‘Today Show:’ Natalie Morales Shares Why Running Is Her Favorite Form of Exercise

Natalie Morales of the Today Show usually handles news on the West Coast for the NBC morning news program. Now often subbing in their New York studios, the journalist is keeping busy with her reporting career and her full family life.

Despite her hectic schedule, Morales makes exercise a priority and has shared what she favors most when it comes to fitness. 

Natalie Morales attends the 70th Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater
Natalie Morales of the “Today Show” | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Morales reports from the kitchen

Some of Morales’ fans that tune in to see her on Today may not realize that the NBC correspondent is also a cookbook author. At Home with Natalie: Simple Recipes for Healthy Living from My Family’s Kitchen to Yours was released in 2018, with Morales giving a glimpse into some recipes she experienced as a child.

“Some of my favorite memories from growing up are associated with food —  walking in the door and smelling something that smelled like home, like Mom’s lasagna or Mom’s empanadas,” Morales told TheGirlfriend.com from AARP. “Wherever we lived, being in the kitchen with Mom was a way for my two sisters and I to feel like we were home. I’ve been cooking some of these recipes since I was old enough to reach the counter.”

Morales also tries to keep her cuisine healthy, especially as the mom of two sons, Josh and Luke. “Other recipes are better-for-you takes on traditional dishes, like a healthier mac n cheese with butternut squash and cauliflower (it still has three kinds of cheese!), inspired by our local farmers markets,” she shared.

Morales on the move

The Today star has always been an advocate for exercise and often speaks of the benefits of keeping fit. When asked which workout regimen she prefers as a top pick, the former Access Hollywood co-host revealed she likes to hit the pavement.

“Running, for me, is therapy,” Morales shared. “My senior year of high school, when we moved from Spain to Delaware, long runs were a way for me to check in with myself and get peace of mind. Now, it’s my go-to form of exercise. You can just pack shoes and an outfit and go anywhere, anytime… It’s a great way to see the sites; you just get out there and pound the pavement.”

Though she loves the fast-paced form of exercise, Morales acknowledged that there are sometimes some unwanted results of the high-level impact activity now that she’s older.

“Things hurt a little more than they used to,” she admitted. “Ever since I ran the 2014 Boston Marathon, I’ve battled Piriformis syndrome … it’s a real pain in the bleep! So half marathons are better for me now than full marathons.”

Morales has learned to take preventative measures to minimize injuries. “I have had to learn the hard way that the best therapy is injury prevention!” the NBC star said, according to Women’s Health

“Strengthening and building the muscles around the knees and joints is so important, and now I try to do more exercises to prevent injury,” Morales revealed. “Jump squats, lunges, and stretching after a run are all good building blocks to a healthy foundation.”

Morales the marathon runner

As an experienced participant in marathons, Morales finds the prep behorehand the most challenging.

“It’s always a time crunch getting marathon-ready, and I find I’m always cramming the last-minute long runs,” she explained. “Because my schedule is so crazy, I also never know if I will be able to stick to the plan. So if I blow the plan one day, I try and make up for it over the next few days and run the miles I didn’t do.”

While gaining many physical benefits from her dedication to exercise, the Today Show journalist has also learned some personal lessons through her fitness challenges.

“The only thing I have to fear is fear itself,” she shared. “For example, my first triathlon, I was petrified of the ocean swim. I’m an okay swimmer in the pool, but the ocean is a whole different ball game. The morning of the triathlon, sure enough, the surf was rough and there were jellyfish. A friend told me to use any stroke and to just try and stay calm. He told me to break it up into steps. One buoy to the next. So I counted it out stroke per stroke and made it fine.”

Morales has another challenge in mind to celebrate a milestone. “Doing a half Ironman maybe for my 50th birthday,” she said. 

No doubt it will make her list of accomplishments!