How many times have I heard from new clients, friends and family members: “I just can't seem to get myself motivated to exercise”? If this speaks to you, the problem is not the exercise but your mind-set. OK, I am going to be a little frank here, but what are you saying to yourself when you think about the dreaded e-word?

“It takes too long, I don't have time to go to the gym, I don't feel confortable around all those skinny-minnies and Arnold Schwarzenegger types at the gym, it's too hot, it's too cold. I don't like blah, blah, blah.” OK, at least I got your attention. Good, NOW STOP! Stop focusing on all the negatives and think about other things. Have you seen the movie Happy Gilmore? Then go your your happy place and see yourself doing fun activities. A couple of things you can do to get yourself going are to focus on the positives and find things you enjoy. Getting in shape does not require an expensive gym membership. It doesn't require huge blocks of time. It doesn't require running miles on a treadmill until you turn into a hamster.

When I'm hiking in the woods with Buddy, my beagle, I'm not focusing on exercise, but rather the enjoyment of being outside and all it has to offer. For example, last spring  while I was hiking in New Hampshire I really enjoyed the whole experince. The weather was perfect and there were no bugs. Along our hike we saw several interesting birds, some cute chipmunks scurrying about, really neat log cabins and post-and-beam homes tucked into the side of the mountain,  some trillium and other pretty spring flowers.  After that, who cares that I burned up a few hundred calories? Who cares if you look up one of those 'how many calories do you burn doing various types of activities' charts that hiking is listed among many of the traditional, often dreaded types of exercise? It wasn't just about the exercise, or that my heart and lungs said thank you, or that my glutes and leg muscles were getting stronger.

I often walk or cross-country ski in parks and through the woods. I meet interesting people at the gym and in my Fitting in Getting Fit classes. Besides the health benefits, I would miss so much more: the smell of freshly cut grass, the doe with her fawn in the woods, the red-headed woodpecker I spotted on a tree during an early morning run, the lone yellow lady slipper, the snakes that live in a hole in a tree at Borderland, the women working out at the gym next to me who whispered to her trainer “please create a workout so I can look like her,” the joy shown clearly on the faces of the women in my fitness classes when they discover they CAN do it, the time I spend walking, running and hiking with my friends and Buddy AND especially the first time I took Freddie hiking in one of the state parks and he was like a 5-year-old discovering a whole new world, climbing up big boulders and chasing Buddy up and down hills.

So here's my challenge to you. Think about what you can do that is fun and provides some exercise; open your mind to doing a little something that may not be as much fun, but from which you will clearly see rewards; then set some mini-goals, make a plan and JUST DO IT!