Sweat & Smiles: My Love Letter to Exercise
I was lying in bed thinking of all the things I want to write about and I kept thinking how much I’d like to write about exercise but the topic seems too broad. There are so many ways to do it, so many different schools of thought, so many different practices. How do you break down something like exercise into a writing topic. The definition of exercise (at least in reference to what I’m meaning) is: activity requiring physical effort, carried out especially to sustain or improve health and fitness. To me, exercise is simply the act of intentional movement; a communion with the body, if you will. What exercise means to me really got my wheels spinning and finally I had a thought, I love exercise, I could write exercise a love letter. And so I will.
Thank you for presenting yourself as bike riding, dodgeball and playgrounds so I’d learn to love you as a child. I’m ever so grateful that you gave me the space to avoid you and give you half effort as a teenager. I’m sorry that I thought of you as something I had to do instead of something that I got to do.
As an early adult I came to you feeling broken, defeated, and stuck and you didn’t care how out of practice I was, you were grateful I was there at all. You didn’t care how long I stayed, the number of reps, the amount of weight… you met me exactly where I was. Slowly you built the confidence. Time spent with you reminded me how whole I was. You led me to triumph in more ways than one. You inched self-worth into the fibers of me each time I showed up. Sometimes things got really emotional, you brought out the very best and the very worst in me, and each time I learned more about myself. Even on my weakest days, you made me a little bit stronger.
As I got better and more practiced, I got a little bit full of myself. I wanted to compete, I wanted to be better than fellow exercisers. I broke the communion. And you were always there to humble me. Again, you met me where I was. The only thing that ever mattered to you was that I showed up. I can ignore you for weeks on end and when I come back you are waiting for me like a faithful friend. There to give me exactly what I need.
You’ve seen me through so many stages of life now. During pregnancy you had my back, literally and figuratively. Thank you for making the delivery of my child a little bit easier. After I had my child, I thought that I had lost pieces of myself, I couldn’t see myself as clearly. You were there for me in those early days reminding me that I deserved time to myself. You reminded me of who I am. You helped me put the pieces back together. You didn’t care that I wasn’t as good as I once was, in fact, you didn’t even notice. And true to your ways, you brought me back stronger than ever.
Most importantly, I want to thank you for improving my quality of life. All of the time I’ve spent with you has made me stronger: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. You’ve made me a better person, a better wife, mother, daughter, friend, trainer, coach and now writer. You’ve given me a better life, and for that I am eternally grateful.