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After a weekend in the mountains camping and paddle boarding, I feel sore in parts of my body I forgot I had. It is absolutely wonderful to come home to a hot shower and have the temporary muscle ache as a reminder of my fun few days out in nature. Certainly a payoff for all the time spent preparing and packing the car for a few nights away, and then coming home and unloading all of that gear.

Growing up in Colorado, I have at times felt guilty about not getting out and enjoying the outdoors more often than I do. While some friends seem to be out doing something every weekend, I have gradually come to terms with the fact that isn’t who I am. When it comes to physical fitness, I am not an extremist. Though I like the idea of saying I am an “ultra-something,” I am also aware that set training schedules are not a natural fit for my personality. I enjoy my time at home, relaxing and working in my garden and then some hiking, running, and paddling as time permits.

For me, gardening, walking, and gym workouts are core to my active life. When I am consistent with this regimen, everything feels better—mentally, physically, and spiritually. Even though it is all too easy to make self-critical comparisons, we all have our own unique ways of being physically active. If you are moving and enjoying yourself, you are in the winning lane. My own sustainable combination of physical activity has shifted through life, and most recently I am reframing finding my activity sweet spot as a fun endeavor rather than a physician-directed chore. As my colleagues share below, some find great personal accomplishment in pushing oneself toward new physical goals, while others are ultra-content with a steady pace. The only approach that counts is the one that fits your essential values and personal definition of well-being.

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