Monday, December 5, 2011

My Evolution of Exercise

When Mr. Butler and I started dating, he went to the gym regularly before class and he started dragging me along with him.  I hated it.  

When we got married, he would get up about 5:30 every morning to go to the gym before work and I went with him.  I still hated it.  

About 2 months before I got pregnant I committed to exercising more than I ever had before.  And I started to enjoy it.  

While I was pregnant I exercised as much as I could.  I regretted not pushing myself more before when I was able to.

Now, I can't go more than a day (I try to do something 6 days a week) without really missing it.  

Last month the NY Times posted an article about the mental benefits of exercise.  For the longest time I associated exercise with a path to lose weight and just a boring prescription for better health that you couldn't really feel.  It just seemed like punishment.  Now, even just today, exercise helps me think.  I'm sure part of it is having a kid and the toll it takes on your brain, but exercising decreases my stress, increases my mental and physical energy, boosts my mood and optimism, improves my body image (even when the image of my body hasn't improved any), and all of those things in part and in whole makes me a better person - wife - mother - friend.

I've often heard arguments against taking the time to exercise, saying our focus as Christians shouldn't be on our physical body, but our spiritual body.  It's true that our spirits are eternal and ultimately what matter most.  But the physical is either going to be a tool or a hinderance. If you have trouble focusing, remembering, staying calm, being positive or staying well, then I'd say your physical body is hindering your spiritual life and exercising could help improve and extend it.

I know as well as anyone how hard it is to MAKE yourself do something that you don't enjoy, that is hard and even hurts to do.  Just know that if you wait to start, it'll only get harder and the sooner you start the more you'll improve and benefit from it.

A year from now you'll wish you'd started today - Karen Lamb

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