I’ll be the first one to admit that in the past year I have not been nearly as active as I could or should have been. It’s kind of a chicken or the egg question as to why I haven’t been active very much in the last year. I will be totally transparent and say that my mental health has gone through peaks and troughs the last year, and while I’ve been better at managing the troughs, it can be incredibly hard to motivate oneself to leave the house and exercise, even if you know moving your body is exactly what could be exactly what your mind is craving so desperately (depression is a funny thing, ain’t it?). I will also add, that outside of all of the mental barriers, I’ve found it really hard to find a form of exercise that I was genuinely excited by. I swam for almost a decade as a kid and went on to compete all four years of high school, there was nothing I loved more than swimming, and in terms of a workout, it’s a damn good one. I continued to swim here and there in college on my own because my college luckily had an incredible pool at the rec center, but I never found it as fun to swim by myself as I did when I was in high school on a team. I am a very goal-oriented person and working out just for the sake of working out is very hard for me to do.
I have done yoga on and off for the past four years or so and do love it, but sometimes doing yoga at your home can be too easy to get out of. I especially am guilty of making up excuses as to why I can’t make time for exercise, but if I’m beholden to a class or membership that I’ve spent my hard-earned money on, I’m far more likely to motivate myself to find the time to exercise. I was very consistent about doing yoga in my last couple years in college, but my love for the practice has definitely waned in the past couple of years.
In the last month or so I have started climbing at our local climbing gym, and it’s honestly been a huge game-changer for my mental health and my perspective on fitness as a whole. A little over a month ago, Brad and I were on a ski trip in Tahoe with our families, and on one of the last nights we all watched Free Solo, the documentary about Alex Honnold making the first free solo attempt of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I highly recommend that you do, I mean it did win an Oscar after all. Now I will say that I have absolutely no desires to climb a 3,000’ granite wall without a rope, ever, but there’s something about that movie that really lit a fire under me to live a more intentional life and pursue a more outdoors-driven life (something that has been important to me ever since I was a kid, but has slipped away in the last few years living as an adult in a big city). It also, not so surprisingly, motivated me to start rock climbing.
I wasn’t completely new to the sport, as I had dabbled in it in high school and my uncle, who I am very close to, has been an avid rock climber for the better part of his life. Brad has climbed for the last few years, and over the last six months or so has gone consistently several times a week. I decided to join him for a bouldering session a month ago on a random Sunday morning and have been hooked ever since. Rock climbing is no joke when it comes to full body workouts, but there’s something in the process of climbing, figuring out problems, overcoming fears, and taking risks that makes it far more rewarding to someone like me than yoga or swimming ever was. Now that’s not to say I won’t ever do yoga or swim again, in fact it’s quite the opposite, I am more motivated to be more active in general and that means incorporating more yoga and other forms of exercise to supplement climbing. I have been going climbing (doing both top rope and bouldering) at least twice a week, and it’s been so nice to finally feel like I want to go to the gym and exercise and feel present and good with my body for the first time in a long time. Who knew that I would find exercise that would also become a hobby!