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Why Do You Exercise?

I can proudly say that exercise has been a part of my life for a long time. Of course there have been ups and downs, but the important thing is I have stuck with it, and somewhere along the line it became an integral part of who I am.

And I couldn’t be happier!

But how does one keep it going? Where do you get the motivation to give up part of your day, year after year, for 39 years?

Motivation Through The Decades

Teens: Luckily I had a great role model. Mom wasn’t the type to let you lounge around in front of the TV; when she headed out the door to exercise I followed. Twice a week we worked out with the most fascinating woman, a retired fashion model who was the epitome of elegance and grace. She was long and lean but strong like a racehorse, and she made exercise fun.

Twenties: Honestly, at 20 my health was never a motivating factor; it was all about vanity and wanting to look good! Gonna live forever right? I got my first gym membership and promptly signed a lifetime contract. And ya know what? It doesn’t matter. If pride is your motivating factor right now so be it, you’re still getting the health benefits. Frankly, I hope at 20 your biggest worry is how your butt looks and not something else — there will be plenty of time later in life to deal with the big issues.

Thirties: In my thirties it was all about the muscle. My job in the bakery required stamina and strength. Bags of flour weighed 50 pounds and you toted your own. After eight hours on my feet I headed directly to the gym and lifted weights. I was a total badass and I freakin’ loved it.

Forties: My marriage was rocky, life was stressful and my body was starting to change. I like routine and nothing was going the way I had planned. After my divorce everything felt foreign except for my workout. The gym was my port in the storm, and I thank the powers that be that I had it to keep me sane.

Fifties: Now my motivation is travel. There’s a wide, wide world out there and I refuse to see it through the window of a bus! Aside from a bit of wear and tear, my health is great and I’m not about to let an aging body call the shots.

So there you have it, a mixed bag of motivation through the years. Find a reason to move your body today; do whatever it takes to ingrain the habit. You’ll be glad you did later.

Why did you exercise today? —Karen

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