The 30 Day Exercise Challenge was a success—I exercised every day in August, so it turned out to be a 31 day exercise challenge.
The first run was the hardest and my nose and lungs burned a little, but not enough to slow me down. It felt amazing to run again. Suddenly all my little cells were getting oxygen. Every last nook and cranny of my body was infused with breath. I knew I hadn’t run in months, but getting my heart rate up and breath going made me feel as if I hadn’t breathed in months!
Running was one of the most powerful experiences during this 30 day challenge. While running, there is no doubt that you are alive. And if there is just one thing to be grateful for, then being alive is a great place to start. When you volunteer to run, you are honoring your life. Choosing to exercise to improve your health and well being shows that you value your life.
After a few days of running I did yoga as my workout, and I realized a 30 minute yoga session wasn’t as challenging for me as a 30 minute run, so I added one hour of gardening to the days when I practiced yoga. I chose gardening instead of a longer yoga session because gardening has the added bonus of being productive as well as good for the body. My to-do list is fairly long so I’m all about efficiency. Combining activities—in this case, landscaping my front yard and getting some exercise—is a powerful time management strategy.
Yoga and gardening sessions were perfect for balancing the running and walking days. Less than one week into this 30 day exercise challenge, I could finally fold forward and rest my head on my knees. I hadn’t been able to do that since before my pregnancy last year, and after my daughter was born I couldn’t even fold forward a few inches! Regaining my flexibility is an excellent benefit of exercising every day.
This 30 day exercise challenge was a great way to make exercise a habit again. 30 days was enough time to experience the benefits of exercising every day. In addition to increased flexibility, running also got much easier as my fitness level improved. Overall I feel I had a lot more energy on most days, especially considering we’ve had a really hot summer out here in California. Instead of using the heat as an excuse not to exercise, I ran or did the gardening first thing in the morning when it is still cool outside. I did yoga in the afternoons when our upstairs room heats up to over 90 degrees, using the heat to help me achieve deeper stretching.
One of the main reasons this 30 day challenge was a success is because I allowed myself a variety of exercise options to choose from, which makes it easier to do something every single day. The choices allow me to adapt to what my body and mind need most, instead of forcing myself to show up at a gym or class that I paid for in advance.
I plan on continuing to exercise every day even if some days it’s just a mellow walk, some restorative yoga, or a morning of digging weeds out of my vegetable garden.