In a city like New York City, where space and times are luxuries, maintaining an exercise regimen is a difficult feat. Here, multi-tasking isn’t just an art, but the norm many continually strive to perfect. During lunch breaks, it’s not uncommon to run personal errands such as picking up dry cleaning, going to the post office or exercising. Initially, I found this baffling, but now it’s the sort of alluring mentality I’ve slowly adopted as I make New York my home.
When I recently started a new job where one of the perks is access to the company gym, I knew the logical thing to do was to maximize my time and resources. Most of the staff prefers working out at nearby gyms because they offer a variety of classes. However, I don’t enjoy taking classes. Besides being sparsely populated at nearly all hours of the day, it’s conveniently located right in my building, encompassing an entire floor. The gym was just built in October and is equipped with brand new cardio and strength training equipment, as well as a roomy shower and locker area. Because of how large and usually empty it is, the gym has actually become a haven for me when I want to relieve stress. Depending on my work load and social schedule, I alternate between sparse, but intense lunch break exercises or longer workouts after I’m off. The latter is especially tempting because not only do I beat the subway rush hour crowds, but once I arrive home, I’m free to lounge and relax. It took a long time, but I’m finally back to my old routine of about three or four workouts a week. On the weekends, I practice yoga or head to the park for a jog.
While I haven’t weighed myself, I can definitely see a difference in my physical appearance after three months. My skin is clearer and my face is firmer. My pants don’t fit as tightly anymore. I’m not as sluggish as I used to be when I wake up in the morning. I also feel happier because I feel healthier. I’m excited to start another day and have more energy. I take ownership of the fact that I’ve committed myself to a routine and am executing it. I’m even more aware of what I choose to feed my body. Instead of eating a whole cupcake meant for two people, perhaps I’ll have a mini cupcake. Or perhaps I’ll skip that option altogether and opt for something healthier, but still sweet, like a piece of fruit or a scoop of sorbet. I’m not obsessive by any means, but I’m more conscious of how small things like just walking somewhere instead of taking the subway can alter my life.
Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned through this experience is that while it can be extremely difficult to begin a consistent exercise regimen, it’s undoubtedly worth it. In New York, there’s never enough time to do everything in one day. We must create plans and follow through with them. While it was scary and uncomfortable to begin a physical routine again, my life has changed for the better.