Everyone tells you that exercise is good for you, that it does all sorts of great things for your body and mind. I’ve never been one to exercise except when I have to. You see, I was your typical bookish nerdy kid who was never good in P.E, got made fun of, and generally despised physical activity with my peers. Run a mile? Are you kidding? I could barely run a minute! Gym class was torturous, as we never actually trained to do anything - we just did it. No idea how to play soccer, or what the rules are? That’s ok, no one else does, and there are balls, kicking, and running involved. Uh-huh. My peers were a bit envious, however, when I was able to skip out of weeks of swimming due to my ear issues.

I’d always loved two wheels, however, and in my adult years, discovered biking to work in SF a pretty convenient and enjoyable commute. I’ve gone through a few bikes, and now have one that I love riding. Since I left my job last month, I’ve made it a point to go for a walk, bike ride, or (gasp!) a jog every day just to get out of the house. What I’ve discovered is not only do I like exercise, and miss it when I don’t get it, just a little bit of time outdoors and exerting myself a bit works wonders for my mind. It’s really the only chance I have to let my mind wander and defocus without getting distracted. That is, if I bike, run, or walk on known to me paths. If I know where I’m going, if I have a destination, I can really do some great pondering. It’s also great for ruminating on problems and questions that I might have, without really even thinking about them. The answers, or pathways to answers, just pop up seemingly out of nowhere.

Running and walking are especially effective for this. I’m usually concentrating on the rhythm and breathing of my body, and as I am often alone, can conjure a clear-headed and zen-like state with my mind. It’s close to meditation for me, and damn, what a great stress reliever.

I start Hackbright next week. I’m excited, and even have a few ideas courtesy of my new exercise routine. I’m hoping I’ll have the time and self-discipline to keep jogging, as I’m unexpectedly enjoying it. And coffee? I’ll have no problem sticking to that habit.