The Art of Exercise: A refection on finding the creativity in an often boring area of life.

Exercise is essential for a happy and healthy life. A popular quote from an unknown author says, “Find three hobbies you love: one to make you money, one to keep you in shape, and one to be creative.” The idea of exercise coincides with a hobby, and once exercise is viewed within this lens, it becomes an enjoyment that is able to be pursued by various routes: in sports, the outdoors or in the gym.

Personalizing exercise is an art because it takes creativity and passion to pursue a plan. For me, exercise is a creative experience. When exercising, I am investing time into creating a better version of myself and investing time into my hobbies. My personal favorite methods of getting exercise vary by the time of the year.

During the summer, I enjoy surfing. To me, it is a creative experience. I learn more about myself in the water. I depend on myself to create a perfect ride; I have to assess the surf, decide when to paddle out and work towards improving my footwork for a perfect ride. The perfect ride is not something that merely comes, it is an experience that I have to create. When I am surfing, I am not thinking of the exercise I am getting. I am in a different headspace, solely focused on the water and chasing the adrenaline rush of a great ride.

During the fall, hiking is primarily my first choice method of getting exercise. There are so many beautiful places to hike within the area that it is something I have done every weekend. It is a great feeling to wake up early, hit up a Wawa for some snacks, then drive for miles to the perfect hiking spot and hike until it is dark. Hiking corresponds to creativity because I am inspired by the outdoors and nature. Crafting a perfect trail route is a creative choice because unfortunately, sometimes there are not enough hours to do everything when racing the dark. How I choose to tackle the trail is also a creative expression. I really love to climb, so oftentimes, if I see a particular large rock or scramble area, I am inclined to stop and scale that before I continue on the trail.

During the colder months in winter and spring, I usually keep my exercising primarily indoors until it gets warmer. Two of my favorite colder weather activities include indoor climbing and the gym. Indoor climbing is a creative experience because everyone climbs differently, due to differing heights of individuals and such. Recently, my husband and I have pursued belay certification, which is where we belay for the other: I handle the ropes as he climbs and vice-versa. There is definitely an art to belaying, whether it be tying the knots, feeling the rope tugs beneath or learning the belaying rhythm specific to your partner.

The gym is also one of my favorite methods of exercising because I feel there is a lot of freedom in it. I can personalize a workout, the weights are adjusted to me specifically and I have the creative outlet of putting in my earbuds and listening to music and my own thoughts. I can challenge myself physically and mentally by creating goals and working towards them.

If working out or getting exercise feels like a chore, take encouragement in the idea that you have the ability to be creative. Find a hobby that keeps you in shape and enjoy investing yourself in it. Not every method of exercise is enjoyable for everyone, but that is the creative beauty of it all. Take time to experiment; take a hike, learn a new sport, go dance– just find some way to move, be creative and enjoy!

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