I’ve shared my story with you before. It wasn’t until I was in my late 30s that I finally took control of my health. As a teenager I didn’t have to work at it, in my 20s I coasted, and by my 30s it finally caught up to me. I was a prime example of bad habits, poor nutrition, and little to no exercise.
When I first lost weight it was as if I got a new lease on life. I wanted to try everything. I couldn’t say no. If a friend called to go hiking, I said yes. If someone called to go for a bike ride, I answered, “Why not?”. When a friend wanted to enter a sprint triathlon, I said sure. Everything sounded fun: running, hiking, lifting, biking, swimming, golfing, racquetball, CrossFit, races, obstacle events. I was all about trying new things.
I still am.
I really feel that much of fitness is about trying new activities and finding new hobbies. Just today my husband was telling me about a coworker of his who didn’t start running until he was 49. He’s now in his mid 50s and runs ultras and marathons regularly. And he’s fast – his best marathon time is less than 3 hours.
You’ll never know where your strengths are or where your interest lies until you try new things. When I was in high school and college I loathed (that actually seems too soft a word!) running. I ran track in high school, but I focused on shorter distances. I did it more to make my dad proud than for me. After every race I’d be bent over, gasping for air. Then in college, whenever I knew ahead of time that I had to run the mile for a class, I skipped it (sorry, Mom). I just didn’t like it. The truth is, up to that point I never really gave it a chance. If you would have told me that in my 40s I’d run the Boston marathon twice and then the New York City marathon, I NEVER would have believed you. And I qualified for all three.
How? I finally gave running a fair shot. I tried. I didn’t give up, and I found that after I got through the initial pain, my mindset changed, and I started to actually like it. A lot.
This time of year brings cooler temperatures, which is absolutely ideal for trying new activities. I can think of at least a dozen healthy activities you can try if you only set aside the time to do it.
- Speed Walking
- Road biking
- Mountain biking
- Track workouts
- Obstacle racing
- Playground workouts (alone or with your kids!)
- Throwing the ball
- Even gardening!
The key is trying and doing what sounds like fun to you. Pick a day. Set aside some time. And try it. Then try it again. Don’t be like me so long ago when I wrote off running before really giving it a chance. To think of all the years I missed out on something I love! Now as a runner I can’t help but wonder how much better I could have been.
Fall is the perfect time. Weather-wise you couldn’t ask for better conditions, so get out there, do something new, and “tone it up” in the process!