I have a confession: I love exercise. I dig it, savor it, cherish it, crave it, revel in the endorphine-induced highs and bask in the DOMS-laden lows. I arrange my life around my workouts, and absolutely enjoy pushing my body and self physically, emotionally, and mentally. Just like coffee, I need my daily fill of exercise to stay healthy, happy, and, well – ME.
I finally went to the doctor after a week long miserable cold and was prescribed NO exercise for an entire WEEK. Zero, zilch, nada, not even a tough yoga routine. It’s unfathomable and sounds like torture, but it is my fault. Since I refused to rest and recover properly last week, my cold escalated into full-blown bronchitis teetering on the edge of pneumonia. If I don’t rest, I’ll be out for months – which is the only thing more impossible than getting through the next week without stepping foot in the gym, ocean or track.
Taking a step away from my vices makes me take a hard look at who I truly am. Yes, I love working out – but it’s not just the act of it that has me hooked. It’s the fact that I’m perpetually building towards something – a greater, faster, leaner version of myself – that gives me purpose and positivity each day. Fitness makes me more focused, happy, and driven in other areas of my life. Taking it away leaves me clinging to a more stripped-down, bare and true version of the woman I’ve become. And it’s important that I love her, too, even if she can’t run ten miles this Sunday at race pace.
It’s great for our health when workouts become so ingrained in our daily lives that they represent a part of our well being and identity. But fitness alone, whether its body weight or shape or leanness, shouldn’t predict our happiness. The key is to be happy with you are first and foremost, and utilize exercise as a daily act of self-love. That is true success – and the health and happiness we should all strive for.