Not to brag or anything, but our house has an entire room devoted to exercise equipment. In there, where once you could find a baby boy’s crib, you can now work out to your heart’s content, using a recumbent bike or an elliptical trainer while you watch a super HD TV on the wall.


Pick your choice of great videos offering to help you stretch or shred, strengthen your core or washboard your abs.

We’ve even got those multi-colored band thingies, hand weights in various poundages, yoga mats and blocks, jump ropes and balls. Finish off with a soothing tilt on the inversion table.

Know how often I use that room?

That’s right. Never.

I hate exercise. HATE it. Inside, on a machine, every mile feels like an endless death march. My daughter used to have hamsters, who frantically rode their Wheel to Nowhere all night, every night. When I’m on a treadmill I know exactly how they felt.

hamster on wheel istock

My rejection of the home gym drives His Highness crazy. The great guy single-handedly set up that room, buying the awesome TV as a Valentine’s Day present, the shred video as a Mother’s Day present, the recumbent bike as a “so sorry you broke your foot” present… And, after all, he has to look at my backside more often than I do. A writer’s life can really turn that thing into a cushy lump the approximate size and shape of your desk chair’s seat.

But I can’t help it. I hate indoor exercise. Luckily, I love to walk—and I’m averaging about four-five miles these days. Even when it’s hot. Even when it rains. Outside, everything is different. Walking in the park, by the lake, or just around the neighborhood, doesn’t feel like exercise at all.

sybelia park dock to lake

It feels like a visit with the best psychiatrist in town. I meet neighbors, and, even better, their dogs. I’m soothed by water and wildlife. I see stately herons in the daytime and mysterious owls at night.

bird at lake

my new owl friend

Squirrels whirl around tree trunks, cardinals trapeze between houses, and each season brings a new set of flowers from my green-thumb neighbors. Right now, the crepe myrtles are filled with blooms that look like soft-serve strawberry ice cream cones.

crepe myrtle commons

I listen to books on tape, great writing that surely will improve my own pages, right? I just finished Elizabeth Gilbert’s “The Signature of All Things,” and Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.” (Note: Don’t listen to “Dracula” at night…even Greg Wise’s gorgeous voice won’t keep that darling retriever on the next street over from looking like an ominous wolf.)

Some nights, I put on my iTunes playlists and let music propel me along. I consider every fast song a challenge to be met. Right now, Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” is my favorite. To the neighbors who see me during those eight minutes, I apologize. I get a little carried away, and it’s probably not pretty.

In short, I’m having so much fun out there I forget it’s something I should do. And even when my Fitbit (a nifty wristband tracking my steps …which I learned about from one of our own JQs!) buzzes, alerting me I’ve reached my goal for the day, I don’t head for home. One more block. One more mile. One more chapter with Greg Wise whispering in my ear.

"A Cock And Bull Story" UK Premiere - Arrivals

How about you? Can you bring yourself to use the exercise equipment in your house? Do you go to a real gym? How do you keep it from being boring?

Inside or out, what do you listen to? Any recommendations for inspiring walking songs, or must-hear audio books? I’d love to hear what works for you!

I’ve been inexcusably slow announcing my winners from my Here Comes The Dress blog–my apologies all around! The winners, chosen at random, are ROCHELLE and ADA. Ladies, if you’ll contact me privately at and give me your Kindle loading addresses, I’ll send you THE SUBSTITUTE BRIDE asap!


20 thoughts on “A Breath of Fresh Air

  1. I’m with you, Kathleen! I’d much rather be outside than in when it comes to exercise. That’s why I embarrass myself by running, I guess. “Oh, look, a ducky!” It takes my mind off the pain and misery. : )

    1. Kathleen Kathleen says:

      Absolutely right, Kristan! I’m going to die, my lungs have seized up, call an ambulance…DUCKIE!

  2. Shana Galen Shana Galen says:

    I don’t like working out inside, as evidenced by the fact that I’ll wake up at 4:30 a.m. 3-5 times a week and go to boot camp, which is outside. Right now, it’s like 75-degrees and soupy in the morning. In the winter, it was in the 20s a couple of times. But I do it, and I don’t get bored outside.

    1. Kathleen Kathleen says:

      Shana, I’m speechless. FOUR THIRTY? You are, without doubt, the Queen of Self Control.

  3. GayleC says:

    Hi Kathleen, Maybe you husband can get a writing desk for one of the pieces of exercise equipment? Then you could write while getting some light exercise. I do agree that walking is best, and I love knowing each and every doggy face in the neighborhood.

    1. Kathleen Kathleen says:

      Gayle, that’s a good idea. If he did, I could write…or, more likely, check the internet… 🙂 But it is true, isn’t it, that knowing the neighborhood dogs is great fun? Recently, a guy moved out of our neighborhood, and while I’m sorry he’s gone my real loss is his darling golden retriever, who always met me on my walks and always acted as if my arrival was the highlight of his day. We greeted each other as if we’d feared we would never meet again. The walks seemed oddly flat for a long while after his departure!

  4. Quilt Lady says:

    I feel the same way as you. I have a bad hip and was walking about every day. The doctor told me to ride the exercise bike because it would be better for the hip. I hated it. I did use the bike back in the winter when we had a lot of snow but I still hated it. I would rather walk two mile then ride that thing. I decided the bike hurt my hip more then the walking so I started walking again but now having a lot more problems with the hip. Go back to doctor on Tuesday and see what he has to say now. I listen to music while I walk.

    1. Kathleen Kathleen says:

      Oh, Quilt Lady, I’m so sorry about your hip! How frustrating! I do so hope there’s something the doctors can do to make the pain go away. We don’t have snow down here in Florida, obviously, but there are some August nights so stifling and hot that I might be tempted to use the exercise equipment. Instead, I just walk later in the evening and arrive home in a puddle. 🙂

  5. JoannaM says:

    Now I know I’m not alone. I cancelled my gym membership and got myself all the equip for a solo yoga session at home but ever since I did that I stopped doing it altogether. I think I just need the motivation of people around me to keep doing it. Otherwise I’m too lazy to get everything out and then put it all up when done. Or maybe I’m just lazy. Period. LOL

    1. Kathleen Kathleen says:

      Joanna, I know exactly what you mean. It feels too much like punishment to be cooped up all alone in a room while you torture yourself. And I’m always fighting the indolence factor, so I need all the incentive I can find!

  6. Hey! I just got a Fitbit, too! The Norwegian got it for me as an anniversary present — at my request, mind you. It wasn’t an unromantic not-so-subtle hint on his part. 😉 I’m with you. I love walking. When sister JQ Cindy and I were in NYC for Book Expo America, we walked 13 miles one day. Yeah, I’m just now recovering. 😉

    1. Kathleen Kathleen says:

      Nancy, that’s great! They’re oddly fun, aren’t they? And I did read about your 13-mile day! Incredible! I was wiped out just thinking about it. My five push me to the outer limits! And of course the Norwegian wasn’t hinting anything. He’s too great a guy, and you’re too gorgeous! 🙂

  7. Alyn says:

    I used to do it at home. So much more peaceful than at the gym where I would have to wait for someone else to get off and have to wipe down the equipment before using it too.

    1. Kathleen Kathleen says:

      Hmmm, Alyn…you make the gym sound pretty icky…put like that, I see your point! And I can at least be certain that, around here, the only thing I’d have to wipe off the seats is the dust! 😉

  8. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:

    I love my Fitbit Flex!! And, like you I love to walk.

    The gym is a favorite of mine too…because there’s something about having all those people around you who are into fitness. I work out with a trainer twice a week for 30 minutes, too. You may want to give that a try.

    1. Kathleen Kathleen says:

      Cindy, I have been thinking about the trainer route, if only to get a little variety into the exercise. I have the legs of a walker, but the upper body of an Idaho potato, so something has to balance things out! 🙂 You’re my Fitbit inspiration, and I really am enjoying it!

  9. Mia Marlowe Mia Marlowe says:

    We have a treadmill in the office, but if it isn’t “melt-your-face-off” humid outside, I’d rather take the dog for a walk.

    1. Kathleen Kathleen says:

      Hehe, Mia–the “melt your face” heat/humidity and I are well acquainted. It can turn you to mush in no time.

  10. Ada says:

    I don’t mind running but I don’t have a treadmill. I keep saying I want to get one but then I don’t have the money for it because I need something else more. And I hate running outside lol

    I’m excited I got picked as the winner for your other blog! I sent you an email, Kathleen! 🙂

    1. Kathleen Kathleen says:

      Ada, I can relate. I thought about trading the recumbent bike for a treadmill, but we discovered that a decent one is crazy expensive. Given that I probably wouldn’t use it anyhow, it seemed absurd to spring for it. Why do you hate running outside? Is it the weather? The uneven ground? I’ve sent you a note about the other contest, so be sure to check your email!

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