Yesterday I took a hike with a friend for the first time in a long time. Neither of us had hiking boots but still managed the nearly hour-long trek through the woods. As I huffed and puffed, sometimes struggling to keep up with her, I was reminded of how out-of-shape I am.
I know that it's good to start slowly when you haven't exercised in a while. But sometimes spur-of-the-moment adventures are good too. Just remember to not push yourself too hard and to take breaks.
A recently published Taiwanese study (http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2011/08/16/exercise-physical-activity-15-minutes.html) found that getting 15 minutes of exercise per day is good for one's health and can extend the life expectancy of people who don't exercise.
While some people might argue that one should exercise for a longer amount of time, I think it's better than nothing. I confess, however, that I have a long way to go before I master the 15 minutes of exercise routine. I'm lazy. I haven't had a regular exercise routine in months. I have access to an elliptical but don't use it. I don't walk even half as much as I should.
Mind you, I'm proud of myself for having walked to a friend's house last week. I'll try to do that again tomorrow if the weather gods are on my side.
Also, I wouldn't mind taking another hike with my friend sometime soon. There's nothing like being outside in nature. The birds. The trees. Walking through the woods felt like being in another world. As we stepped over branches and rocks, I kind of felt like Frodo on his journey to Mordor. Of course, my lame joke about how we might find a dead body was the result of watching too much Criminal Minds.
So, take a hike, a walk, a bike ride or a swim... for 15 minutes. I'll try if you do.