Your Feet Run Straight To Your Heart

Your body still loves you. And the more love you give it, the more it will love you back.
03/13/2013 12:52 pm ET Updated May 13, 2013

Now that we've all survived the heartbreaking holidays for the year, it's time to exhale and start thinking about how we can take of ourselves. You may be feeling unloved or confused or in a bunch of pieces. Here's the truth, though:

Your body still loves you. And the more love you give it, the more it will love you back.

There are all kinds of ways to love your body, but I'm going to tell you to start with two:

1. Drink water. Drink 80 ounces of water every day. If you can't stand the taste of water, squeeze in a little lemon or lime juice, or heat it up and make herbal tea. (I love the Celestial Seasonings True Blueberry, which tastes like blueberry, and Yogi Teas Detox, which tastes like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, sarsaparilla, and black pepper.)

2. Start running. Yes, running. Yes, you. You have a pair of running shoes someplace, and some socks, and a pair of sweat pants, and a sports bra if you're a woman. If you don't, search "Running store" and the name of your town on Google and then go into the store you find and have them watch how you run and sell you the proper pair of shoes for your stride. Then go buy a bra and socks and pants and a shirt.

Look up the Couch to 5K program and scroll down to see the plan. It's three times a week, for about half an hour each time you go out. You have time for this. The first week starts with running for 60 seconds at a time and then walking for 90 seconds for 20 minutes. You can run for 60 seconds seven or eight times with walk breaks in between. If you genuinely can't, go out and walk for 25 minutes, three times a week, for three weeks. Then start the Couch to 5K program.

If it's too cold and treacherous near you to run outside, find out if there's a recreation center with an indoor track near you, or find a gym with treadmills. You could also buy a treadmill on Craigslist if you have the room for one in your living space. You might be able to find a recreation center or gym with babysitting, which would allow you go go run even on days when you have your kids! Win for you, and a win for your kids because their parent is getting healthy.

Start now. Maybe not today, but tomorrow or the day after, as soon as you get your shoes and figure out where you're going to run. When you come home from the first day of the Couch to 5K plan, search on the internet for a 5K to run. If you start now, you'll be ready to run one by the end of May.

So many of us, here on the good side of divorce, have found running to be part of our recovery. Not just the exercise, but the rhythm of it. The increasing steadiness of our own feet and ankles and legs. The way it feels good and hurts a little at the same time touches and frees a part of us that we can't get to by crying. The almost-linear progression that helps us mark the passage of time and how we're healing in our hearts as well as our bodies.

Once you've been running for a few months, and have run your first 5K, read What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami.

I hope that you can find some solace and help by running, and that it becomes as much of a joy for you as it is for me.

If you want to listen to it, here's the playlist I'm running to this week:

Magda runs and writes and writes and runs. She thinks you're the best parent for your child, and writes about that at Read the blog she writes with her ex-husband about co-parenting after divorce at When The Flames Go Up.