Why I Exercise

Why I Exercise

This post was originally shared by our partner, 2Unstoppable.

There are many reasons to incorporate fitness into our lives. Every day, the news and scientific research talk about the many benefits of being active. I recently came across a quote that says, if the benefits of exercise could be encapsulated in a pill, it would be prescribed to every cancer patient world-wide. That’s a pretty profound statement, and to me speaks volumes on the enormous effects that physical activity has on our minds and bodies. But for me, the main reason why I  exercise can be best summed up from a magnet that I have on my fridge: Worry is like a rocking chair. It will give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere! Easier said than done, but one thing I know for sure, after a little bit of exercise, I’m not rocking in that chair so much.

What motivates people to exercise is very individual. I was never active as a child, during my college years or even into my young adult life-it just wasn’t something I did. But, like a lot of women, I started to think about exercise as a means to losing weight after having children. Not knowing what to do, I did the obvious and joined a neighborhood gym and tried various classes. After just a few short weeks, I noticed something dramatic, and it wasn’t my shift in weight. I was keenly aware that I walked out of the gym with a sense of calm that I didn’t have when I entered. Maybe it was the music or the focus that I had to maintain to follow the routines, but one thing was clear, I enjoyed it. This incredible change in mood kept me coming back for more. My motivation to return came not from the physical benefits that I was receiving but rather the emotional ones. Soon my twice a week gym visits turned into three times a week and more. I was hooked on the positive feelings that came from exercise. Who would have known that later in life these feelings from exercise would serve me so well.

Turn the clock forward about 10 years and I am now dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis. My emotions at the time of diagnosis were all over the place. There was a tornado in my head with every possible feeling being thrown from side to side. I was scared, anxious, worried, confused, sad, mad and the list goes on. What did I do? I turned to what I knew would help calm my thoughts. Exercise! Whether it was a walk or an easy class at the gym, moving made me feel better and more importantly gave me a sense of control. The feelings that I get from exercise can best be described as a fog being lifted within me. My whole outlook changes, and as the worry and stress lessens I am better equipped to manage the challenges ahead.

There is so much data on how exercise helps with mood and can offer reliable reductions in anxiety while also promoting feelings of well-being. I guess that is the essence of exercise for me. The best part is just a five-minute walk can break the cycle of anxiety. There are so many reasons to exercise; however, when life gets hard and messy I know I can rely on a little bit of exercise to get me through the difficult hurdles. I hope you too can find these calming effects from exercise.