"After I climbed a few times, I had a revolutionary realization: I didn’t hate it. It was different from any exercise I’d tried before, full of static motion and mental puzzles. I finished each session drenched in sweat, but it was a sweat that I had worked for, a sweat during which I had actually done things. It felt so much better than just running aimlessly. Simply getting to the top of the rock wall doesn’t sound all that amazing, and it wasn’t really. It was just something different, and something that has truly changed the way I feel about my body and my physical fitness."
"After college, however, I decided to hang up my tutu and pointe shoes, so nowadays I like to run for exercise, because it's cheap and makes me feel good afterwards. During the actual run, it's always a challenge to find songs and podcasts to listen to that will either distract me from the fact that running is boring, or motivate me to run harder. But, last winter, I put on The Nutcracker just for kicks, and it was exactly what I needed.
"Without exercise, I feel as though I don't have an outlet to release the stress and anxiety. The spin classes were the most helpful because I felt like I was able to zone out and focus my energy just on pedaling one foot in front of the other. I was able to find clarity."
"I run to enable myself to be present to my body. To pay attention to it, to clear out the cobwebs of daily stresses, to breathe life into my internal mental, emotional and spiritual spaces. And I am so profoundly grateful for this shift in posture because there was a time when exercise and running still smacked too much of the compulsion and control that led to disconnection for me. I feared I would never be able to use my body in an athletic way. I used to run to escape life. Now I run to embrace it."
"What I'm trying to do in my life now is not define myself or let Parkinson's define who I am. I'm just choosing to focus on other activities and family and friends ... and learning how to impact and possibly change and hoping to reverse some of the symptoms — and that's through [meditation] and reading and exercise and painting."
Photo Credit: Jaimie Baird
"In yoga, when you're in a challenging pose, you've got to surrender to it. If you get yourself worked up, it doesn't help. So you breathe and redirect your energy.
“I cycle because I live in London and so I use it as a means of transport. It’s really easy to nip around on a a bike. I’m not, like, a massive fiend committed to cycling every day but I do manage to do it. I cycle and I go to the gym to make myself feel good. Not to look the way someone else wants me to look."