Although I’m still recovering from my foot injury and not able to run or bike right now, I had a truly inspirational weekend observing and talking about the power of exercise. Saturday morning, I met up with our Team in Training group for their second group training. These ladies are training for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in D.C. this spring, and they are also raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. For some, this is not their first half marathon. But for others, running 13.1 miles is going to be one of the most challenging physical things they have ever done. Then, Saturday night, I was invited to a “Declare it Day” party, which is something invented by Fellow Flowers. At the party, I and several other ladies declared something we each want to do in the future that is beyond our comfort zones. For most of us, that meant something athletic and physically challenging. A lot of our conversations at the party dealt with the joys of being active and our strategies for fitting it into our busy lives.
Everything about these experiences this weekend made me wish I could buy the gift of exercise for the entire world – so everyone could know how tremendously life-affirming it is. Any kind of exercising at all… walking, hiking, swimming, golfing, biking, running, cross-country skiing, yoga-ing, board sports, ball sports, indoor, outdoor. Just moving that body. Obviously, I know lots of triathletes and other people who make exercise an integral part of their daily lives. But I also know plenty of people who do not. These are people who may not know what it’s like to sweat, to push it, to move their butt from point A to point B just for the heck of it … to forget everything else in their lives for 30-60 minutes a day (or more) and focus instead on the rhythm of their own movements, individually or as part of a team, breathing, stretching, giving, taking. Taking. Taking that time for themselves.
And it’s not just for that period of time either. It’s for the feeling they’ll have afterward. That satisfied, contented, tired, exhausted, utterly spent feeling they’ll have when they know they have given it their all. And, not only that. It’s the confidence they’ll have in the fact that pushing themselves today means it will be easier tomorrow, or next week, or next month. Then, when they feel that, there will be no denying that exercising pays off. Hard work may not always seem to pay off in other areas of life… because you don’t have control over everything… You may not get the raise, or the date, or make the sale, or hit the numbers. You may buy the tickets but not win the lottery. But, if you exercise, and you stay committed, and you give yourself the chance to establish an exercise routine, you WILL see results. You WILL feel better. As long as you don’t overdo it or injure yourself, there is no possibility at all that you will not get a benefit from exercise. It’s a sure thing. And if you don’t have it in your life, oh man would I love to be able to give it to you!
It won’t just change your life, it will change you. You will be a different person inside and out! You will laugh easier; you will breathe easier; you will get over it (whatever it is) easier. You will sleep better. You will feel more alive. You will *probably* live longer. But even if you don’t, you will live MORE. I dare you to try it 🙂