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by Michelle Ward

March 1, 2009

When it comes to fitness, there are those of us who prefer a more structured approach and then there are those of us who approach fitness "in the moment."  In order to keep fitness fun, it is important to follow one's intuition or basic instinct.

The in-the-moment approach to fitness became clear to me when on January 28, 2009 Louisville, Kentucky was hit by the worst ice storm in its history.  All pools in the city were closed due to loss of electricity.   

I live and train here.  I saw it as an opportunity to get out there and be one with nature.  I layered up, put the leash on my dog and off we went for a 2-hour trek in the thick ice and deep snow.  Wow, what an exhilarating workout it was!

My senses awoke to the beauty that surrounded us.  Tree limbs were coated with a half-inch layer of ice then topped with 3 inches of snow.  It was one of those moments in life when I felt most alive and at peace.  Mother Nature had truly strutted her stuff.  I felt like I was on a natural high. 

Yes, my greatest passion is for swimming.  Nothing compares to the tranquility and intoxication derived from being in the water.  But for that day, when the pool was closed, the elliptical trainer, stairmaster, rowing machine and treadmill were silent, I was out exercising and feeling the energy Mother Nature gave me that day.  The experience was both spiritual and cleansing, which I believe is basically what each of us is after when we exercise.

I, for one, relish the solitude and free-flow of energy and creative opportunity derived from swimming. But for that day and for all the other days when swimming isn't an option, follow your untamed, native instinct and be in the moment. 

Exercising just for the love of it, for the joy and exhilaration it brings is only natural.  We are born to run, swim, hop, jump, wiggle, roll, dance, skip, spin and sweat.  So if Mother Nature hands you an ice storm or work keeps you so busy you only have few minutes to exercise, take a look around you and find an opportunity to exercise your passion in the moment.