I think it’s fairly common that if we’re tired or feeling a little run down, that we start questioning whether the energy we put into a particular area in our life – family, work, personal pursuits – really makes any difference.
I suppose I was in that state of mind when I brought up the subject of working out. As I said to Steve, “I faithfully go to the gym. But why?” There aren’t any Iron Man triathlons in my future, I haven’t worn a bikini since Reagan was president and after 32 years of marriage and three kids, I’m quite sure Steve loves me for who I am and not because I’ve got a hot body.
So, to get myself out of this pit of existential despair and regain some perspective – I appreciate you indulging me on this – I’m going to walk my way through the reasons why I work out:
- I’m afraid not to. Skipping a day of going to the gym is a slippery slope. Sure, it starts with “I went to bed late last night and it’s been a hard week so I’ll sleep in today” and before you can say “bingo wings” – you know, that upper arm flab that waves when a less than fit person raises their arm to shout “Bingo!” – it will have been six weeks since I was at the gym. Then it really will be sooo much harder to go because I’ll feel all fat and gross and out of shape.
- I like working out. I feel blessed that I get pleasure out of an activity that is also good for me. I realize that isn’t the case for everyone. For people like Steve who have the discipline to exercise not because they enjoy it but because they know they need to, my hat is off to them. For me, working up a sweat at a Boot Camp class is easy; sitting still to read a book for an hour, now that’s hard work.
- Vanity and a sense of control. The wrinkles that are appearing as a result of getting old are hard enough to deal with but since a face lift isn’t in my future; the only thing I can do about them is slather on more Oil of Olay. But with exercise, I can improve my muscle tone, balance, flexibility and strength which – along with some Crest White Strips – is going to help me feel and look younger.
- It generates appreciation from my family. My daughters like to tease that “Mom’s all about keeping it tight,” and my son will off-handedly say he knows where he gets his physical durability. I like the ego boost I get from these comments.
- I want to be able to move now and when I’m really, really old. This is really the most important reason. God willing, I want to be the old lady who has a little spring in her step; who can get up and down from playing on the floor with my grandkids (should I be so blessed); who can enjoy walking the hills in San Francisco during a shopping trip with the family.
And in the meantime, I am happy to be able to get the 35 pound bag of cat litter up the stairs.