Denise Sanger

Denise Sanger

My trip to Ohio a few weeks ago, reminded me how amazing our bodies are. While out hiking with family, the last leg of the hike was uphill. Walking step for step with my brother-in-law, who seems to be taking the hill in stride while I'm beginning to struggle. 

If you ask me, it was straight uphill. It probably wasn't but by the time I reached the top, I was huffing and puffing. My brother-in-law who doesn't exercise? Not winded. Why the difference between the two of us? He hunts in Ohio and Pennsylvania where the terrain is hilly. His body was used to climbing uphill. Mine was not.

How does this happen when I'm in the gym constantly? The short answer? There aren't any hills where we live in Florida. Suwannee County for the most part is flat so our bodies are not asked to climb hills. As my brother-in-law is out climbing hills on a regular basis, his body has adapted to being able to climb when needed. 

Another example of how amazing the body is. I recently switched my workout routine to include Tabata. Tabata is a HIIT workout (high intensity interval training) where you put in 100% effort for 20 seconds, then allow the body to recover for 10 seconds. The first class was tough. Like really tough. I thought to myself WHY did I make this class so hard. After all, I've never been a fan of burpees and they are always in the first circuit to get them out of the way.

Flash forward to my doctor's appointment three months later and I remember why the change to my exercise routine was important. My blood pressure was back where it should be. Now? Tabata, while still challenging, isn't as hard as it originally was as my body now expects that it will be pushed hard for 20 seconds before receiving a rest.

Our bodies are absolutely amazing at quickly overcoming and adapting to any challenge we give it whether it is a new exercise routine or hiking. Everything will be challenging when we first do it but if we keep pushing through, it will get a little bit easier each time.

It's the same way when you first begin to exercise after taking time off. It will be tough. It will be challenging. You will want to quit. But don’t. While you may need to pull every ounce of willpower to complete the first day, it will be much easier in the future.

Knowing I plan many hikes in the future, I need to train for them. How can I do that when there aren't hills? Luckily the gym I am at most of the week (Country Strong Gym) has a stair climbing machine that I can use. My daughters also live in Tallahassee where there are hills. Ask any FSU alumni about dealing with the hills their first semester.   

Adding in the stair climber and hills when I find them will get me ready for future hiking adventures. Remember as your body get stronger, add new challenges. Try new things. Your body can handle it and so can you. Have an amazing week!

To your health,


Denise Sanger is an over 50 health/lifestyle blogger and speaker. Known for motivation, inspiration & loving the BEACH. Certified fitness instructor, Silver Sneakers Instructor, Zumba, STRONG by Zumba instructor, gentle flow yoga, teaches morning classes at Country Strong Gym. Denise may be reached at, 386-292-6105 or

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