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The Exercise That Has Helped Me Survive 2020

How to Stay Healthy by popular Florida lifestyle blog, The Modern Savvy: image of a woman wearing 'believe' and 'show up' stack bracelets.

Over the last couple of years I’ve really focused on developing a healthier, appreciation-driven relationship with my body. It hasn’t been easy. For far too long I connected my self worth and beauty from the number looking back at me on the scale. Why? It’s toxic behavior, and awful and simply not OK. We are so much more than that. Which is why today I wanted to share how to stay healthy during 2020.

How to Stay Healthy During 2020

I stopped regularly weighing myself, stopped eating lower cal foods, using fake sugars and only eating lame 100 calorie snacks that left me hungry. I started eating more real foods, and fueling my body and mind in ways that made me feel good. And yes, this includes nachos and margaritas. I love nachos and margaritas so, so much.

I also focused on exercises that brought me joy, and ones that made me feel strong. So many people (maybe you) are spinning fanatics. I find it excruciatingly horrible. LOL, like I legit also don’t get the Peloton hype. I stopped pretending I was into spin classes, and discovered what I do love: hot yoga, running, and workout classes and sessions that included weights. In my late 30s, I couldn’t believe I started seeing muscles form; something I previously chalked up to not being my body type.

Over the past couple of years, I realized something about cardio, and running in particular. For me, it’s as much for my mental sanity as it is my physical health. Maybe more so. I loved feeling my heart rate increase, often just a mile or two on the treadmill with walking mixed in made such a difference.

Then this pandemic hit. My little neighborhood gym closed, hot yoga classes weren’t an option and neither were other local classes I loved.

Our world changed in an instant. We couldn’t go anywhere, emotions were high, our futures unknown. School, work, even how we’d wipe our tushes. Freaking toilet paper. It was all so stressful.

I needed to do something, and nightly glasses of wine clearly weren’t the answer.

I hadn’t run outside in years. Partially because I live in Florida and it’s often a million degrees, and also because no joke, I have major pee anxiety. Treadmills in gyms make it nice to be near a potty. 😉

I put a little fear aside, laced up and just starting putting one foot in front of the other. It felt so good… for my body and my brain.

And then someone told me a local fitness instructor was leading a free virtual run club in April with a 50 mile goal, and I impulsively signed up. The miles sounded daunting but what else was I doing besides binge watching Tiger King and organizing every drawer in our home? Let’s not pretend I had somewhere else to be.

Like with anything, we make time for what we want to make time for. Carole Baskin and the cast of Love is Blind didn’t need any more of my attention.

Stepping outside, away from feeling trapped in a quarantine has been powerful. Breathe in the air, feel the ground under your feet, see the beauty around you, smile and feel connected to others doing the same, and sweat out the stress.

Seriously, I’m convinced the sweat pouring out of me (attractive visual, I know, you’re welcome) is all stress. It’s stress and anxiety leaving my body.

Running is like life: we simply have to put one foot in front of the other. We don’t even need to know our final destination when we start. We just need to start. We’ll figure the rest out along the way.

Running also showed me I was wrong. And I LOVE that so much. I can run a bit further than I thought, even if it’s just 10 more seconds. I am capable. We all are. Running is such a mental exercise, and when you prove yourself wrong when running, you remind yourself you can do the same in other areas of your life. Where else do you likely not give yourself enough credit for your strength and capabilities? Put that fear and negative self talk aside.

After I completed the 50 miles, readers here said they’d join if I created a virtual run club. So I did. And, amidst a really stressful, uncertain time, we have created the most incredible community of phenomenal women (and a few men!) who are pushing themselves each day, who are sweating out the stress, who are moving their bodies, taking time for themselves, and are proving to themselves… they can.

This girl who basically never worked out for the first half of her life, is now in some alternate universe — thank you 2020! — leading a virtual run AND WALK club Modern Savvy Moves for hundreds of women each month. Seriously, 20-year old me can’t even comprehend this.

I never thought I’d love running, and now my body — and my mind — craves it. I lace up my shoes, crank up some awesome music, sweat like a beast and return home lighter and more confident in myself.

How powerful is that in just 30 minutes?

Running, with plenty of power walking mixed in, has helped me and I know so many others survive this pandemic, this season of stressful unknowns and uncertainties.

You are in charge of the destination, the time, what your body needs, and what you listen to — including nothing except the peaceful sound of the breeze, birds and cars. You prioritize yourself, maybe you reflect on your waves of emotions, perhaps you jam to music, listen to a motivational podcast or virtually walk and talk with a close friend in another state.

This is a really intense time. Don’t diminish that. My emotions are all over the place. While I aim to live a life filled with gratitude, there’s frustration, anxiety, stress, joy, love, worry and fear all mushed together, with different percentages of all of those at any given moment. Some days our new reality really hits me hard. Some days I barely think about it.

Feel your emotions, don’t be afraid to say this really sucks or that you’re struggling, and then own it. We are the ones in control. Never forget that. Think how you can create little joys in your life.

As running has taught me, we just need to start, and put one foot in front of the other. We’ll figure out the rest along the way.

Do you have any tips or questions about how to stay healthy? Let me know in a comment below!

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