Name: Karen Toews
Last year my husband and I moved from Alberta to Nova Scotia, where we're closer to family and enjoying discovering the Maritimes. Prior to our move I wrote a newspaper column, Fitness Matters; I am presently finding my writing stride here in my new home.
Where you live: Bridgewater, Nova Scotia
1. Did you participate in sports as a kid?
I grew up with three older brothers and a tomboy sister in a country neighbourhood of school friends and cousins. I played softball, football, hockey – and road my bike on dusty gravel roads to see my friends. All for fun. I was never involved in competitive sports, unless you count the annual school track meet.
2. When did your interest in health and fitness start?
When I got married I had a goal to always be able to fit into my wedding gown. My fitness routine then was mainly walking.
3. What does your fitness routine consist of?
Running, cycling, hiking, free weights, yoga, swimming.
4. Do you have a mentor?
My husband is my longest-running mentor/partner – in many ways!
5. What was the wildest activity you ever participated in?
As in physical activity, in high school I rapelled off a cliff – once. The most physically extreme was running a 56 km ultramarathon in South Africa.
6. What was your favourite activity? Why?
In the present tense, running is my first love, hands down. It makes me feel free and alive and creative. I never wear a headset because I want to hear nature, be aware of any traffic and as I flush my brain I can pray and plan and get inspired. Running gives me the biggest bang for the time I invest: and also gives me the most frustration when injury or age determines how much or little I’m able to do.
7. What was your least favourite activity? Why?
Two years ago a friend suggested we do a triathlon and although I was a poor swimmer, I readily signed up. I worked hard to improve, and did somewhat, but never enjoyed it. Last winter I gave it another eight-week chance; still no fun. Then – this summer while swimming in the lake with my grandchildren I put my mind into play mode. Voila! Change of attitude. Still, no more competitive swimming for me.
8. Who do you exercise with?
If with anyone else, most often my husband: my line is “I sleep with my coach.”
9. When do you exercise?
First thing in the morning is my favourite, but I like to exercise outside so have to work around the weather/daylight. It’s a priority for me, so I fit it in my day wherever I can.
10. Where do you exercise?
I live in the country and do most of my running and biking on wonderful trails and back roads. In the winter I run with friends on a beach about 20 minutes from our house. I do my weight work (the sporadic amount that it is!) in our basement.
11. What advice would you give to someone considering a change in their fitness routine?
Do something you like to do, set realistic goals, and don’t beat yourself up if you miss a beat in your schedule.
12. What would you recommend as the most useful fitness equipment?
Good running shoes.
13. What would you say is the most useless piece of equipment?
I use everything I have: running gear, a bike and a trainer (a stand) I put it on for indoor training, free weights, and a few other gym-related items.
Thanks for sharing, Karen!It's not too late to share. Email me at withinreach [at] nexicom [dot] net to ask for the questionnaire and I will send it to you.
Blessings on the road to health!