Fitness Changed Me For the Better
Sometimes, when I listen to myself as I talk about the various fitness related activities I do, I think to myself just how drastically my life has changed for the better since I started this whole journey. In 2006, I was overweight, sedentary, and completely uncomfortable in my own skin. While I didn’t recognize it at the time, it held me back from a lot of opportunities.
It was in 2007 that I got the idea in my head that I wanted to do a 5k. Don’t get me wrong, I had been working out a little as I worked to lose weight, but I really didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t have a particular goal in mind. I didn’t know it at the time, but I fully believe that one decision changed the trajectory of my life. I’m this girl who used to despise running, but now not only is it something I love, it’s something I crave.
They say that running is therapy and while I don’t believe that it’s a substitute for therapy, I do believe that it is therapeutic. There is nothing better after a hard, stressful day than lacing up my running shoes and leaving it all on the pavement. What I do know is that when I make fitness a regular part of my weekly routine, I feel better all around, particularly happier and more centered.
Because of fitness, I’m willing to take chances I never would have taken before and try things that scare me, like doing wheel pose on a standup paddle board on Lake Michigan. That was 100% out of my comfort zone, but also so crazy fun. I’ve traveled simply for the purpose of running a race in a particular city and I now fully believe that running is hands down the best way to explore a new place.
Fitness has given me so many memories that I’ll cherish for a lifetime. The couple of times I went standup paddleboarding are amongst my fondest memories of this summer because they are so special and unique. I love going to a yoga class or running a race with a friend. Walking to the top of the Sears (fine, Willis) Tower for Skyrise Chicago with one of my sisters is one of those things I didn’t even know people were allowed to do, but it’s a feat we took on together.
Fitness consistently challenges me to be better, to work harder, to dream bigger – which fuels my desire to do the same in every area of my life! When I started, all I wanted was to cross the finish line of a 5k. Now, I am desperately craving that marathon finish line! I want to PR at races, try new yoga poses, improve my swimming, ride my bike further, lift heavier. There are countless ways how fitness always gives me something to strive for. While life in general should be an ongoing effort towards self-improvement, fitness is one of those rare areas where it’s so easy to set tangible, measurable goals to reach for.
It’s surreal to see how far I’ve come, but I am so glad it’s a journey I decided to take. Fitness makes me want to be better than I was yesterday and it has become a core part of my identity. For that, I am extraordinarily grateful. Losing weight and getting fit are just an added bonus.