life lessons / endorphins

My track record for remaining active has been ALL over the place throughout my whole life. For example, I have vivid memories as a child creating late night gymnastics routines on our tiny trampoline in my Pocahontas pajamas. I would jump and land and run around constantly for hours. But there were also the years ( cough, college ) where I played Mario Kart in the dorms instead of joining intramurals.

Once I graduated from University and started dipping my toes into the real world, I quickly realized that the whole “starting your own business” thing came paired with quite a bit of stress. I knew I needed to start up a routine again to not only remain active + healthy, but keep my sanity as well. Staring at a screen for hours on end and dealing with the stress of deadlines can be quite tiresome. And honestly, there HAVE been a few times where I doubted my longevity as a freelance designer. I wondered how long I could work at this pace and keep everything together. These thoughts alone were quite daunting, so I crafted ways to help decrease anxiety … and working out MORE was one of those things. Hello endorphins!!

Since that decision, I’ve been pretty consistent in working out 3-5 times a week – with some months being better than others. It was hard to push myself forward and get into a routine at first, but I now look forward to going for long runs or getting a good workout in. And I know that most of you understand the benefits of remaining active, but I can’t stress the results enough, especially for those of us who sit in a desk chair all day. Almost immediately, I noticed a shift in my mood for the better. I was more awake and at peace while working, which has greatly benefited my process + workflow.

What are all of your routines?? I would love to hear about them! I know that I didn’t even touch on eating healthy, but that’s a whole other story. Plus, I may or may not be able to say no to pizza.

  1. Ffion says:

    Since I was 13 I’ve had a pretty active life. I trained karate a lot until my favourite club closed, that did wonders for my happiness and health. I’m currently trying to find a new club that can accomodate my needs. I also love jogging, although currently my knee is acting up, so I have trouble doing that at the moment.

    Currently I like to keep myself fit with cycling, swimming and walking. I sometimes trick myself into getting my exercise. For example, if my boyfriend picks me up in the evening, the next day I have to walk 1 1/2 hours to get home, so I get some exercise in early :) Recently we’ve been meeting half-way on our bikes and swimming in the lake there when the weather permits.
    If possible I walk and cycle everywhere I can rather than taking public transport. It makes such a difference!

  2. Noor says:

    I used to be really healthy before I got married. I always ate pretty good and worked out daily and on top of that I used to like to go dancing at times, swim a lot and take walks or hikes. After I got married I shortly became pregnant and I just could not go off and do things I anted at anytime anymore and now I am stuck in a country where you can not really do much at all unless it is inside.

  3. Liz says:

    Getting out of the house and moving is one of my biggest struggles (hardest step is the first one out the door). One thing I constantly remind myself is that I’ll never regret a workout. I try to say it to myself when I’m debating whether I should catch up on my DVR or go for a jog. I wish I could bottle the feeling after a run because I’d never make an excuse not to go.

    • breanna says:

      Oh I love this : “I’ll never regret a workout.” That is so true. :) That’s a great way to think about it all!!

  4. Jenna says:

    After nearly two years of not being ABLE to be active due to a back injury, I’m enjoying being regularly active again. Running helps keep me calm and centered (except in this heat, omg).

  5. Danielle says:

    I’m all about moving before and after days in front of the computer. I’ve gotten a pretty good hold on healthy eating, too, and I’ll let you in on a little secret: it’s healthiest not to forgo the pizza when you want it ;)

  6. KAIT says:

    I KNOW what you mean. Endorphins are crazy things aren’t they? I recently switched jobs (and took quite the pay cut… cost of following dreams I suppose!) so I can not afford a gym membership right now. Instead I work out from home. I posted about a bunch of free/inexpensive at-home workouts that I really enjoy a few months back:

    http://www.keepingchange.com/2013/02/ways-to-save-exercise/

    Perhaps you will find some of those options helpful? Best of luck and keep it up!

  7. AllieKris says:

    One of my favorite ways to exercise is walking my dog. I walk her every night and my husband walks her every morning. We walk her in rain, sun, snow (in Fargo sometimes the snow can be a crazy workout!) and I know that she enjoys it and it’s a good time for me to reflect on my day and upcoming projects. It’s also nice to know that if I miss the gym, I still will be walking for about an hour that night anyways!

  8. Shayla says:

    Sticking to a consistent workout routine can be challenging but truly is the best thing you will ever do for yourself; EVER!

    Especially when you work as a freelance designer or self employer of any kind; it is more important than most realize to take time for you. You must nurture and care for yourself first in order to be able to properly nurture and care for your business and clients. :)

  9. alicia says:

    I’ve never been the sporty type so this is a tough one for me but I’ve been trying to put more effort into exercising too. I know how great it is to get away from the screen and how you feel mentally more fit after. Although I love the results I don’t love “doing it”. I guess I am still trying to find what works best for me and the routine definitely has not been established yet.
    I’m curious. Do you usually work out at the same time of the day? What works best for you? Mornings, afternoons, evenings? I’d love to know!

    • breanna says:

      Yeah – I feel like it took me a bit to actually “enjoy” working out. Once I got set into a routine, I looked forward to it everyday knowing ( in the back of my head ) that I would feel much better afterwards. I typically work out in the evenings before I shower. I’ve tried mornings to help wake me up, but honestly – I’m always just too tired and sluggish, so my workout isn’t as good.

      PLUS, exercising at night really helps cool me off on stressful days and all that jazz, which is a nice benefit. :) You just run faster if that’s the case to blow off some steam! FEELS GOOD.

  10. Vanessa says:

    This has been a hard lesson to learn especially because it’s so easy to work long into the night without a break. I feel like recently I just started getting into a good routine with working out and it feels so good! Especially when I know there’s pizza waiting for me at the end of a long run or workout. ;)

  11. Brook says:

    I read a great tip (on the Art of Manliness, whatever! Haha) to take a quick walk after 45 minutes of sitting to help stay fit, but also to fight lower back pain. It’s so hard to break away when you’re on a roll, but I know I feel SO much better after doing something. Mind, body, spirit!

  12. Alexa Sonken says:

    I totally get this. I always hated working out, except I love to dance. So I started doing Zumba and grew my desire to work out. I am now running almost everyday, and actually enjoying it! I like how it makes me feel and how it makes my clothes look ;)

  13. Brittanny says:

    I was pretty active when I was living in New York but now living in Rhode Island has kept me sitting at my desk for most of the time. I try to get out to walk the dog. I’m now dating a guy who is into bodybuilding so I’m hoping he drags me to the gym and gets me lifting some weights.

  14. Heather says:

    I was always active growing up, playing lots of sports. But as an adult I find it so hard to motivate myself to go to the gym. I’m not really a fan of the gym, so I try and get involved in classes. Spin is my favourite, by yoga and kickboxing is also great for some stress relief.

  15. JP says:

    This is an important lesson that I’ve learned the hard way. The past couple months I’ve fallen out of my workout routine. I used to run 5 days a week every afternoon (after being productive in the morning, I’m a morning person, strangely). Lately I haven’t worked out at all. I’ve definitely promised myself to get back into my routine when classes start again, though. (Also, I’ve been loving your illustrations to go along with this column!)

  16. Megan says:

    I totally agree with this. Whenever I feel stressed out or like I’m not focusing 100% of my creative attention on something, I go for a run. It makes all the difference! I tend to get the best ideas when I’m running, too. Something I never thought I’d do, I’ve never been a super athletic person (I’ve never even been in a team sport… whoops.), but I figure it’s never a bad time to start!

  17. Kelly Brito says:

    I absolutely suck for routines. But I was very active before and during college (running from 6 to 7, then working from 8 to noon, college from 1 to 9:30, then swim from 10 to 11 -all that happened at least 3 to 4 times weekly).
    During pregnancy, I put up 64lb -which I lost quickly with P90X.
    For the past 2 years I’ve been trying to find an exercise routine again, but have been failing miserably. So, 2 years working in front of a computer for hours and hours, with no exercise… I ended up putting about 45lb.
    So, yeah… need to find the motivation to start exercising asap! =/

  18. Katie says:

    I’ve never enjoyed working out or been very active, so it’s always been hard to get into a routine of working out. I know I need to though because sitting at a desk in front of a screen all day kills! So recently I’ve been taking long evening walks with my husband 2-3 times a week and doing yoga in the park once a week which has been so stress-relieving! Gotta start somewhere, right?

  19. jessie says:

    Love this post! People always think I’m crazy for doing long early morning runs (even before the sun comes out in the winter) but little do they know the REAL CRAZY would come out if I didn’t make that happen. I’m so evil and unhappy if I don’t exercise. I’ve even cut back on blogging/freelancing in-order to fit more time in for running. They say sitting is the new smoking so I’m really happy to see people in the creative profession being advocates for physical activity!!!!!

  20. Honestly, creating a good routine and just sticking with it is key but it can be hard with our ever changing schedules! I workout at least 4-5 times a week and make sure to add it to my calendar as a meeting so I feel like I have to do it! It WORKS! I often walk over lunch time too! I guess it helps that I work for Anytime Fitness Headquarters.

    When it really gets important is during the winter months where you don’t want to workout…you want to stay curled up in bed! Again, that is when you have to kick yourself and remember the benefits. And sometime it’s okay to stay curled up in bed ;)

    We have an awesome blog full of healthy living tips/workouts/recipes! Check it out if you want: http://anytimehealth.com/blog

  21. giulia says:

    that’s amazing! i feel that way a lot. i’m a synchronized swimmer, but this past year i have had ear problems and had to stop going to the pool. i started going to the gym, and especially in the stressful school exam weeks, i found myself going every day. it just kept me sane!

  22. Ella says:

    I used to run and exercise a lot in high school since I played both soccer and basketball. Now that I am in college.. it is a lot harder to work out until I decided to be a yoga instructor. I like a good 30 min of cardio and stretching with yoga sessions 4 to 5 times a week. Always helps stretch out tense muscles! Love your blog btw, I’ve been following it for a year now and decided to leave a comment now that I have a blog of my own. Your posts are very inspiring!

  23. Michelle says:

    I have a membership to the gym two blocks from my office. I head there at least 4x a week during lunch. I need to get away for that hour in order to save my sanity. I try to fit in yoga at the studio near my house when I have the chance, hit up the gym on the weekend when I’m in the neighborhood, and even workout in my house. Something is most definitely better than nothing, even walking the dog.

    I feel you on spending time playing Mario Kart. I felt like a pro! :)

  24. Amy says:

    Oh my track record in regards to keeping active is the same as yours… And currently I’m in a slump. I can’t remember the last time I went running, or did yoga, or went to the gym (no, I think that was maybe 2 months ago?). Yea, pretty bad. But I need those endorphins too, if you know what I mean. So thanks for the inspiration, Bre :)

  25. Carolyn says:

    I used to be a very active person. I was a dancer, played lots of group sports, but when it comes to just running or walking, it takes a whole heap of motivation to get me out the front door. I guess I just prefer exercising when it doesn’t seem like exercising? But I’m trying to change that, slowly but surely!

  26. Rachel says:

    I’ve found one thing to always be true: The times when I LEAST desire to work out are the times I need it MOST! This had a 99.9% guarantee rate for feeling better afterwards :)

  27. Julianna says:

    This is so true! I started regularly running (about 5 days a week) about two years ago and I realized after the first few months that it had a huge effect on my overall mood. I tend to be kind of an anxious person, but going for a run helps A LOT. Also since I work from home it’s also a good excuse to leave the house and be outside!

  28. Angel Y. says:

    I’m always looking for new ways to switch up my workout routine. I can never do the same things for too long. I’m hoping to start taking ballet classes and maybe start running. Yoga is still a huge part of my daily routine. I enjoy seeing where my body can take itself. I spent a lot of time in the past two year taking various group fitness classes so I work out much better in a group.

  29. Haley says:

    I’ve had troubles finding some sort of way to stay active also. Huge fan of swimming and being outdoors, but opportunities can be hard to come by. Running seems easy, but can get boring pretty quick. Already on the minimal gluten/dairy diet (thanks, digestive system), but have found a 30 day yoga challenge to follow and do whenever I like and definitely noticing some changes just after a week or so! You can do it anywhere, anytime, and any skill level :)

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