Green Chi: Finding Exercise That Fits

My three sisters and I get together with our families for a week’s vacation at the Cape every year. There are so many of us so it is a free-for-all. We have great meals and fun whale watches and the whole experience is (mostly) a cherished time for cousins, aunts, and uncles alike. I thank my mother for starting the tradition 30 years ago after the first of us married.

As we get older, the conversations between me and my sisters have edged away from raising children to issues of aging, and how to fit in exercise, deal with our cholesterol levels, gray hair, and other age-related concerns. We discuss the issues in a supportive way, wanting each others’ company for years to come.

They’ve been on my case in recent years because I spend too much time at my desk and don’t get enough exercise. I agree. It’s got to stop! But how and with what approach?

One sister was urging that I join a gym or use the treadmill, and I say, yes, yes, you are right, but then I cringe. Why would I want to be inside a smelly old gym if the weather is gorgeous? Even if the weather isn’t gorgeous, isn’t it better for me to get outside and have some real light? And a treadmill at home is OK if it is raining, and in fact I have one, but I also cringe at the artificiality of it, the energy use, the un-naturalness of it.

I do love my energy-free rebounder, and use that frequently, but then I realize that the rebounder doesn’t help with weight-bearing exercise that I am supposed to get, and return in my mind to the gym. And then I cringe again.

Returning from the last family vacation this year, after discussing all these exercise details again with my sisters, I had an epiphany. I want to be outdoors. I want to move my body. I want to do weight-bearing exercise.

Hello, garden! Hello, outdoor chores! The next morning I worked in the garden for an hour, and walked the dogs for 45 minutes, all before work. The next morning I could hardly move my body I was so stiff, but it sure felt great. I was outdoors, growing food to eat and flowers to enjoy, pulling weeds and carrying rocks. What more could a doctor want of me? And none of it took energy, either to drive to the gym or run exercise machines.

Now all I have to do is to keep at it. That, with everything, is the hard part.


Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W6 years ago

What about exercise which makes you anorexic?

Emily B.
Emily B6 years ago


Robert O.
Robert O6 years ago


Charlene S.
Charla D6 years ago

It really is important to find a type of exercise we enjoy and also to realize that it doesn't always mean going to a gym and "working out". It doesn't have to be so rigidly defined. Walking or actively playing with the dog, gardening, and even house/yard work all count. If it's fun and/or necessary, then we'll find ourselves naturally doing it.

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado6 years ago

Gyms are so expensive and hard to overcome the inertia of staying on the couch and watching TV.

Susan S.
Paul Stephan6 years ago

Thanks. I garden, go to exercise class (for social interaction as much as anything). My husband hikes up the mountain behind our cabin. I like to breathe outdoor air at all times of the year but when it's 0 degrees and the wind is howling it's hard.

Hanan W.
Hana W7 years ago

It is so important to find what works for you. While I enjoy going to the gym because of the machines, I find I also enjoy working out with a CD at home alone and walking outdoors with a companion.

Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado7 years ago

The gyms that exist now are easily accessible to everyone. Memberships is somehow expensive in the gyms with lots of amenities.

Abo Ahmed r.
Abo r7 years ago