Exercise that feeds the soul: Sadie Reid, Founder of Hip And Healthy reveals why finding the perfect sweat will set you free.

Despite being the owner of a wellness business, when I was at school, I was certainly not known for my athletic talents. In fact, I was better known for my sporting inability. In athletics, they called me clod-hopper (I still to this day don’t know what it means but I know it was not a compliment). In Netball I was picked for the D team. My time playing cricket was short-lived when one of my best friends, the Cricket Captain, realised how rubbish I was and risked our friendship by kicking me off the team. I was always a “sub” in rounders. And would come up with any excuse possible to not play lacrosse. So, imagine my delight when I found out that at University you didn’t have to play sports. 

My freshers term was fairly typical – filled with late nights, fast food, and lots of booze and by the time I reached the Christmas Holidays I was bloated, unwell (freshers flu had got the better of me) and a bit low. At the time my parents lived in California and so I hopped on a plane to LAX to spend the festive season with them. After a few days there, I could feel the LA lifestyle start to rub off on me and I decided that I didn’t want to feel so crap and that perhaps I should try moving my body a bit. Knowing that team sports were not my thing, and far too intimidated to step foot in my mother’s local Cali gym (they gave you wheatgrass shots at the door), I decided to pop on a pair of trainers and just start running. I ran down to the beach and despite feeling tired, hot and sweaty I kept going. I think it was after around 30 minutes of running that I discovered endorphins for myself and realised that this was something I wanted to stick at. For the rest of the day, I had a spring in my step. I felt like after all these years of being unashamedly unsporty I had finally discovered what all the fuss was about. 

When I returned back to the UK I started running in the English countryside and would head to the treadmill in really bad bouts of weather periods. Although running predominantly became an outlet for my mind it would be remiss of me not to report on how it was also making my body feel. I loved the way my limbs would ache after a particularly challenging or long run – a sign of my body getting stronger and me pushing through boundaries.  

Discovering running for me has been a truly life changing experience. It has helped me with low moments and grounded me during the highs. I run to mull over decisions and also to come up with ideas. I run on roads, coastlines, treadmills and cliff tops. I run under the basking sunshine, but also come rain, snow or even hail. I run in groups, on my own, with friends and even in meetings. I keep a pair of trainers in the office per-chance an opportunity to run arises.

After I had my two children, in both instances I marked the moment I came back to myself as the times when I was able to start running again. I am not competitive in the slightest with my running and couldn’t care less what time I do things in, I genuinely tend to grade a run’s success by how I feel after doing it. It’s important to say that I don’t always want to run – and there have been times when I have used every excuse under the sun to avoid doing it, but I am normally (not always) outweighed by another part of my brain that says “go on – just ten minutes and see where that takes you” and normally after the first few minutes I head into my almost meditative state as I pound the pavement. One thing is for sure – I have never – not once – regretted lacing up and heading out the door to pound the pavement.

It is in finding running that I realised how important it is for all of us to find our one thing that makes us tick. For some, I know yoga has become a huge part of their lives, for others its HIIT classes – but if you’re at the stage where you don’t know yet – I urge you to try everything. You’ll know when you find your thing by the feeling it leaves you with after you do it.

I guess it’s true – do what you love and you’ll never work (out) a day in your life.

words by Sadie Reid

Read more: Here Are The Best Ways To Workout Outdoors In London