Nikki Wright

Healthy Habit: Exercise

HealthyHabitHeader0922 September 2022
Photography by Cassidy Dunn Photography


NikkiWright0922Nikki Wright
Healthy Habit: Exercise

Passion: Making people smile/be happy  
Career: Assistant Teacher, Red Cedar Elementary
Family: Anson Wright (husband), Liam (10), and Emily (7)

What motivated you to start exercising regularly?
Honestly, I really think it was just meeting up with friends and talking. Some days we would run 2 miles, and others we could run up to 6 and just hash out life.

Tell us about your exercise regime:
I do really love to exercise! So Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, my good friend, Stephanie Cahill, and I run 2-3 miles at 5 a.m. before the kids wake up and before getting ready for work. Then, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I meet up with another good friend, Michal Anderson, and we run/walk 2 miles, then meet a bunch of other women (including Meg James) and workout at FIA (Females In Action, a peer-lead workout group) from 5:15 to 6:00. I also try to throw in a Peloton workout 2-3 times a week because the music is fantastic. Oh, and I also help out with the running club at school on Wednesday afternoons, which allows us to teach the importance of stretching and to keep moving.

What do you find most enjoyable about your exercise habit?
It allows me to eat all the bad stuff. I have a huge sweet tooth, but I try to limit my intake.

Have you always been active, or did you have to force yourself to take exercise time for yourself?
I feel it started in college; I began to have more interest in being active. After moving here, it has picked up even more in the last five years. Any routine is kind of tough at first, but now it is just something I love to do.

Do you ever dread it? If so, what do you do to get going?
Yes, or I have to say sometimes I just want to sleep in but I have incredible accountability partners. To know someone else is waking up at such an early hour to meet me makes me get up. And, the fact that I have two of them—neither one of them want to get up with me every day, so I have two for different days. I have recently also thrown my husband in the mix, too!

How is your approach to exercise achievable?
Just realize nothing happens overnight, and make a routine. Set a goal and reach for it. My first goal was actually trying to control my breathing. I thought, man, I hope I don’t sound like I am dying over here. I would work on taking deep breaths throughout my runs to slow my breathing, and like I said, we talk the whole time, so I had to learn how to talk and run. Routine, though, is a big one! Now I get up every morning as soon as my alarm goes off (but this might be because I do not want to wake the kids).

How has exercising enhanced your life? Your body? Your overall feeling of well-being? Your mental health? 
I have to admit at first I wanted to exercise to get skinnier, but now I totally do it to feel better mentally. I feel better now physically, too. As I approach 40, I feel better than I ever have. However, if I miss a day I feel a little sluggish. Maybe it is the exercise high people talk about, like runner’s high.

What would you say to encourage others to start a healthy habit of exercising?
Do what makes you happy and do it for you! Whether that be walking, riding, running, lifting weights or yoga. Also, make some friends do it with you.

What is the key to sticking to exercise?
For me it is the social aspect of it. Find a great group of people, or a friend or your child on their bike or in a stroller in front of you to go with. I usually always have a friend, husband or child with me. And with the off chance no one wants to join me, I find some great music to listen to. I did recently add a new Labrador retriever, Maizy, to our family. I hope one day she can be my running partner.

Why are healthy habits important to you?
Not to beat a dead horse, it is all about feeling good—mentally, physically and spiritually, if you will! We all have so much to worry about these days, and I always feel better after exercising. Also, my daughter has inherited my sweet tooth, so I want to show her and my son how important it is to stay active and eat healthy.