Lovely H,

Yesterday you asked me why I like to exercise. I was in the middle of a workout in our living room, something you see me doing nearly every day when you get home from school. I try to work out 5 or 6 days a week, and have built it into my life the way I make time for work, cooking, and spending time with you and your brother. Here is what I told you.

Why I exercise:

1. I want to be ready for anything.  When an opportunity for an adventure comes up, whether it’s a day of mountain biking, skiing, or a hiking vacation, I want to be able to do it without feeling weak and winded.

2. I want to be strong for my whole life. As I have gotten older, I’ve been amazed at how quickly one can lose fitness if you don’t keep up a solid routine. The old adage “use it or lose it” is about the truest thing I think I’ve heard. When you are a teenager, I want to be able to go hiking with you, go for long bike rides, and maybe give you a run for your money in a race. Exercising regularly now is just another way of saving for retirement.

2. It keeps my head in a good place. The little stresses of daily life as a grownup can really start to weigh you down if you don’t have an outlet for them. Pushing my body and breathing hard cleans the cobwebs out of my head and allows me to think more clearly, be more patient, and let annoyances and troubles slide off my back a little easier. It makes me a better mom.

3. I feel so good when I am done. When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals that promote a feeling of wellbeing. Tired muscles feel relaxed, and I can pat myself on the back for a job well-done.

4. I look better. My skin is more radiant, my eyes are brighter, and my hair and nails seem healthier when I exercise regularly.

5. It allows me to indulge. I like to have a glass of wine or a dessert now and then (well, more than now and then but that’s for another letter). Exercising allows my body to offset those unneeded calories so that I can stay at a healthy weight.

It is important to me that you appreciate your healthy body and treat it well so you can enjoy living in it for the next 80 or 90 years. It is the only one you’ll ever have. I’ve encouraged you to join me in my daily workouts, but usually you pass. That’s okay… you are young. I’ll keep asking, and I hope that as you grow you will come to see exercise the way I do. 

Okay, I have to head out for a run now. Care to join me?