Narmin Virani is one of our incredible dietitians here at the Weight Center. If you know her, you have experienced her mindful and calming approach to eating. She brings that same presence to keep herself moving, and reaps what she sows from exercise.
What do you currently do for exercise?
I love walking outdoors in the spring, summer, and fall. I try to do this three to four days a week if I can. I love hiking on weekends. I have also been getting into gardening seriously over the last few years, and love it! I think of it as exercise for the body, mind, and soul, and I highly recommend it. There’s something about growing food that makes you connect with it very differently. In our culture, we sometimes look at food as something that needs to be controlled and feared; gardening can make you look at it as something to be nurtured and savored with joy.
In the winter, I walk indoors, either at the mall, or simply at home, for 30 minutes, two to four days a week. Walking at home may sound silly, but I find that if I get a 30 minute walk in, I sleep better at night. I usually listen to music or a podcast while walking, if I’m walking indoors. If I’m not in the mood for walking indoors, I dance. I either do Zumba videos online at home, or I simply put on my favorite dance playlist and dance for about 30 minutes.
I also use weight machines at my local gym, an average of once or twice a week, to maintain strength and lean body mass, as I know we lose this as we get older. I also do gentle stretching for 10-15 minutes most days before bedtime, to keep my joints flexible, and also because it helps me sleep better.
What has been your biggest challenge with exercise in recent years?
I had a shoulder tendinitis injury few years back. The reason was unbalanced weight lifting – I was over-working certain muscle groups while not properly strengthening others. Going through physical Therapy for this injury was an enlightening experience. It taught me the importance of listening closely to my body, and of targeting all muscle groups, while preventing injury. Before this experience, my main incentive for weight-lifting was to have good muscle tone. After this, it has become more about being strong, and less about aesthetics or “looking toned”.
How did you overcome that challenge to keep moving?
I took a break from weight training. I did my PT exercises at home for a few months until I healed, before I got back to the gym. I discovered the importance of listening to my body during that time.
Why is exercise important to you right now in your life?
At one point, in my teens and twenties, exercise was a means to getting and maintaining a certain body shape and weight. As I have got older, it has become more about keeping myself fit, strong, and energized. My motivation has become more intrinsic and less extrinsic over the years. My biggest incentive is the significant improvement I see in my sleep quality when I exercise vs when I don’t.
Thank you Narmin!
Keep moving, be well,