So, as we all know, getting our weight under control and leading a healthy lifestyle requires more than just eating right. Exercise is an important component to overall health. Are you a person who hates going to the gym? Me too! I was never comfortable in my own skin at the gym, exercising in front of strangers, undressing in front of strangers, sharing equipment with strangers…ok, you have figured me out, I don’t like strangers. 🙂 I have always been the type of person who enjoyed exercising by myself. It is my “me” time, my solitary time to think and dream and pray. My exercise time is almost like a meditation time for me…I can let go of all outside distractions and focus on just me. Back in the days when I used to jog, I never wanted anyone to go with me. I didn’t enjoy walking with a group or biking with others. However, I knew that I needed an exercise program after I quit going to the gym. For a while I used my kids wii and exercised along with that…there are some great programs/games for that. Then I used a Beach Body DVD to strengthen and tone for a while. It was a good program and I did see results. Then, unfortunately, I messed up my elbow and it required surgery. It has never fully recovered so I have to be careful what I do with it. Suddenly my DVD was out of the question, as was yoga, planking, weightlifting, etc. In the meantime we had adopted our puppy, Kumiko. She was full of energy and required multiple walks in a day. If she didn’t get her 3 miles in the morning, I would pay for it all day. Her behavior had a direct correlation to the amount of exercise she received. Low and behold, she had become my new gym. We walked every morning, at least 6 days a week. My husband took the evening walks. He often went to the gym so he could get in some weight lifting and then came home and walked her. We also discovered she was awesome on trails and started hiking with her. She really got us up and moving and out and enjoying the great outdoors. There are days when, if I was still going to the gym, I would have made an excuse not to go. For example, right now as I look out my window, it is sleeting down some freezing rain/snow mix. That would have been enough to keep me home. But Kumiko doesn’t understand excuses. She never gives me a chance to skip a day. She is a much better investment than a gym membership for me. She is my constant reminder that I need to move to stay healthy, and my constant companion on the journey to get there.