For Mindy Kaling, it took significant mental shifts to finally enjoy her exercises. At 42, she’s reformed her thinking about exercising.
“I’m the most healthy I’ve ever experienced,” she tells SELF. “I enjoy it.”
As an actor as well as producer, writer, director comedian, mom, and actor, Kaling knows all too well the challenges in arranging the time to herself. But putting aside time to move–and making it enjoyable and exciting makes her better at what she does, she says.
“I am more enjoyable and more focused more focused when I incorporate movement into my daily routine,” says Kaling, who recently joined forces in Propel Fitness Water’s #ShowYourJOWO campaign in order to encourage more people to experience joy through exercise.
Her experience with exercise wasn’t always this positive. At the age of 20, Kaling considered working out as way to get rid of stress. “[I was] getting up before dawn, prior to when I had to go to work on the Office and then going to the fitness center, and sitting on a treadmill for about 45 minutes running as quickly as I could, being miserable,” she says. “Hating it was extremely crucial.”
Over the last couple of years in the last few years, however, Kaling has pivoted. Since she started to incorporate more informal forms of exercise like hikes or walks with her friends, as well as exploring L.A. fitness classes, exercising became something new. It was fun, interesting and even joyous. She now is looking forward to every day.
Do you want to know how to make the transition from fearing your workouts, to truly enjoying your workouts? Here’s the best way to do it. Kaling.
Redefining workout “success”
In In the Office period, Kaling believed exercise had adhere to very specific guidelines to be counted as exercising.
“In the 20s of my life, I believed that exercising was only beneficial when it was extremely punishing You hated it and was isolated. Also, you had to dress at it in a certain way after having done something,” Kaling explains. She says now, “It doesn’t have to be something like this where I was in a sedentary state for the entire day, and then had one hour in activity.”
She’s now able to see the value in short workouts that don’t make her exhausted and sweaty. And it’s been a game change. She regards any workout that allows her to exercise her body is a victory, regardless of length or sweat factor. (Bonus when it’s outdoors in the sun or with a companion.)
After having a broader view of what a productive session is, Kaling realizes every little amount of effort is crucial to improving her mental state–and it is all cumulative. For instance, after an interview for SELF the break for movement the next day was planned to be a fifteen-minute walk.
In actual fact, Kaling says she often is able to see the cumulative impact of these “little secret’ exercises,” as she calls these on her fitness tracker after the conclusion of each day. When she walks and taking in some fresh air, or making a phone call she typically logs 3-4 miles each day.
It’s time to change it
A workout routine that includes elliptical workouts and running, walking and hiking, weight training, yoga and fitness classes for groups, Kaling makes a point of changing her routines.