Why I Work Out

Can I confess something?

I actually hate sweat. I don’t like feeling it drip down my back, off my face, or under my hands on the floor. But I do it – because I love the way I feel after a hard workout. And it keeps me emotionally well.

How Did I Get Here?

Bookworm. Theatre nerd. Band geek. Clearly, I wasn’t an active kid if those terms described me. Even after I left school, I only ever worked out sporadically. I never really worried about how I looked, or what I ate.

Fast forward to a few years, and a desk job, two kids, and about 20 pounds later. I was still only working out sporadically. I was balancing a stressful job, and trying to be all things to all people at work and home was taking a toll. I was stressed out, anxious, and cranky all the time. I wasn’t my best – at home or at the office. The only workout I was getting was cycling back and forth to work. I was eating when I could, and most days, that meant coffee for breakfast, coffee for lunch, and stuffing myself with whatever quick and easy thing was available for dinner (eaten over the kitchen sink, usually after the kids went to bed). I developed an eye twitch and a permanent hand tremor. I was a mess.

My doctor prescribed exercise. I balked. She did it again. I made up every excuse in the book to avoid it. I told her I was too busy. She told me it was a must. So I did it. Grudgingly.

Slowly, I started to run. Slowly, I started eating better to fuel those runs. Slowly, the anxiety and stress started to lessen. I felt good again. I had energy again. My pants fit again.

Exercise was a bit of a ‘golden ticket’ to wellness for me.* I didn’t set out with a specific goal, or a specific path in mind. That came later.

Now? I’m a convert. I believe in moving my body to feel better. I believe in the power of setting a fitness goal and then crushing it.

Is it a quick fix? Nope! Do I struggle sometimes? Yep! I’m human. I still have bad days. I still love cupcakes. I still hate sweat.

But, I love what it does for me. And that matters more than any excuse I allow myself.

*An important caveat. Numerous studies have shown that regular exercise helps people manage many of the day-to-day symptoms of depression and anxiety, but it’s important to see your doctor before starting any program. If you find your symptoms are interfering with your daily life, please seek additional help. Your mental health matters, and there’s no shame in taking medication or seeking additional therapies to manage it well.

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