I have a challenge for you: Go outside and climb a mountain.
For those of us that live in urban or suburban settings I think that one of the most therapeutic and life giving things we can do is get outside and enjoy nature. Find some trails local to your area, convince a friend that is interesting and not a complainer to join, grab a small backpack with water and sunscreen and get out there. Take deep breathes. Look around. Let your body do what it was designed to do, work hard.
I have some friends I’m in a unofficial hiking club with (it used to be a cooking club, now it’s the antithesis of a cooking club) and it basically consists of hiking together as often as we can. Sometimes I like to do sunset hikes and the mountains I'm so used to seeing suddenly become soaked in yellow, and they seem new again. I think it matters that we embrace this beautiful world around us. I think we’re made to enjoy it.
I'm reading a book about the life of Van Gogh...I promise this will connect. Van Gogh was a huge fan of Rembrandt who, as you might know, did a lot of realistic religious paintings of the future in heaven. Van Gogh was extremely religious himself, and though you wouldn't know it, his paintings had a lot of religious significance to him. There was a popular preacher at the time who would do these sermons about the divineness of nature and Christ as inseparable from it's beauty. They proposed nature was one of the best ways of knowing God. So in that way, Van Gogh's art was religious, not because they were realist images of heaven, but because he was painting nature and God was a very real part of that. Van Gogh was a pretty crazy guy, but I think it's a good point. To me there is something religious about being outside, something that reminds me I am such a small piece in view of the vastness of nature. It's humbling, and energizing, and sort of a relief.
Ok so enough of the rant, here are my recommendations for hiking if you live in the LA or Orange County areas:
Mustard Road in Foothill Ranch. Park at this Ralphs and you’ll see the trail start. Take Borrego > Mustard Road > Vista Lookout Road (you’re gonna want to die for a minute, but then you’ll love it, I swear!)
Peter’s Canyon in Orange. My favorite is the East Ridge loop
El Moro Canyon in Laguna Beach. No Dogs > Poles > E. Cut Across > Moro Ridge. The view will make you want to weep. Save this one for a clear day.
Quigley Canyon in Santa Clarita. Take the Coyote loop that brings you to the top of the falls. It's harder but better.
Solstice Canyon in Malibu. At the end of the loop there is a burned down mansion from the 20's. Take Rising Sun trail to Solstice Canyon Trail.
Runyon Canyon in LA is pretty easy and has really beautiful views on a smog-free day.
Griffith's Observatory in LA. Lots of trails, I've only done a few of them but loved them all.
PS: if your husband's idea of exercise is walking around a mall, don't take him on a really big hike for the first time out, otherwise he'll fall asleep at 6pm and struggle to walk the next day. err...whoops.