Exercise has always been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mom used to tell me how good it was for me even when I was a girl with stork legs and spaghetti arms. Naturally I thought she was just being a nag of a mom and didn't think I needed it.
Now I beg to differ.
Take today for example.
I woke up this morning to find my hands puffier than a tuba player's cheeks. 10 big fat sausages. Not a good way to start the day. I was cranky. I was frustrated. I was irritated. I was sore. I was feeling heavy. I was feeling bigger than a bloated beached whale. I was not fun to be around. I could hardly deal with my kids' excited chatter after swimming lessons. I couldn't stand the state of my messy house. I was feeling downright rotten.
I knew I had no reason to complain. I knew I have blessings on top of blessings. I knew my life is good. I knew I was being unfair to all those around me. (Thankfully I was sullen, not in the mood to talk so I didn't yell at anyone.) I knew I was being unreasonable. Yet, I couldn't help it. I couldn't shake it. I was downright rotten.
I put the toddlers for their naps, bit my tongue at my urge to tell my older kids to be quiet as they played their game without fighting (there's a shocker. A game with no fighting), and headed up to the exercise bike. I pushed myself thru a 10 mile ride. (I know they say you're not suppose to push yourself when you're pg but I'm all about listening to my body. Today my body said, "go and go hard", so that's what I did.)
When I was done, I felt like a new person. The cloud swirling about my head was gone! I felt like a spring chicken! I was happy! I felt free! I felt light! I felt lucky! I felt great!
After stretching for a good long while, I snuck into my bedroom to work on light switch covers. My 5 year old, who had been sleeping on my bed, woke up and came down onto the floor with me. She played with my stash of purse handles as I assembled light switch covers and we whispered to each other in hushed voices (we won't talk about the fact that Baby still sleeps in the Master Closet.). Both of us relished in our impromptu one-on-one time. I'm pretty certain that had I not exercised, that moment would have never happened.
It doesn't work every time to this extent but I really do hope that I'll continue to work exercise into my weekly schedule. As I tell Hubby, it's cheap therapy. So what if it takes 45 minutes to 1 hr out of my day, 3-4 times a week? It's so easy to be lazy and find a million other things to do instead but I'm a firm believer that if a person wants something bad enough you'll make the time for it. I sometimes think of how easy it would be to not have to exercise but at the same time realize that it's such an "easy fix" that I can't really complain.
The physical benefits of exercise are purely a bonus for me. I'll admit, if I pushed myself harder, I could look a lot better. I could be more toned and fit into smaller clothes, but that's not important to me. Sure, I use that to get me going some days when I'm feeling extra lazy but it's not the reason I exercise. It's the mental and emotional side of it that I love!