Since May 2018, I have seen changes in my body, anxiety, relationships, confidence that I never could have imagined. We all know we need to do it. We have heard it, whether on TV, in books, or from our health care provider “You need to exercise more to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
The problem is most of us have negative associations with exercise. Whether it is time, it seems hard, lack of energy, ability, bad memories, unattainable expectations, fear of failure.
After becoming a mom, I made excuses as to being too busy, too tired to exercise. I told myself this is what a woman who is in her 30s with 3 kids is suppose feel like. But I felt horrible. My clothes didn’t fit the way I wanted them to. I was anxious. My back hurt. I felt weak all over. I retreated from relationships because of lack of confidence and energy.
The turning point, a friend invited me to join her fitness group. My initial thought was, I don’t have time or the energy for this. But that day, as I watched the kids ride their bikes outside in the beautiful afternoon sun, something inside of me shifted. I realized that I would not be able to keep up with them physically if I did not make a change. They were early school-aged and younger, it wasn’t going to be long before I would be able to participate in their activities because I couldn’t keep up. I had hopes and dreams of taking them places and doing things with them that would not be possible unless I made a change.
When I decided to accept her invitation, I didn’t realize the changes that were going to take place. In the past, I had been a long-distance runner, but I had never tapped into a community of runners. The community that was within this fitness group helped me believe “I can,” when I felt like “I can’t.” I noticed changes in my anxiety level. The feeling of constant, overwhelming feeling of stimuli somehow seemed more manageable. I was sleeping better at night. I was waking up feeling refreshed. My posture improved, which helped my back pain. I was stretching out tight muscles. I gaining muscles. My clothes were fitting better. I was being to feel like what I now believe a healthy woman feels like.
This change that I made to benefit my hopes and dreams for my children has completely changed me as a woman.
Exercise has so many benefits besides the physical ones we see. Other benefits: increase HDL (the good cholesterol that helps prevent narrowing in your arteries), decrease anxiety (release endorphins and dopamine, hormones that affect mood), improves sleep, improves bone strength (forces calcium into bones), increases energy (increases blood flow and nutrient absorption), improve sex life (because of increased blood flow). These are just a few of the benefits, I didn’t even mention the countless number of health conditions and disease that can be prevented and improved by exercising!
Exercise is not about being a certain weight or size. Exercise is about helping our bodies get to and continue on in optimal functioning. When our bodies are working the way they were designed we can do what we were created to do.
When I get tired or think I don’t need to continue, I remind myself of how my body feels (strong, agile, mobile, able). I also have other people I can lean on to help me. I know each day I am doing good things for my body. This is how I was created. This is what I am supposed to look like. This is how I am suppose to feel. That is wonderful. Because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
You are too. You don’t have to feel horrible. You can have good physical and mental health, strong bones, strong muscles, energy. You can choose to make good choices for yourself.
Just as Newton’s first law of motion says an object in motion will stay in motion; this is also true for our bodies. When we continue to move them they will continue to move.
Or maybe you relate more to Elle Woods says “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands.” (Legally Blonde 2001)
Either way, exercise is important. Whether you are a walker, runner, cyclist, lift weights, aerobics, ect; the important thing is you are doing it. Also, find a community to do it with you. This really helps on those bad days.