I don't know if leisure exercise is a "thing," but, if it's not, it should be and everyone should follow its plan. Strolling around Crane's Roost last night with Brylee, we were passed several times by a handful of individuals desperately panting for breath as they seemed to flail their way around the lake in pursuit of "fitness." Not even one part of it looked fun, and truthfully even they didn't seem convinced this behavior would become habit for themselves.
On our way back to the car, one individual took a "break" from his laps to curl dumb bells beside his truck. I'm no weight-lifting pro, but I'm pretty sure the ridiculous speed he pumped each one was doing only more harm than good. And the same goes for the determined runners: I find it hard to believe that any of them will achieve what they're after. Maybe they'll lose a few pounds if they have enough drive to keep them motivated, but even that is probably hoping for too much.
The times I've been tempted to sit and map out my ongoing "fitness routine," I stop myself to wonder what is actually my goal in exercising. I've rarely ever dreamed of being a marathon runner or an Olympic medalist, especially after starting a family. My goals have become a little broader and encompass aspects of an overall better life. My goals for fitness include keeping up with my children and eventually grandchildren; avoiding unnecessary hospital care; looking and feeling my personal best; staying relatively stress-free so I'm able to focus on and do for others; enjoying life; and passing these values and habits on to my family. An exercise plan that puts me reluctantly in a gym or in front of my TV or panting around a lake for an hour everyday (or feeling guilty when I don't) does not necessarily help me meet those goals.
Maybe I'm just making excuses to set low expectations for myself. But there's definitely something to be said of the people that can stay in shape without getting distracted by it. It seems more of a happened-upon result rather than the goal. So how is it done? By forming hobbies that involve activity and take place outdoors. By doing something everyday without getting caught up in the little details of miles and minutes. By choosing exercises that you can honestly say you enjoy. By keeping the family active together. By aiming for a well-rounded lifestyle that involves healthy foods and daily meditation.
This logic didn't feel like an excuse as I enjoyed a nice stroll with my daughter at the end of the day. Our method proved much more healing, fitness-inducing and habit-forming than had she been stuck in a stroller with me panting and mentally dragging myself around the lake. One builds community and puts me closer to my God-given purposes, while the other seems a little bit selfish. I choose the leisure exercise way.