By Leota Harriman

One thing that I’ve done successfully in my journey to better health and fitness—but not consistently—is planning. My new plan is to be consistent. I’ll admit to some tiny part of me who would like to let the seemingly oxymoronic nature of that assertion stall me while I ponder its meaning, (and maybe my whole philosophy of life while I’m at it) before I get on with the business of taking care of myself properly.

But no. I have decades worth of shirking on self-care, and if I want to have a good quality of life now and in my later years, getting lots of exercise and eating right is necessary. The inner “I don’t wanna” has had her day. The only issues remaining center around implementation—which brings me back to planning.

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Special thanks to all of you who joined us in Edgewood’s Run, Rally, Rock parade Saturday for dancing in the streets in the name of being perfect just the way we are. Photo by Angelina Rose Lane.

I’ve noticed that when I take the time to look at my schedule and plan for what workout to do and when, I do a better job sticking to that commitment. Getting into classes or working out with a buddy also really help me a lot with that, and makes it more fun, too.

There are gyms in Edgewood, Cedar Crest, Tijeras, Moriarty, and undoubtedly others I don’t know about. And there are classes all over the place. The prices are pretty reasonable (in the neighborhood of five bucks a class) and just about everybody offers their first class for free, and multiple-class discounts.

That gives me the flexibility to take advantage of lots of different classes, and this week I’m working on a plan for how to mesh them together.

Advice from fitness experts says that changing your workout increases the effectiveness of that exercise for losing weight and gaining overall physical fitness. It also keeps working out from getting stale and boring.

When my youngest child leaves home for college in a week, for the first time since I was 20 years old, my needs, and not the needs of my children, will determine my schedule. The time is ripe for the kind of lifestyle changes that will take my goals to the next level.

My schedule is demanding and unpredictable. But the plethora of class offerings will make it easier to squeeze them in around my other commitments. If I miss one, I can make it up with another.

So here’s my plan. On Sunday evenings, I will look at my schedule for the upcoming week, and plan where and when I’ll work out, fitting those workouts in around my job. I am extremely lucky to have the flexibility in my work to do that—it is one of the best perks of being the boss.

In coming weeks I’ll be trying out a Zumba class, an Insanity class, an Essentrics class, and other fun activities to write about in this column. I welcome suggestions, too.

Key to this is planning—and I mean concrete planning, not a nebulous intent-to-perhaps-think-about-the-concept-of-an-idea-about-maybe-okay-I-need-to-plan planning. I mean deciding I will lift weights for an hour or run a mile, rather than saying to myself, “I need to do strength training and cardio.” I mean writing down a time, location and what I’ll be doing in my calendar book, the thing I call The Book That Runs My Life. If I write something there it tends to get done.

Planning for exercise in the same way I plan for meetings and events I need to attend as a reporter gives that self-care as much importance as I give to my job. It elevates taking care of myself to a high priority, the stuff I write down, the stuff that has to get done. I like that.

Now I have to put my money where my mouth is. I planned to go to a Zumba class tonight at Alta Mae’s in Edgewood, but I left my house this morning without my sneakers. I decided I would have an exciting enough time with Zumba when my two left feet are not wearing flip flops, so I changed plans and headed home to work out instead. Now it’s time to follow through, and keep my promise to myself. My health is worth it.

If you have a great story of getting fit and healthy, I’d love to feature it here. What do you do for fun and to get exercise? Get in touch with me at or 505-286-1212, or join the conversation on Facebook in my group, “I’m Losing It!”