grief, Joyful Life

Living A Joyful Life – Exercise

Author’s Note: This is the first in a series of articles on what I believe are keys to living a joyful life. A new post will be published every Wednesday.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1st Corinthians 6:19 -20
English Standard Version

I know you are reading this stunned that the first article in the series is about exercise. After much thought, I decided this was the foundation for living a joyful life. Hopefully exercising will lead you to the next step, especially if you are grieving or going through another nasty life event.

Now I am the last person who needs to be writing about exercise since the most I do is up and down the basement steps when doing laundry.

But maybe if I write about exercise I will do it more. Maybe this spring I need to bring back Tour de Parks where I walk a different park every week and then blog about it.

Plum Creek Park

Exercise and Mental Health

It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor.

Marcus Tullius Cicero
Quote courtesy of

You need exercise to keep the endorphins and other chemicals giving you a natural high. They help boost your mood so you feel like working through tough situations such as grief or career transition.

It is the number one thing I would tell a person to do to get through grief and I mean start the day after the funeral.

Even if it is walking around the block, just do it and keep doing it. You will slowly but surely feel like doing more things to move forward with your new life.

Speaking of walking…

How I Make Walking Less Of A Chore

My favorite thing to do when I go for walks in area parks is to take my camera. Practicing my photography takes my mind off how many laps I’ve yet to do around the pond…

or how far I still need to walk.

Getting Started

The desire of activity is designed by nature to promote our physical well-being. Physical activity is the law of physical health. 

Edward Brooks, 1882
Quote courtesy of

Get some cool tennis shoes and some cool Hollywood starlet shades and you are off and walking.


Not into walking? Then do chores as they count as exercise – both indoor and outdoor. They are another form of activity that adds up.

So run up and down the basement steps while waiting for the dryer to stop, pick up your speed when vacuuming or dance while you are dusting. Hmmm…we may have a new sport – ballroom dusting.

For your outdoor exercise may I recommend raking a gully as part of your plan to meet the 150 minutes per week requirement.

The gully in my backyard is known as The River Kearns and every couple years, it makes an appearance when we get a lot of rain. I then rake the drain area to make sure leaves, twigs and grass clipping are not clogging the drain. Fun, fun, fun.

A Wise Old Saying

You’ve heard it said that in order to never work a day in your life, find a job you enjoy doing.

The same is true for exercise, find some type you enjoy doing and you will never exercise a day in your life.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to go strip the sheets off the bed with the force of an F5 tornado, run down the steps and dunk them in the washing machine. Then it will be time to get out of the house as it is my day off and I must spend most of it away from home. Looks like I will be walking the mall due to the cold, gloomy weather.

Remember – Exercise and you will experience joyful life thanks to the endorphins and other hormones. Plus you will give people something to talk about when you tell them you did ballroom dusting before coming to work.

Reflect first upon that great law of our nature, that exercise is the chief source of improvement in all our faculties.

Hugh Blair (1718–1800)
Quote courtesy of

Related Reading: How to Start Exercising and Stick to It.

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to inspire widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s currently using those skills as a virtual logistics contact center representative for a Fortune 100 company. She’s also managed call center teams, co-facilitated a grief support group, and helped small businesses with various writing assignments. Michele is a bookworm, and a lover of history, music, chocolate, red roses, and golden retrievers. She is also the amateur photographer behind the blog


{ Day 6 } 31 Tricks to Scare Away the Grief Monster – Exercise

Scripture Meditation

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees

Hebrews 12:12


I chose today’s scripture because it is not one you normally hear and I love being different.

Today I’m writing about everyone’s favorite word:


My First Year

During the first year after Joe’s move to heaven, I spent most weekends on the couch. It would take me 3 hours to get up enough energy to walk down the basement stairs and switch the clothes from the washer to the dryer. Also, nothing like waiting till the last second to go to the bathroom.

I told myself I was storing up energy to be spent at work the next week. While that was true to some extent, I took “vegging out” to a new extreme.

While there is a time for everything, including “vegging out”, there is also a time for exercising.

Please do not do what I did.

Get your shoes on and at least walk.

I know the weather is changing, so take advantage of the opportunity for walking in sunshine while you have it.

The endorphins released will help with scaring away the grief monster because they help with depression, sleeping, and anxiety among other things.

Hopefully you will have a friend or a group of friends who will keep you motivated during the first year.

Once the nasty weather set in, then it is time for the gym, the rec center or exercise DVD’s. There are plenty DVD’s out there  so buy one and keep exercising.

You could also run up and down the steps of your basement but please do not turn into the “veggie” I did.


  1. Here is a link to an article about the benefits of exercise

2) Don’t know where to begin when it comes to exercise? Do not like walking? The follow this series along with me.

31 Days to a Better Butt

Those of us participating in the Write31Day challenge are in a private Facebook group. The author ( a personal trainer) asked if it would be an appropriate series to do. We all said yes. Her site was the first one I bookmarked when the series launched and I read her site every day. I am still on day 1 as I am in therapy for a shoulder issue resulting from being ended. Days 2 – 5 look like they might aggravate the shoulder.

But trust me (pun intended), every morning before I get out of bed I am firing up those glutes by doing the Day 1 exercises.

Won’t you join me?

Quote Meditation

True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united.

Wilhelm von Humboldt


Tour de Parks Finish Line: Climbing Mount McKinley

The Tour de Parks came to and end last week when I climbed Mount McKinley. I know, you are thinking Mt. McKinley does not exist anymore as it is now Denali.

Well Mount McKinley does exist in Canton, OH.


Red Carnation

President McKinley was known as the red carnation president for always having one in his lapel. Then one day he gave his carnation to a young girl in a receiving line at the Pan-American Exhibition in Buffalo, NY. Moments later he was shot and passed away several days later.

The Ascent

Today we will be walking up 108 steps to the tomb of President McKinley, Mrs. McKinley and their 2 daughters, Ida and Katherine. You will see the park from each of the 4 plateaus.

Ready? Let’s begin at the base camp.


The Starting Line At Base Camp


The shadow is mine and will serve as my “selfie” for this post. I have a Moto X phone and unable to download photos to my computer because of the incompatibility with Windows 10.

The View From Plateau #1

Level 1

The View From Plateau #2

Level 2

Here is the McKinley Museum from Plateau #2

McKinley Museum_Level_2

Here is President McKinley’s statue on Level 2. I walked down several steps in order to get this shot.


This picture shows the words on the base of the statue.


Plateau #3

Level 3

We are on Plateau # 3 looking up at Plateau #4 and the monument.


The View From Plateau 4

Level 4

Part of a sign at plateau #4


The skylight at top of inside the dome




Let us ever remember that our interest is in concord, not in conflict; and that our real eminence rests in the victories of peace, not those of war.

William McKinley


Eagle below the words “victories of peace.”


The door to the monument. Yes, that is my reflection.

Back At Base Camp

Well here we are back at base camp.


The header of the monument shot from base camp.

Monument Header

The End

Well this is the end of my Faithful Finish Lines Tour de Parks program. I am still in the Faithful Finish Lines program and highly recommend it. In fact, I am working on my next goal which will focus on healthy eating for this 7 week period.

Grieving – Get A Buddy

The first year of widowhood is very, very tough and I wish I had this group with me in 2008 and maybe I would have been more active.

If you are grieving, find and exercise buddy and get moving. Hopefully, reading my Tour de Parks posts has inspired you to find different places to walk. I’ve enjoyed doing these walks and bringing pictures of God’s handy work here in Northeast Ohio.

Canton, OH

I leave you with a view of the building tops in downtown Canton, OH taken from the 4th plateau.


10-10-2011_3by5Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© Award-Winner of She encourages widows and educates society about grief and life as a widow by sharing her widowhood adventures. A graduate of Kent State University with a degree in communications, she has used her skills in the banking, collections, outdoor products and social media industries. Michele is a bookworm, lover of golden retrievers and an amateur photographer. You can see more of her photography at