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Is Exercise In Your DNA?

    Some people are born with the exercise gene. They’re inclined to stay fit, and find time to move their bodies no matter what circumstances show up in their lives. These are often the ones who set the alarm clock super early to get their run in before work. Or they’re at the last spin, clinching their ride before the day is done.

    Then there are the people who don’t feel the urge to exercise — they know it’s healthy, and would like to do it, but a busy schedule makes it too difficult to fit in. Waking up early isn’t do-able and an evening class will never happen after a full day of depleting energy.

    While I totally understand how exercise can get neglected, it’s in my DNA — so it’s part of who I am. When I don’t get my workout in — whether it’s a run, a bike ride or yoga (which does count as exercise) I get cranky, especially if it goes more than two days.

    Not to throw him under the bus, but DH — he doesn’t have the exercise gene. He likes the idea of working out, and the results it can bring, but he has little time for it. With a full time gig, and as an involved dad, his hours are limited to spend at the gym. In the summer, when our schedules lighten up he’s been known to hit the East River for a run semi-regularly. I see the effects when he’s in exercise mode –he feels more positive, and is encouraged to keep at it. But once the schedule tightens up, the first thing to go is his run.

    For someone who has the DNA of exercise, they find the time to workout no matter what — they build it into their schedule.

    I’m freelance, so I never had to deal with fitting my fitness into a 40 hour work week at the office. I’ve always had the luxury of taking a 12pm class — if I so choose. (I actually prefer to get it in and over-with first thing.) But I do work, and it can get really hectic around here with work, kids and household stuff. And this is when exercise matters the most. When my stress levels rise, I rely on my workout to keep me sane.

    If I have a shoot that starts at 7am and goes until 7pm — okay, I admit, it’s tough to find time to exercise. When this happens, I’m back in class the first day my schedule relaxes. I recently worked on a job with a woman who clearly has the exercise gene — our start time was 7am, and she would show up freshly showered with her workout behind her. She was hitting the gym at 5am! Thankfully, I don’t work 12 hours a day, every day. And honestly, I don’t know how anyone who works 12 hours a day, every day, has time for anything other than work. But this woman (who was easily working 12 hours a day) showed me — nothing can come between her and her exercise…she built it into her schedule, even if it meant a 5am start.

    Someone like DH, who doesn’t have the DNA of exercise has to work twice as hard to fit it in. It’s kind of an uphill battle that requires a lot of strength and support. We’re figuring out some adjustments in our schedule so he can get back to his runs sooner than summer. For someone else — this may be the perfect opportunity to workout at home — either streaming an online class, or with a DVD.

    Most of our lives are already full with little time to add something else. But once you start building exercise into your schedule, you won’t want to leave it out — whether you’ve got the gene or not.

    Do you have exercise in you DNA?

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    10 thoughts on “Is Exercise In Your DNA?”

    1. girlgatheringwisdom

      Exercise per se was never in my DNA until I found dance classes. I still have to push myself out the door. I have the advantage of having time to attend without difficulty. What I try to remember most to be disciplined to go to class is the SMILE I have when the class has ended. I’m a lucky girl and I know it.

    2. GGW, finding the RIGHT activity is essential! I also love dancing. And yes, remembering the smile / benefit also works as a good motivator. Thank you!

    3. SirenaTales

      Elysha, Not sure I have the exercise DNA, but I LOVE to move, as you know. Dancing tops the list, but also walking, swimming, bodysurfing, bicycling, yoga…and used to love tennis and cross-country skiing. The feeling during and after? THE. BEST. Yay you for getting your honey time to fit his run in–so important for all of us. Rock on. xoxo

    4. EXercise gene huh? Maybe 🙂 I know what you mean – my boss definitely has the exercise gene – she looks fit and muscular, even though I cannot imagine where she fits it in. I definitely don’t – I only run if something is chasing me :). I get up at 5 to write rather than run :). But…I do have a good yoga practice – I do yoga 4 or 5 times a week either at home or in class, and at 38 I am stronger and fitter than I have ever been. Yoga is so holistic – it gives me a workout on lots of dimensions – so I kind of feel like I’m hitting two birds with one stone ;). And my back needs me yo do you yoga, so I can’t stop when I get busy. Lucky 🙂

    5. ST, I know you love to move! And I agree with you – it’s that feeling during and after that keeps us coming back for me. For me, ultimately it’s the connection and clarity I get from moving my body which gives that feeling. Thank you for sharing your insights. Love having you here!! x x

    6. Haha — I made up the exercise gene! It’s something I’ve noticed in people — like maybe your boss. Or the woman I worked with who hit the gym at 5. And in myself. It’s a compulsion to move the body on a regular basis. And yoga absolutely falls within this realm of movement. I’ve seen people without the gene exercise regularly, but I think it’s just harder for them to keep at it. I agree that yoga is like hitting 2 birds with one stone…a workout for the mind + body. But I get that same workout in running as fact, most of my compulsion to move my body is to still my mind! Thanks, Sara. xo

    7. I appreciate the understanding you show DH. Yes, without the gene he has to work twice as hard to fit it in – and it sounds like that for someone who’s not born with it, he certainly does try. I have utmost sympathy for him. I was born without a trace of the DNA – nada, zilch, BONK – and as a homeschooler with a DIY schedule have great trouble squeezing that baby in. I admire people like you who are hungry to stay fit.

    8. I hear you, D — it’s hard to fit it all in! Is there any way you could sneak some exercise into your day? Take the parking spot furthest from your destination? Stairs instead of elevator. Or even run up and down your stairs (do you have stairs in your house?) when you have to use them. Maybe just by being aware you’ll start to pick up the pace. Though I imagine with a lil one in your home, it’s not exactly a sedentary lifestyle you’ve got going on over there…

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