As a young adult in my 20's I started to really notice how unhealthy the women in my family were. They were all obese and my mother and grandmother developed Type 2 Diabetes resulting in my grandmother needing to have her leg amputated. Learning about proper diet and maintaining my weight suddenly became a priority for me. I did not want to experience the quality of life that I saw my mother and grandmother experience.
I was not athletic as a kid. In fact I hated to sweat so I avoided any activity that would cause me to. However I came to realize that exercise was a necessary component of weight control and optimum health. At age 23, I joined a gym and started taking aerobics classes. A few years later, when I was about 30, a friend challenged me to run a 10K race with her in Santa Cruz. A trip to the coast sounded fun so I accepted, started running and finished my first of many sweaty races.
That was 35 years ago. I still run. Because I can. I was never very fast and now I am even slower. But it doesn't matter. I keep running because of all the things it does to make me a better me:
-My blood pressure and heart rate are lower now than when I was in my 20's.
- I have pretty good looking legs for my age!
- It gives me energy to do other things I love like run after my granddaughters and my dog.
- It's the best stress reliever I have found.
- I have had many good laughs with friends when we run together. What a great way to start the day!
- You can multi task when running: My best friend and I planned an entire women's retreat during our weekly runs!
-It's a great way to explore a new place when traveling.
- Sometimes when I run alone, it may be the only time of day that I can be alone with my thoughts. Which is why I run early in the morning. Its quiet and often I get to experience the sunrise.
But there have been some unexpected benefits of running:
- Running gave me the confidence to challenge myself in other ways. I learned to swim in my 40's and started cycling.
-It's taught me discipline. Its not always easy to get up at 4:30 in the morning to run in the dark but afterward, I feel so much better for the rest of the day.
- It has taught me that its ok to be physically uncomfortable and I have a better pain tolerance now.
-It's made me stronger, mentally and physically.
Although I do other forms of exercise, running will always be my favorite. When I look back over the years, I realize what an impact running has had on my life. I believe that running has helped shaped me (physically and mentally!) into the person I am today. What a gift!
Do you have a favorite form of exercise that has impacted your life? Please share in the comments.
Be well friends!