Welcome to our final #WhyIExercise post for the summer series. It’s been a fun summer sharing! Please join me in welcoming our guest blogger, Aubrey Yeh. Aubrey is an Educational Technology Specialist in the Boulder Valley School District, in Boulder, Colorado. She been a 1st-12th grade orchestra teacher and 3rd-6th grade science teacher as well as summer school principal. Additionally, she is a Google certified educator and trainer. She earned her Bachelor’s in Music Education from University of Colorado - Boulder and Master’s in Educational Leadership from University of Northern Colorado. It’s an honor to share Aubrey’s journey. She can be found on Twitter @Ms_A_Yeh.
Let’s hear from Aubrey.
Growing up, my dad made sure my siblings and I were exposed to all kinds of sports. I played a bit of softball, but really settled in with soccer. It became a family affair - over the years, my dad coached all three of the kids in the family, so weeknights and weekends were full of getting us to different practices, games, and tournaments! I stopped playing my freshman year of high school to focus on music, but continued to follow and help out with my brother and sister’s teams.
For years after this, I didn’t really have any kind of fitness routine. At all. College was busy, practicing violin and being involved in my church ate up my time, and it didn’t get any better when I started teaching. Every summer, I would try to get into running (anything that was FREE sounded right up my alley!), but it wouldn’t take long for my allergies & asthma to catch up to me, and I would end up feeling completely sick for the whole day. I also tried a few different things during the school year, such as joining an indoor soccer team with friends, but I seemed to develop a talent for spraining my ankles, knocking me out for several weeks at a time. Needless to say, none of these routines ever lasted.
In the spring of 2015, I traveled to Kenya with a friend as a part of QJoy International for a few weeks to work with students with disabilities. This friend had a great fitness routine, and despite being in a different country, she was faithful in doing FitnessBlender videos. She finally convinced me to try one with her, and after we got home, I continued to look these videos up! I appreciated being able to complete them in the privacy of my own home and pause when I needed to slow my breathing down or take my inhaler.
That summer, I decided I needed to find something that would work. I swallowed my distaste of paying a rec center fee and started swimming. To my surprise and delight, it actually helped my allergies & asthma, and I felt better on the days I swam (a stark contrast from my running experiment)! That was the beginning of me keeping up a consistent routine. At first, I thought I would only keep it up during the summer, but three years later, I am still going strong!
Last year, when I moved from the classroom to a position that includes more time in the office, I decided to try running again. To my surprise, I had grown stronger, so it did not trigger my asthma and I actually started looking forward to it! I credit my success both the strength I gained from swimming and the fact that I learned how to breathe and pace myself better.
Honestly, when I started, it was mostly about losing weight and being healthy. While those reasons are still relevant, I find that it is more about doing something for me these days. As educators, we spend so much time pouring out to other people, and not enough time recharging ourselves! Exercising gives me the time to let my mind wander, and it often ends up being the best processing time I have!
My routine is to swim a mile three days per week, run 3-4 miles two days per week, and do some kind of strength training one day per week. I probably get at least five out of the six days in most weeks! I also enjoy going on random walks & hikes with friends when I get the chance.
Disclaimer: I am slow. I know I could work to improve my speed, but it’s really more about getting out there for me! I am a very goal-oriented person, and it’s somewhat freeing to not have hard-and-fast time goals for my exercise, but just to get out and do it!
This is one area I really should be better about - my commitment to eat healthy does not match my commitment to exercising, especially when ice cream is involved ;-).
I do find that, since I exercise before work, I am usually starving throughout the morning! This has caused me to shift my eating habits to a bigger breakfast & snacks before lunch, and fairly small dinners.
Exercising is a great way to start my day, even if it does mean waking up insanely early (my co-workers cringe at my 4am wake-up time). It gives me energy and allows me to start the day with a clear mind!
My team enjoys getting out on little walks during the day, but I find that I still crave more movement because I am not bouncing around my classroom all day!
Personal: One of my personal goals has been to be more honest with myself, as well as others. I have a hard time saying no, but I want to be more sensitive to where I am and when I need to take a break.
Professional: My team is making some changes to spend less time in the office and more time in schools. My goal is to really collaborate with teachers and spend good time with students!
Athletic: I have been thinking about doing some kind of a timed race in the future - I’ve never done one before! This might be a 5K, a swim & stride event, or a sprint triathlon!
I’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Aubrey for sharing her journey. Her focus on recharging, taking time for yourself, and being honest with yourself really resonate. As we embark on our new school year, let’s take Aubrey’s advice. Self-care and balance are just as important as the physical components of being fit. Thank you, Aubrey, for sharing and closing out our #WhyIExercise summer. You are a tremendous inspiration.
Be on the lookout for a new #WhyIExercise school year edition starting in September. Subscribe to the blog via email from the side bar subscription box. If you are interested in being a guest contributor, please fill out this interest form.
#MuchLove . . . Marilyn