Skip to main content

The Workout Habit [publisher's letter]

Publisher Tracy Patterson with her dog sitting in the desert resting up from a hike

Tracy Patterson

The article “Mind-Body Fitness,” on page 38 in this month’s edition, really hit home. I’ve been trying to approach challenging things that I need to do for my health from a different perspective. Working out has always been an activity that I’ve tended to put off indefinitely, so I’ve become determined to rise to the challenge and make it a positive part of my lifestyle.

I’ve had numerous memberships at fitness studios over the years, but like many others, my great intentions resulted in a lighter pocketbook, no exercise, and a dose of guilt to top it off. It never became a habit, and therefore it was pretty much impossible to get a regular exercise regimen going. I eventually gave up the gym option, but a number of months ago it became apparent that I needed to get back to a better fitness level, and that it needed to be part of my lifestyle—not something “over there,” separate from the rest of my life.

I was pondering what to do, since all the gyms were closed down and it was more than 100 degrees outside (so not great hiking weather!), when I came across a personal trainer who has her own studio and does one-on-one sessions. I started at one half-hour session a week because that was all I could afford. I almost said no―I mean, what’s the point of doing it once a week? Then I thought: “Maybe it’s a place to start, and I can increase it over time,” and that’s what I’ve done. I found a few places I could cut back on financially, and now I train three times a week!

I’ve discovered that the big thing about exercise is how I approach it to begin with. Is it, “I’m so dreading this workout; I don’t feel like doing it today,” or is it, “I am so grateful I can work out; it makes me feel so good, and it’s an important part of my routine and my life.”? The self-talk and the actual habit of going are vitally important. And taking the advice in the article of being mindful and breathing properly before and during workouts are also aspects that I’m working on. It’s the most consistent I’ve been in, well, forever, when it comes to the gym, and the first time I feel as though it’s a positive, integral part of my lifestyle.

Happy Holidays! For me, it will be a time to reflect on everything I’m grateful for and set my 2021 goals. And this year, I will be able to enjoy the wonderful foods of the season while keeping my habit of working out to balance the scale, literally.