Growing up in rural Indiana meant that our entertainment options were pretty limited. I spent my childhood playing a lot of organized sports and spending my summer evenings playing Horse with my Dad and brother. On weekends, I got in my fair share of movement by gardening, swimming and doing all the annoying country chores that my parents inflicted on me (splitting wood, anyone?).

It never really occurred to me to “exercise” and it didn’t need to. My childhood lifestyle was about movement. So when I moved away to college, and the country life stopped, my activity level plummeted and my weight skyrocketed. Even though I had some amazing fitness resources at my huge university, it never occurred to me that I needed to use them.

The problem became especially bad when I landed a desk job post-graduation. At least in college I was walking a few hours a day (3600 acre campus), but even that form of activity halted once I was in the real world.

Finally, I got fed up and decided to educate myself on fitness! My fitness routine started with walking—only about a mile day—and that was hard. Then I started taking some cardio dance classes (Zumba, Bollywood, Hip-Hop). From that, I tried my hand at distance running, strength training and lots of other activities. I’m still trying to find what makes me excited to get up and sweat each morning, but for now, I’m having fun trying different things.

Honestly, I don’t love exercise for exercise sake. I like my activity to be part of my life! It’s the way I was raised and I think it is the way to a fitness routine that works. My fitness philosophy? Move more. That’s it! A lot of times my “workouts” are actually hikes or chasing my dog around the yard. After all, if I’m truly going back to my roots, I have to remember that my ancestors didn’t have a treadmill at a gym. They got their activity from gardening and playing with kids. In an ideal world, my weekly exercise landscape would be a combo of new and old. A hike, a day out in the garden, plus a day on the kettlebells and elliptical.

For a few years, I did dabble in running road races and while I had fun, I’m not sure running is the sport for me. You can find out more info about my journey with running here. If you are interested, you can check out my race recaps:

May 8, 2010 : Indianapolis, Indiana
Indianapolis 500 Festival FinishLine 5K*
36:44 : 1427/3472 overall : 132/274 division : 764/2230 gender

October 16, 2010 : Chicago, Illinois
Pumpkins in the Park 5K
37:57 : 1556/1992 overall : 294/349 division : 926/1208 gender

October 23, 2010 : Bloomington, Indiana
Jill Behrman 5K

38:32 (not a chip start) : 697/1260 overall (lots of walkers) : 46/65 division (runners only)

April 2, 2011 : Bloomington, Indiana
Indiana University 5K
36:54 : 269/399 overall : 38/55 division

May 7, 2011 : Indianapolis, Indiana
OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon*
3:19:10 : 26,351/30,611 overall : 2463/2793 overall : 13159/16375 gender

June 19, 2011 : Channahon, Illinois
Warrior Dash Midwest
1:05:08 : 7068/8210 overall : 877/1049 division

September 24, 2011 : Bloomington, Indiana
Hoosiers Outrun Cancer 5K
38:44 : 1213/1500 overall : 76/ 95 division

Want to see all of my fitness-related posts? Check them out here.