in which several things could potentially have put me in rotten spirits was actually quite blissful, because I followed my own advice. You should too. Let me know how it goes.

Previously: The Long Run, Hubris