I think that sometimes it's a balancing act to find out what works well for us personally. As I get older, I'm getting better at becoming more aware of what I need and listening to any timely suggestions from my environment or loved ones, my mood or my health.
It just occurred to me that currently I'm doing two things which are just perfect for me - regular meditation and exercise. I am like one of those breeds of dog that need exercise and kinda go a bit nuts without it. I enjoy the movement, how it makes me feel during and afterwards, and it definitely helps my mood and overall mental health. I purchased the 30 Day Shred workout DVD and some dumbbells, but unfortunately needed to take a break after picking up an injury at aikido. The idea is to do the daily workout for 30 days (hence the name), but I want to use it with other stuff to generally help me get fitter. My current plan is to use the DVD first thing in the morning five days a week, go for a run on another day and then one rest day. I may exchange one of the workouts for circuits instead at the weekend. I've just restarted doing the workouts (today was day two) and I am absolutely loving it.
As mentioned previously, I've been meditating on and off for quite a few years now and would recommend it to anyone. It's helped me so much, especially at difficult times in my life, and just seems to wonderfully benefit my general well being. I signed up to the 21-day meditation experience, Expanding Your Happiness, with Deepak Chopra and Oprah and today is day four of the free course. I've done it previously and really enjoyed it. Each day you receive an email with details and a link to login to that day's meditation. Each recording is about 20 minutes long, with an introduction by Oprah, followed by some further explanation and insights by Deepak and then a short meditation. I'm already noticing the benefits after just four days and will be carrying on with a daily meditation once the experience finishes.
On the face of it, I think that meditation and exercise can seem worlds apart. However, sometimes when I run or am working out hard, I experience a similar feeling to when I meditate as my mind isn't running to and fro on everyday trivia or worries. My muscles may be shouting at me or I may feel I just can't do another jumping jack, but I'm right here focused on what I'm doing, sweaty and mindful at the same time. I've gone for an early morning run with the sun shining on my face, a breeze on my back and felt like I could run forever. Turning into a movement with my partner in aikido, I accept the moment and wait for their balance to change, rather than trying to rush. Both meditation and exercise bring me into the present to help my mind and body, and I feel very grateful for the gifts and benefits that they continue to give me.