There are a thousand good, solid reasons for working toward increasing fitness. Maintaining a healthy weight and regular physical activity is undeniably beneficial to anyone's overall physical and mental wellness. There is a ton of research documenting this.
As women, I believe there are some additional benefits to maintaining regular exercise and KNOWING that you are fit, and breaking free of the ridiculous images we are bombarded with daily in so many ads and tv shows. As a mom, there is a deep satisfaction in knowing that you *will* catch up with that toddler when he starts to run; or knowing that yes, you *can* pick up your big kid when they still need those mommy snuggles after a rough time at school.
There are people who workout because they just love it. There are people who have been runners their whole lives, and people for whom exercise is as natural as breathing. I am not any of those people. The journey into fitness as a lifestyle is a recent one for me - it started 2 short years ago. Compared to the me of 2 years ago, I just feel better. I have more energy, a better outlook, more acceptance of myself and others, and more patience to handle the demands of motherhood. All of these benefits of regular exercise are fantastic, they really are. And now, 2 years later, I can't imagine ever NOT exercising several times each week.
But there are only 2 reasons why I exercise. One of them is sleeping in his crib right now after a bath with blueberry-scented shampoo, and the other one is sleeping in her big girl bed zipped up in a pink cocoon of a sleeping bag because she would rather have that than a blanket.
And that is all.
This struck me last night as I was driving home from a late-night Body Back session, thinking about how much I loved what I do, how lucky I am to spend time with other moms passionate about modeling positive behavior for their families.
I have no idea what paths my kids will take. No idea what kind of adults they will grow into - what careers they will pursue, if they will choose to raise families, if they will be as lucky as me and find their partner in life. But here is one thing I do know: They will have parents who have remained active. They will have parents who lift weights so that they can also lift their grandchildren. They will have parents who have loved them so much that they have taken care of THEMSELVES.
I workout for the love of these two people. Because I want them to be as strong and active as their bodies will allow, and to love themselves. I want to be around for as long as I can be - and while there are always unknowns and surprises in life, I am going to maximize every opportunity to keep myself healthy and strong.