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Why I stopped working out
Arianne Brown decided to forgo workout schedules and carefully planned fitness regimens. - photo by Arianne Brown
Every single day, rain or shine, I make sure to get some sort of physical exercise in. However, you will not find me looking up workout routines or following any sort of an exercise plan. In the past year or so, I have made a conscious effort not to work out.

For years, I would get up early, look at what was on the workout schedule for the day, and for the next hour or two complete the task that was determined for me. And for some of those years, particularly as a high school and collegiate athlete, it was necessary because I was an athlete working toward a specific goal that needed to be carefully catered to.

And for many years following, my mindset remained the same. I believed that in order to stay healthy and in good physical shape, I needed to stick to a schedule that included carefully planned hill repeats, timed intervals on the track and a regular strength-training regimen.

I spent countless hours being a slave to the chronological clock and keeping track of how many push-ups I could do consecutively. I felt a sense of pride in what I was able to accomplish as I got stronger and faster. But I was also burning myself out.

The hours spent each day hitting times, putting on more weights and adding more reps was tiring me out physically and mentally for the remaining hours in the day. On days with hard workouts, I would find that completing daily tasks like doing laundry, vacuuming, doing yard work and even playing with my kids were difficult. And depending on how the particular workout went whether I hit my goals or not I would either be happy or completely bummed out the rest of the day.

Working out was simply not working out for me, and I needed to make a change.

As a mother of seven active children I already spent a good portion of my day lifting things, squatting down to pick things up and running around the house and neighborhood chasing kids. I was always moving, and I did not need to work out to stay in shape. In fact, I needed to stop working out in order to keep up with all that was required of me as a wife and mother.

So, I decided to ditch the watch and scheduled workout plans. I would still get out for runs purely for the joy of it. If I felt like running up a hill that day, I would. If I wanted to go fast, Id let it fly. If I wanted to go slower, or even hike up hills instead of run, I allowed myself the freedom to do just that.

After a few months of this, I wasnt feeling burned out or even out of shape. I was giving my body what it needed, and allowing myself the energy to complete important tasks at home.

The ultimate test for me, however, was not just completing, but placing second in an ultramarathon with a training regimen that consisted of daily household chores, walks with my family and time enjoying the foothills near my home without the worry of time or pace.

I still look forward to my daily physical exercise, but am no longer a slave to working out. And I can honestly say that things are working out quite nicely.