I was pretty active in high school. I was on the swim team, I did yoga on the weekends, and once in a while, my friends and I took some dance lessons for fun. But it all changed once I went to university. My first year, I honestly tried! I tried exercising at home, I got a gym membership at my school, thinking I could go in between lectures, and I went hiking or running on the weekends. But by second year, when I got a part-time job on top of my course-load, it became painfully obvious that I didn’t have the time or the energy to do anything other than to attempt to squeeze in some studding before passing out at my desk.
At first, I was pretty accepting of my lack of exercise. I mean, what could I do, I simply didn’t have the time! But gradually, it started to nag at me and by the time I began my fourth year, I haven’t been exercising for 2 years and it showed. My muscles lost all definition, I was constantly out of breath even after a short walk, and I felt tired from the time I woke up in the morning, to the time I went to bed at night.
Late one night, my mom and I were sitting in our living room, talking about how much I missed swimming and all the other activities I used to do, and after hearing me complain about how my crazy schedule prevented me from being active, my mom gave me a piece of advice that changed the way I think about being active forever. She said ” You know, you always think in black and white terms, it’s all or nothing with you, but the truth is, even 5 minutes of ecxercise a day can make a difference. You can find 5 minutes every day, can’t you? Well, why don’t you start there and see what happens?”
Next morning, I got up a bit earlier and did yoga for exactly 5 minutes. My body ached the entire day, yet I felt elated because I felt a sense of accomplishment, and more than anything else, I felt that I finally had a plan. Yes, I could definitely do this for 5 minutes every day and no matter how crazy my schedule became, I could always find this little bit of time to do something for myself! For the next 2 weeks, I continued to do yoga or run for exactly 5 minutes a day and in time, I slowly increased the time to 10, 15, 20 minutes, and eventually half an hour.
Looking back, I now realize that the hardest part for me was starting, but once I did, and exercising became part of my routine, finding the time became easier and easier.
Today, my schedule is pretty unpredictable. Sometimes, I definitely have the time to do a full 40 minute to an hour workout, but sometimes I don’t! On these particularly crazy days, I do what I can, even if it’s just 5 minutes a day! I’ve also learned how to take my fitness routine on the road with me, since we tend to travel quite a bit. Rather than counting on hotel gyms, I always bring my running gear with me ( tights, sports bra, jacket and my sneakers ). The don’t take much room in my suitcase, and I can run pretty much anywhere, though I will admit, that running early in the morning in Paris when streets are quiet and empty is always a highlight for me!