Daily essentials: Activity routines

Since I wrote about my rest and comfort routines, it only seemed fitting to write about the converse: my activity routines. Although I've never been sedentary, I didn't partake in organized sports in my youth. I danced for many years and marched in marching band in high school, but otherwise, I wasn't particularly accustomed to workouts or time at the gym. Now, as an adult, exercising as a routine is still a bit of a struggle for me. I've committed to pockets of discipline over the years, such as when I trained for a 10k and a half marathon, but nothing in terms of a gym routine has permanently stuck. All that said, I do try to sneak in a good bit of activity each week via other means.


  • My job. As a nurse, I do a lot of walking (albeit, a lot of standing too) at work. It's not cardio, but on an average day I walk at least 3 miles, and on a busy day, I might walk 5 miles.
  • Taking the stairs. I work on the fourth floor at work, and I take the stairs every day, up and down. Also, we live on the third floor of our apartment building, so that adds in a few more flights each day. As a rule, Nicholas and I generally opt for the stairs whenever possible, because why not?
  • Sunday night walks with Nicholas around our neighborhood. Conversation and activity together are a perfect way to start the week.
  • Yoga.* I try to do a session every day I'm not at work, and sometimes after work if I need to stretch before sleep. This is my favorite website for yoga videos.
  • Running, occasionally. It can be tough for me to be motivated, and I usually only make it out once a week or so, but pretty scenery at a park or a trail motivates me.
  • Hiking. I appreciate the lower impact of hiking, while still breathing fresh air and increasing my heart rate.

The gear:**

  • Well-fitting, supportive running shoes. My current pair are Brooks and they're my favorite running shoes I've ever worn. It's worth every penny to get a pair that fits well and it suitable for the shape of your foot. For walks, runs, and sometimes even errands.
  • Athletic sandals. Chacos are my favorite since they fit my feet well, but Teva has some good options too. A well-fitting, secure athletic sandal provides traction and is versatile enough for hikes with stream crossing. or to where while kayaking or tubing in the river, etc. I pretty much live in these in the summer.
  • A yoga mat. Mine isn't fancy—I bought it at Walmart in college and it still works for me.
  • My fitbit charge. It's not perfectly accurate, but it does get me off the couch on my days off, and it makes me more mindful of my sleep schedule.
  • Hydroflask water bottles These are our favorite, since they don't give off a metallic taste, and they insulate and keep cold water ice cold for hours in a hot car. We have the 18oz and 32 oz wide-mouth bottles.
  • Active clothing that I actually like. If it's cute and it fits me well, I'm more likely to wear it (and wear it for its intended use).
  • My phone: for music when I run in boring places, and google, to find new, exciting trails that I want to explore, and where hiking or running can be a means for exploration.

*I avoid overly spiritual yoga sessions. Instead, I choose practices that focus on balance/rest/strength and I filter out any questionable spiritual parts with prayer.

**With gear, I keep things simple — it makes staying active more doable for me.

But my main encouragement (to you and myself): Grab a friend (or your dog, or your spouse), hop in the car, drive somewhere pretty, and get moving.

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