NPR

From Couch Potato To Fitness Buff: How I Learned To Love Exercise

Creating an exercise habit doesn't mean you have to spend hours sweating on a treadmill. Start small, build up slowly and remember that all movement counts — even vacuuming, if you do it vigorously.
"Feeling better isn't just this selfish, hedonic thing — it actually is fuel. I consider energy from taking care of yourself as essential fuel for the things that matter most in our lives," says Michelle Segar, a psychologist at the University of Michigan who studies how we sustain healthy behaviors like exercise. Source: Saviour Giyorges / EyeEm

I have become the type of person that used to mystify me. I ... am a fitness fanatic.

That was certainly not the case a year and a half ago. Back then, like a lot of Americans, I was mostly sedentary (unless you count walking to meetings). Which is ironic, because, as a senior editor for NPR's science, food and health team, it is literally my job to know better. But, with two small kids, a full-time job and recurring insomnia, I didn't have the time or energy to work out. And I'm not going tell you how much I used to weigh, but it wasn't healthy.

So what changed? For starters, I reframed what I thought of as exercise.

"The research does, a psychologist and director of the University of Michigan Sport, Health and Activity Research and Policy Center. She studies how we sustain healthy behaviors, and she says one big stumbling block for people is that they fail to take advantage of the exercise opportunities they can build into their daily lives, like taking the stairs or walking to work.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR2 min read
Ukrainian President's Party Wins Snap Elections In Bid To Consolidate Power
President Volodymyr Zelensky, who gained fame by playing a fictional president on television, hopes a new parliament will give him the clout to follow through on his promise to tackle corruption.
NPR3 min read
Equifax To Pay Up To $700 Million In Data Breach Settlement
The credit reporting agency will pay up to $700 million in fines and monetary relief to consumers over a 2017 data breach that affected nearly 150 million people.
NPR2 min readPolitics
Hill And Trump Administration Close In On 2-Year Budget Deal
The two-year deal to set spending levels and raise the debt limit would end a decade of roller coaster fiscal standoffs in Washington. Speaker Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin are finalizing it.