“Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning.”

Thomas Jefferson

Sunshine and exercise

There is nothing that makes me feel better than a little sunshine and exercise. Running is for me as effective, if not more effective than hiring a personal coach or a psychologist. I think that the majority of major personal revelations and professional problems that I have solved on a run, a bike ride or a hike in the mountains is probably close to 80% over my lifetime. I am not sure why it is, but the same problems that can cause insomnia, seem to be magically resolved when my feet hit the pavement. It’s almost as if my hippocampus is powered by gears attached to my leg muscles!

Not only do I solve my problems when I exercise, the more I exercise the stronger and the happier I feel. Physical fitness contributes to mental fitness. And yet, physical fitness is one of the easiest things to let slide when the going gets a little bumpy. Sometimes it is easier to soothe (food, alcohol, Netflix on mind numbing repeats), but soothing doesn’t do much more than soothe. It doesn’t solve problems and can, in fact, lead to worse problems in the form of a food or alcohol hangover or just plain exhaustion from watching Spartacus until 2 AM…

Most of my life I have been relatively physically fit, more so at certain times than others. That said, I have never really set goals. In my early 20s, I had a membership to a rock club and that involved some goal setting. Climbing routes are based on ratings, and I knew that to be strong enough to climb outdoors, I had to get over the 8s and 9s to the 10s and 11s. The time in my life in which I was climbing, running, working out at the gym and commuting my bike were probably the fittest years of my life. I could not only climb, I could pull up and I could kick butt. This year, my goal is to be that fit, but at age 40.

  1. Physical Fitness Goals 2017 (age 40)
    1. Running — this is a three-tiered goal:
      1. Right now I can run 5k in 30 minutes or 9.7 kph. My goal is to do 5k in 25 minutes or 12k in 60 minutes.
      2. To achieve this I want to run 3 days a week. Two shorter runs (Monday and Thursday) and a longer one on Saturday.
      3. I would like my Saturday run to consistently be 10k.
    2. Cross Training:
      1. 2 x per week: Musculation (as they say in French) or Weight Training: I need to do a weight training workout twice per week
      2. Daily: each month I will set a goal. For the month of April, it is 300 squats per day.
      3. Climbing/Bouldering: They opened a studio in Bayonne. I intend to check it out!
      4. Cycling: I will cycle one time per week (road or MTB).
    3. I want to be able to do 10 pull-ups (which means I could maybe climb a 10 or 11 route once again…)
    4. Yoga & Flexibility: yoga just makes me feel yummy and also a little bit like a superhero. I have done yoga off and on most of my life. My first memory of yoga is from attending classes at the North Boulder Recreation Center with my grandmother when I was off from school at around age 4. I remember that by the time I was 8 years old, I was impressed that my grandmother was more flexible than me. My first real yoga practice started at CU-Boulder when a girlfriend and I would get up twice a week for a 7 am class. Over the years I have done yoga off and on, sometimes at home, sometimes in a studio. I adore adore adore CorePower Yoga (hot yoga) back in Boulder.

When I moved to France, the first person I met and the first friend I made happened to be a yoga teacher. Zoe of Bloom Yoga is the first yoga teacher to kick my butt (very nicely). Well, actually, Zoe didn’t kick anything, but she did show me I could do things that I didn’t think I could do. From balancing on my hands/elbows in the Crow pose, to doing a headstand. I really never thought that I could do a headstand in which you use your abs to pull you up and hold you straight, but Zoe taught me how. And now, less than a year after my last son was born, and after several months of following Allison Westfahl’s Core Envy book, I can again do a headstand (will try and upload a video)!

And so, my last Physical Goal for 2017 is to make yoga part of my life as a regular home practice. I also commit to practicing yoga for at least 30 minutes 3 times per week with the goal of attending a class or extending that practice to an hour or more at least once per week. I know I will feel amazing!