I wasn't sure what to caption this post. I think 'Why I Work Out' makes me sound like a huge meat head but it's the best I could come up with!
I think anyone who exercises has gone through phases where their reasons for doing so have changed. If you work out, your motives may have included some or all of the following in the past:
- To lose weight
- To look good in a bikini/for a wedding/major life event
- To make an ex jealous (Ha!)
- To work off that ice cream/cupcake/[insert treat of choice here]
The problem with motives like these is that they come from a place of guilt or thinking there's something 'wrong' with ourselves. Starting from a place of lack is usually not a recipe for success. In order to succeed or stick with anything long term, you have to believe you are worthy in the first place. This doesn't just apply to exercise but to anything in life. If you go in thinking you're a failure, you just might prove yourself right.
I'm certainly not above this line of thinking. Working out in high school and college was definitely motivated more by superficial reasons than reasons of health and well being. But there's definitely a wisdom that comes with age.
The reasons I work out now include:
- For health
- For longevity
- For "me time"
- To challenge myself
- To maintain fitness
- To relieve stress
- Because it's FUN!
All of these reasons can be summed up in two words: Self care. There comes a point in your life when you realize that no one is responsible for your health and happiness but you. As someone who works as a caregiver for others and lives alone, this is even more important for me. I spend 8-10 hours a day focusing solely on the needs of others. When I finally get home, there's no one there to ask how my day was, or rub my feet, or just give me a hug. I've gotten used to this, but it's also made me realize that alone or partnered, you are still the only one responsible for your care. Sure, others can help and offer support (and it'd be nice to have someone like that around someday!), but you are the CEO of your own mind, body and spirit.
So when I lace up and head out for a run or go to the gym after work, I'm taking care of myself. Sure, some days that care may include plopping down in front of the TV and eating a sleeve of Thin Mints (vegan!), but I'm old enough to know that too much of that is actually more self-sabotage than self-care. No one is going to tell me to brush my teeth, eat my vegetables, and get up off the couch. If I want to be a healthy adult, that's all up to me.
As much as we humans have evolved, our minds and spirits still inhabit a physical body. A body that requires movement and nourishment to be healthy. We are still (some more than others!) animals. We were born to move. And if you've read the book, some also believe, Born to Run, but that's fodder for another post.
Children LOVE to run and play. It's innate and instinctual. Have you ever watched a young child run? Their entire face lights up and they smile the second their feet take flight. It's actually amazing to watch. At some point, we grow up and societal influences suppress these instincts. We're forced to sit in chairs under fluorescent lights for hours on end. And we're conditioned to believe this is 'natural'. Newsflash: It's not! We need to tap back into the creatures we really are, who we knew we were as children, and get outside and MOVE!
One of the many reasons I enjoy running as a form of exercise is because I love being outside. Nature is restorative and is after all our 'natural' state! For me, exercise is a way to not only take care of my body, but a way to restore my mind and soul and remind me of who I really am.
Why do you work out?