Keeping Active by Finding What's Right for You

Written By Aileen Trang
Image of Aileen and her snowboard on snow
Aileen taking a break from snowboarding

To keep healthy.

To de-stress.

To increase my chances if I’m ever chased by a bear.

These are my personal reasons for staying active. You probably have good reasons for being active too. But sometimes having good reasons aren’t enough to stay motivated and stick to your routine.

I've always gravitated toward intense workout programs. You know, the kind that promise to triple your body weight with pure muscle in the shortest time possible and come with a diet plan all laid out. When I was on these programs I loved how healthy I felt, but I was miserable! The diet was very strict, the schedule was demanding and the exercises were very hard on my body. It was too easy to talk myself out of working out. Thinking about it now, I ended up being less active on the intense workout programs than when I was doing light exercises because I couldn't keep up. How ironic.

I also tried running and, at first, I hated it too. There is no greater punishment than putting me on a treadmill and telling me to run for a certain amount time or distance. Minutes would slow down. My fatigue became more intense and it was unusually difficult to run for 20 minutes. It made no sense! But I forced myself to do it because everyone – celebrities, athletes, my neighbours – runs on a treadmill.

But everything changed once I started training for an outdoor race. A friend suggested I train outdoors to get used to the terrain. It was the most amazing exercise experience I’d had! Shortly after, I realized I love running, but only outdoors and only at night. And if it’s raining? Even better!

From these experiences I’ve learned that the exercises and activities that work for others may not work for me. And sometimes it’s not the activity that’s the problem, but the conditions. Modifying an activity or changing the setting can make a big difference.

Most people find it funny that I'm so particular about when I run, but I’m glad I found something that works for me. It took me some time to figure it out, but staying active is easier when I have fun doing an exercise or activity that suits my lifestyle, interests and mood.