Back when I used to live in the city, I maintained a pretty healthy lifestyle. Sure, I drank a lot of beer, but I also walked everywhere, ran, and did yoga regularly. I had a healthy weight, and a healthy diet. There were lots of ways to get exercise, and even though I was a student and spent a lot of my time working, my day-to-day habits meant that my health took care of itself.
Then Came Rural Life
My habits definitely changed a lot when I moved to a rural area. Because of the differences in how my life was laid out, I found I was getting a less exercise on almost every way:
Instead of walking to work, I was now driving. This eliminated about half an hour of exercise that I used to be getting every day. I also didn’t walk as much for recreation, because there is so much less to walk to in rural areas. Anything worth seeing needs to be driven to.
Over time I found that I also ran less, because there are fewer options for running in my area. It is harder to just step out my front door and go for a run for a few reasons:
- In the winter, my rural road is regularly covered with ice. I have ice cleats but sometimes it’s just too dangerous.
- In the summer, I only have one very specific route that I can take near my house because other routes are barred by angry off leash dogs, speeding cars, or uneven road shoulders that invite rolled ankles. I sometimes drive into town just to go for a run.
I also stopped going to yoga classes, because the nearest studio is 40 minutes away. While this was really helpful for my budget, it wasn’t so helpful for my health. I continued to do yoga at home, but I definitely missed my studio practice.
Then Came Debt Repayment
Beyond just having less access to exercise, once I moved out of the city, I also had less time. I wanted my debt gone, so I started blogging, then I started staff writing. The evening hours that used to be taken up by running, doing yoga, or walking, were instead filled with side hustling. This helped me pay off $38,000 of debt in two years, but it also meant that my exercise habits went from varied and robust to sporadic and monotonous, and my work habits took over that spare time.
My overall decline in fitness was made glaringly apparent to me this weekend. I went to visit my sister in Halifax, and she lives right downtown. Because of this, we walked, a lot. On Saturday we walked at least 6.5km, and Sunday was no different. By Sunday night, I would barely move my legs, I was so tired! I’m pretty sure my toddler niece handled the distance better than I did. I realized how out of shape I am, and how I’ve let my sedentary lifestyle slowly take over. I know I need to change this, I need to make exercise a priority.
Carving Out Time
At least, throughout my slow decline in exercise, I’ve managed to maintain a pretty healthy diet. In fact, it’s only gotten better over the years. As my exercise habits have declined, my healthy eating habits have ramped up. So, I don’t really need to renew my commitment to eating healthier, just to exercise more.
The problem is, carving out time is tough, especially in my car centric world. I used to be able to kill two birds at once:
- Walk to work, get some exercise.
- Run to the store, get some exercise.
- Go to a yoga class on a Friday night, get out of the house, away from technology, and get some exercise.
Now, since I drive everywhere, exercise has to be a dedicated part of my day. No multitasking for me! I definitely have never really adjusted to this, and that needs to change. So, I’m renewing my commitment to myself to exercise more, because I loved being fit, and I want to return to that.
What about you? What do you do for exercise? How do you make it part of your daily life?