What's So Important About Getting Sweaty?

I know, you know, we all know that exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. But why? Of course it can help with weight loss, put you in a better mood, combat disease, help you age with more ease, have better quality sleep, and the list goes on. But what’s the real knit and grit behind why moving your body is foundational to health? Our mind and body are so entwined as far as intelligence and emotion. To be well in one it is necessary to be well in the other. To physically move your body is an expression of creativity and mindfulness. Yep, that sounds a little woo but think about it. The feeling you get from doing something physical that you enjoy like dancing, lifting, hiking, swimming, the sheer satisfaction from yard work is akin to meditation or being in that sweet, sweet state of flow. We exercise not only to be healthy, but to feel empowered, confident, and awake in our body.

 

The ability to move your body is a gift and something so many of us take for granted. Our bodies are designed to move! Our ancestors were always on the go and now we live sedentary lifestyles with heads bent, scrolling on our phones looking for the newest, trendiest quick fix for weight loss (or dog memes).  Moving feels SO good! We feel invigorated after a great sweat session, a day of yard beautification, or a climb up a mountain. When we move we produce endorphins that make us feel oh, so fabulous and allow us to ride that rush long after we’ve finished. Strength means something different to everyone and it can also vary from day to day. To me, strength used to mean squatting 250lbs and working 50+ hours per week. I feel much differently these days. I find empowerment and strength through sweating and moving in ways that bring me joy and fun and will hopefully keep this body healthy for my lifetime. A strong body can help heal a weak mind. The way we train our bodies translates to the way we train our minds. It’s all connected. To me, there is no greater sense of empowerment than being physically and mentally strong and capable.

 

Exercise is a way to get to know your body. You learn the way your body feels when it moves and makes shapes. You learn how your squirrely knee feels when you overtrain. You learn how to dig deep when you’re tired and ease up when it’s time. I’m obsessed with bodies and not just my own. Watching them work is incessantly fascinating. Some bodies glide with ease and some move carefully with intent and some do their own dance their own way. Training my body taught me how to live. Yes, it is my job to take care of me, so I can serve and show up for others, but I genuinely love feeling my body ride a bike or roll through a vinyasa (even on days when chaturangas feel like shit). Through sweat is how I find myself, it’s how I get into my head and use my brain or shut off my brain if that’s what needs to happen. Even on days when I don’t feel like putting on my shoes and moving, I know how I like to feel and exercise is a surefire way to get me there. You are your longest relationship so spend some time getting to know how you look and feel in total and get comfortable with you. Become aware of how you work and embrace it.

The Top 5 Ways I’ve Upleveled my Wellness Game.

While I’ve always been into health and fitness I haven’t always practiced what I preached. We often know what’s good for us, but knowing and doing aren’t the same thing. Also, committing and half-assing are not the same thing. Committing often requires getting uncomfortably truthful. For me, I had to get really honest about if what I was saying was aligning with what I was doing.

Here are my top five personal game changers.

 

Eat Real Food

I’ve been all across the board regarding food. I’ve been a vegetarian (10 years), emotional eater, paleo lover, keto wannabe, and gone on the red wine in a to-go cup diet (thank you New Orleans). The only time food felt easy is when I focused on food that is real and did it mindfully. I feel amazing when I eat what I want when I’m hungry. I don’t always need to eat breakfast, or refuel every two hours, and I’m certainly not going back to the days when I used to weigh each gram of protein or carbohydrate. I’m not training for the Olympics, (although in my humble opinion, I’d make an excellent Taylor Swift backup dancer should that ever become a category) I’m just training to live a happy, healthy, sustainable lifestyle. I eat food that is real which means it was once living and not created in a lab, I eat tons of veggies especially the green ones, and I eat what my body tells me it needs. This intuition didn’t happen instantly. It was a process that still isn’t foolproof and needs regular upkeep, but it gets easier the more in tune you become to your body. I still eat cookies and drink wine and my last meal on Earth would be a giant cheese plate with crusty Italian bread but I eat to feel good so that I can do all of the things I love for as many years as I’m given.

Create a Morning Ritual

Most of my life I’d never been much of a morning person. I’d lay in bed until the very last second then rush out the door in haphazard dervish with toothpaste on my shirt. Somewhere along the way I learned the art of easing into the day with reading, writing, meditation, and a hot beverage. It sets a calm and relaxed tone for the rest of the day. I now wake up extra early to allot a few hours (yes, hours) of quiet time before I face the world. I look forward to this every day. There is something magical about peaceful, early mornings, drinking coffee, and doing something you enjoy before the hustle takes over. My recommendation is a morning ritual, but I think the real importance is in having some sort of daily routine that you do solely for yourself to invite pleasure and peace. Not something that you have to do, but something that makes you better.

Relentless Vulnerability

When I was young I was very private and showed little emotion. Having one sister with a disability and one who was extremely sensitive forced me to be the ‘tough’ one. I think there may have been a three year span during my late teens where I didn’t cry at all. Through lots of ‘work’ I’m now very comfortable expressing, talking about, and writing about my emotions. I feel that by being open with mine invites you to be open with yours. I now life in a space of vulnerability at all times it has taught me how to have confidence and be brave, it’s also taught me to have the hard, uncomfortable conversations that generate meaningful human connection. I invite you to open yourself up to living in this space. Seriously, we are all just winging it and there are few things we know for certain so if we can all act accordingly we level up our daily living.

Sweat Errday

Sweat is my meditation, therapy, sanity, and one of my very favorite things. I love it so much I quit my life of party planning so that I could wear spandex full time and compare sweat angels with other lovers of the twerk. When I say sweat I also mean movement. It doesn’t matter what you do, but do something and be consistent. The best form of exercise is the one you enjoy. Yoga, hiking, rollerblading, marathon training, picking up heavy things, or rock climbing - try everything! Find something that makes you happy and do it. We all know the benefits of an active lifestyle. We know how good it feels to ride the wave of an endorphin high so if you haven’t found that thing you love keep looking. Try all of the things until you find the thing.

Sleep/Meditation

I’m lumping these together because for me, one begets the other. Sleep has never come easily for me, but when I started meditating regularly I noticed a huge change in sleep quality. All the aforementioned factors are at play, but meditation is the linchpin. Simply put, meditation is deep breathing. You can add all the woowoo you want and make it work for you, but taking some time to breathe and slow down your monkey mind is straight juju. I can talk for hours about the benefits of meditation, but it’s remarkably changed my life and the way I view the world. Sleep is still not something that happens with ease, but I’ve prioritized it big time over the past year and I’m a much happier, less reactionary person for it. I notice when I’m taking care of myself physically and mentally my sleep is much better than when I’m flying around frantically getting shit done.


Try one of these! Try all of these! Make your own list that makes you feel good about your wellness, there are no rules.

A New Year and a Blank Page

I’ve learned to welcome upheaval.  When things change there is room for a fresh start, a blank page, and a reboot. It doesn’t mean it’s not scary or frustrating, but it’s all about perspective. I’ve been a writer my whole life. I kept a diary growing up, I secretly hate/loved pulling pre-final exam all-nighters writing the assignments I’d neglected throughout my college semesters (still a regular procrastinator), I love writing letters and notes and slant rhymes and jokes that aren’t that funny. Recently, while shifting and changing my website I realized that I lost all blog entries from the past five years. It was partially my own fault, but partially a conglomeration of random events. I was definitely disappointed (mad thanks to Justin from GoDaddy who talked me off of a metaphorical cliff, and Kathy from SquareSpace who offered to send me her childhood diary entries page by page to soothe my nostalgic soul) but was quickly reminded that I was grossly in need of a reset. I was itching to write new words and let go of old ideas and put the final punctuation on a few obsolescent stories. It’s time to begin again, friends.

 

Our beliefs are the stories we tell ourselves. How many times do you find yourself blindly doing something a certain way only because someone taught you to do it as such? Or believe something that was drilled into you by someone of authority without thinking if if makes sense for YOU in YOUR life? We all do it. Each of us has many stories we tell ourselves on the daily about who we are. Maybe it’s that you’re always late or you’re bad at relationships or your genetics prove a gloomy future regarding health. If you tell yourself these things repeatedly you’ll believe them to be true and end up self prophesying your way into an endless cycle of same old, same old. Changing your mindset and beliefs is one way to take your life to the next level. If we tell ourselves we are always late we are always going to be late because we’ve given ourselves permission. If we shift our belief and tell ourselves we are always on time we will start acting more like someone who is on time. Say and believe who you want to be.

 

Change is an excellent time to shake things up. You get to decide how to rewrite your story once a page gets torn out. You get to rewrite everything your previously knew when your blog is sucked into a cyber black hole. So often we fear change, but if we look at it as a chance to begin again it can be quite exciting. There have been so many times in my life where I knew that I was due for a change, I felt it in my bones but I put it off because I was comfortable right where I was sipping my Bulletproof coffee under my purple blanket. Because I didn’t create change on my own the universe decided to flip me upside down, spin me around, and put me back down forcing the change that I’d already known I needed to make. What is fear anyway? It’s completely self imposed and (mostly) made up. When I start to feel fear or fear in disguise (perfectionism, procrastination, indecision, cynicism) I ask myself what the worst possible outcome could be… and it’s usually not that bad. Change is what you make of it and perhaps it’s time to create new content!

 

High vibes only please! Everything in the universe is made up of energy that vibrates at different frequencies. You, your food, and your coffee table are all made of atoms and all of these atoms are moving and shaking at different rates. A vibration is measured by a combination of regularity, speed, height, smoothness, and power. We can actually measure that when people are experiencing feelings of joy and happiness they are vibrating at a higher rate than when they are experiencing feelings of depression and the drudgery that follows along. So if we can uplevel our vibration by doing things that will make us happy we are emitting a higher frequency. Compare the vibrational energy of a beautiful tomato or head of lettuce that was grown with soil and sunlight to that of Cheezits or a fast food burger - which are likely to have a higher vibration and which are likely to give you the energy that make you want to shoot sunbeams out of your eyeballs (RIP Roald Dahl)? And we know that like energy attracts like energy sooooo the more we ride high on those vibes the more we attract those things back. Just think of those times where someone smiles or gives you a compliment and it instantly puts you in a great mood. Boom! Keep those thoughts at peak performance and share them over and over.

 

Losing my writing definitely sent me into some low vibrational moments. But I vented to some friends, took a few weeks off from writing, and allowed myself to embrace and get excited about some changes just in time for a new year. I encourage everyone to go shake something up in your life. Take that which feels stale or trite and set that shit on fire so you can make yourself a s’more and create space to build something new, something that better suites who you are in this moment which is new and ever changing.