Here's how the conversation in my home went the other day:
Daughter, H, age 10: Mom, I'm fat. I need to lose weight.
Me: You are too young to think about losing weight. You need to think about being healthy, not thin.
H: Look at this! (points to typical 10-year-old-looking belly)
Me: If you want to do something to be healthy, I welcome you to it.
H: Well, you exercise all the time. Don't you do it so you don't get fat?
Me: Well, no, not exactly.
Son, C, age 9: (now interested too in this conversation) So why do you do it, Mom?
Aren't you all asking the same question? This week, the outside temperature will not be below 90ºF, with heat indexes over 100º. And I will have put in close to 50 miles on the bike and shoes by Sunday. Crazy? Maybe, but here's the truth:
(And you may be surprised how much of my reasoning is mental instead of physical).
1.Cholesterol- Along with everyone else on my side of the family, I have been diagnosed with high cholesterol. My doctor explained to me which numbers correlated with food, exercise, and heredity, and it turns out the only part that is high is the hereditary part. Still, the fact that I need to be medicated for a heart-related condition has opened my eyes to my health. God gave me this temple and charged me with taking care of it. Exercise helps me think I'm doing the best I can.
2. Energy - I have exercised regularly since I was 12 years old, so I don't know exactly what it feels like when you don't. But I DO know that I feel like I can do anything that a 20-year-old can do. Almost.
3. Sleep- If you ever have trouble sleeping on a regular basis, push your body further than you think you can. (consistently.) There is rarely a night I don't fall into bed a happy camper with my body thanking me.
4. Gluttony - My favorite food is ice cream. I just can't help it. And I like the full-fat, good stuff. I even have a tee-shirt that says, "I run so I can eat ice cream." I also like cheesecake. But I don't count calories. I have no idea if I eat more than I exercise, but I need to have something to balance out my eating habits, so I don't have to deprive myself.
5. Hydration - I've never been good about drinking enough water. I like water, which I hear is not too common. But I just don't think of it enough. When I exercise, I KNOW I'm drinking, and I think about it a lot. Though exercise requires more daily fluid, at least I have a reason to remember it!
6. Music - Sometimes, I don't have any other opportunity to listen to my favorite music on my iPod than when I am running. I need quiet as much as I can get it during the rest of the day, but there are those times when I just need to belt out a good beat, even if it's through my shoes.
7. Escape - I do love my children. But there are moments when I need to get away. After directing all my thoughts to 4 different, simultaneous conversations, it's nice to have just one train of thought and let it wander anywhere it wants to go.
8. Writing - That uninterrupted train of thought often dropped me off at the station of "What if?" All of my novels were conceived in the miles of the River Trail.
9. Sanity - I am keenly aware of the hormones that keep me happy. And if I don't get my daily epinephorines, no one wants to be around me. Trust me.
10. Vanity - I hate that I have to put this on the list, but it's true. I feel badly about myself and the way I look when there's a few extra pounds around my middle. Okay. I said it. I like pretty dresses!
Notice that I list the reasons I exercise. You may exercise for other reasons, which is perfectly alright.
You'll also see that on this list, nowhere to be found is "I just love exercising!" Because I usually don't. Running is my main form of exercise, and I think only the truly sadistic and completely brain-washed enjoy running.
So, I still think Nike said it best.
Just Do It.
Because I love even numbers and lists!