Here’s Why I Work Out For Myself, Not Anyone Else

I never used to be able to run the mile in high school gym class without stopping. After quitting gymnastics and basketball in elementary years, I noticed I lacked the energy and stamina of my friends who continued to play sports.

I didn’t like that very much. But, you know what else I didn’t like? Sports. I like watching them but it never felt natural for me to play them. It’s not something I ever wanted to do.

I jumped on the exercise bandwagon in 1990

In 1990, I decided that doing Jane Fonda workouts would be a good idea to keep me where I wanted to be. I wanted to be able to run and not feel like I was going to pass out.

Then, when Cindy Crawford came out with her workout video, I put it on my Christmas list. I’d put in these VHS tapes religiously and sweat away after school each day. When I went to college I started teaching step aerobics and I absolutely loved it. It kept me moving and feeling good.

Now, I have three teenagers and will be forty-six this year and my daily workouts have stuck with me, they mean something else than they did when I just wanted to get in shape and look good in my younger years.

Exercising isn’t only about fitting into my jeans

Back then fitting into my Guess jeans was important to me and I’m not afraid to admit that. I loved teaching and working out with other women during my college years but my love affair with moving my body has grown far past what it does for my looks.

After having kids going out for a walk, or getting half an hour alone to jump around helped me clear my head. It was something I could do for myself that made me feel fulfilled and satisfied.

Some days the last thing I want to do is work out

Believe me, I’ve had many days when the last thing I feel like doing is exercising. I am human and my bed and sofa are very comfortable. However, I love my body, my mind, and all that comes with it — the good and the bad. And I want to treat myself with kindness and affection.

I look at exercising like an investment. It’s a journey — you have to pay attention to the long game. Do I feel like running right now? I usually don’t but I always love to have completed a run.

Will I be more comfortable if I skip a workout and stay in bed while my three teens are asleep? Yes, but getting up to a quiet house and listening to music that perks me up makes my day better one-hundred percent of the time. I have never regretted a workout. I’ve never said, I wish I didn’t do those lunges.

Here’s why I commit to exercising

  1. This daily practice makes me proud of myself. It’s the one thing I’ve been able to count on through my marriage, having kids, working, and getting divorced, that will help me cope in a positive way. When I do a really hard bootcamp session I’m so proud of myself.
  2. It’s a ritual I know I will always have and there’s comfort in its familiarity and the routine.
  3. I figure out some really tough things while I’m working out. I’ve thought of some of my best stories during a run. I’ve solved many problems in my head while lifting weights. I’ve had some of the most amazing talks with other women while working out together.
  4. It makes me feel good. I wish I could bottle this feeling and sell it because surely, I’d make a lot of money. That feeling draws me back to the burn every day because I know that the hardship of it all will pay me back, times one-thousand.
  5. It feeds my soul. When you find a fitness routine you like and you start doing it because it feeds your mind, body, and soul, that’s when the magic happens.

My kids know when we go on vacation I will be doing a workout in the hotel gym, or our room, before we get our day started. My boyfriend knows the first thing I do when I wake up is get on my running clothes.

Exercising has become part of who I am

This ritual has become such a part of who I am and I can honestly say I’m a better person because of it. There’s something about pushing yourself physically that makes you better mentally. There’s something about trying an exercise, not being able to do it, then working really hard to master it that makes you believe in yourself.

I don’t work out for other people. I don’t do it because I feel like I have to. I don’t do it to look a certain way.

I do it because it makes me a better person; a better mother; a better friend; a better partner. Those are the reasons people work out and make it a lifelong habit. Because when something adds to your life this much, you don’t want to stop doing it over and over again. Even if it’s really hard.

More to Read:

I Don’t Shower and Do My Makeup for Others, I Do it for Myself

About Katie BinghamSmith

Katie Bingham-Smith lives in Maine with her three kids. She is a Staff Writer at Scary Mommy, shoe addict and pays her kids to rub her feet. You can see more of her on Facebook and Instagram .

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