Exercise: it does a body, mind and soul good!
Okay, so I’m sure we’ve all heard something similar to the title of this blog at some point in our lives. Either a friend’s told us, or we’ve read a magazine article about it, or maybe even our family doctor has shared this sage advice.
We know the physical benefits of exercising—improve heart health, increase muscle strength, ward off disease, etc. But we often forget the mental benefits of exercising.
For me, going out for a run is usually a great way to unwind. It allows me time away from other distractions to think, or to plug into my music and let the worries slip away. I come home tired, yet energized. My mood is lifted. I feel empowered. I feel stronger—mentally and physically.
As a mom who’s been called “other-focused”, I admit that I have a tendency to take care of others before myself. Trying my best to ensure that others have what they need.
Just the other day someone tried to explain why it’s important for me to make sure I have what I need emotionally and physically, too.
“It’s good for your health and well-being.”
“No one else will take care of you as well as you should take care of yourself.”
“It’s good for you to model for you daughters that taking care of yourself is important.”
My friend and I both chuckled when I admitted that if there’s one thing that would motivate me to do my best to be healthy, it’s that last reason she gave. I’ll do almost anything if it’ll benefit my girls. Of course, my friend smirked a little as she reminded me that with “other-focused” people, explaining how their actions might benefit someone else can be the best motivator. 🙂
So, this past weekend, I took some time for myself. Sure, it’s a little easier for me since I’m a single mom and my girls are all out of the house now. But my schedule is so jam-packed, I almost backed out of the weekend. Nearly convinced myself I had too much to do. Too many projects at work and at home to warrant going away for a long weekend. But ultimately, I hit the road and the ocean.
I made the drive to Ft. Myers, Florida from my current home town, hopped the Key West Express ferry shuttle, and sailed to my old home town to run the Key West half marathon.
Mind you, I hadn’t trained since I spontaneously decided to register for the race less than a month ago when an old high school friend let me know she was running. Hence one of the arguments I tried to use during my “should I-shouldn’t I go” debate—13.1 miles without training, are you crazy?
But I challenged myself to compete, justifying it as a chance to set my benchmark for 2014. Let this race time be a starting time for 2014, with my goal being to improve by the end of the year. Just like I’ve set a 2014 goal to improve in other areas of life.
And guess what, not only did I finish, but I finished in one of my best race times ever! Granted, it wasn’t a personal record and I did finish a little less than an hour after the #1 female racer, but my time of 2 hours, 19 minutes, 43 seconds was definitely respectable. In my eyes anyway.
I finished that race much like I finish a regular run—feeling energized, empowered and stronger. What better example can I set for my daughters? What better example can I set for myself?
Two days earlier my girlfriend had met me at the ferry landing holding up a sign that read: Priscilla Awesome Runner. We had laughed together as we hugged hello. Post-race, we grinned as she bragged about how prophetic her sign had proven to be.
Awesome Runner isn’t a bad title to have. For me though, it’s more important to be Awesome Mom or Awesome Person. Regular exercise, staying healthy allows me to constantly strive for both.
What about you? Is running your go-to exercise? Or what do you regularly do to help your physical and mental well-being?
Tags: exercise, good health, half marathon, Key West, mental-well being, physical well-being
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Congratulations!!! You ARE an awesome runner! To not be trained up and still complete a half-marathon? Say what?!? LOL!!!
Priscilla, I’m in the worst shape EVER. So today I’m starting back at the YMCA. I’m a little envious of you being able to run. I’ve always been in the best shape when I run. BUT–and it’s a big but that I can no longer ignore–I have a problem with my right knee. A lot of that, admittedly, is because I’m not very flexible. I need to do yoga.
The knee goes out after a couple weeks of running. Medicating with Advil to stave off the pain is not an option. I have to go easy with NSAID’s ever since I found out that I have a rare liver condition that requires me to watch Advil and all alcohol! (It’s not hepatitis or fatty liver disease but something genetic; it’s okay to live with if I take good care of myself).
So anyways, I have to stick to indoors-y stuff and walking. But part of me still doesn’t want to give up being able to run!!! I think what I’ll do is get really fit in the gym, and then after a year of that (including yoga) I’ll try to run again. I’ll be more limber, strong, and my cardio capacity will be way higher.
In other words, you’ve inspired me! I want to be able to run at least a 5K!!!
Keep going. This is YOUR time.
Kieran – you TOTALLY can do a 5k! It’s ALL you girl. Don’t envy. Just start. Yoga is the coolest workout — I call it the silent looking burn. It looks so easy and then you try it and your tail is SORE!!!!
Kieran, it’s not about the type of exercise, but the fact that you are getting up and moving. If you like running, have you tried the elliptical? It’s a similar motion, but much easier on the joints.
Yoga is great exercise. I bid on a membership to a local yoga place at a silent auction a while ago, but still need to cash it in. Actually, I lost the certificate and recently found it– hence why Robyn’s organizing blogs she recommended yesterday are probably a good idea for me to visit. 🙂
It’s never a good idea to try to mask pain with ibruprofin or naproxin or motrin long term. Listen to your body. Do what keeps you healthy, but doesn’t bring you pain– well, that hint of discomfort in your muscles the day after a new exerice is okay, it lets you know you’re working your muscles. But the kind of pain that requires medication… not a good idea.
I’m so proud of you for heading back to the YMCA. You go, girl!
Wow. You go girl momma writer runner! (From another momma runner)…
If I had said FIT 8 years ago it took on a whole different meaning… I just “Fit” into whatever I could was my motto. I was living in a body I hated after years of emotional eating of not dealing with my childhood, parents divorce, taking on 2 sisters at a young age and a battle with cervical cancer. Oh I was tired of being tired, sick, and “existing”. I woke up one day in a Kroger. After failed relationships and ongoing health battles, I owned my issues. I saw a woman (mom – 30 something) with a child fall to the floor to her death (heart attack). She was morbidly obese like me. It was a serious wake up call.
Anyway 8 years later, (and a half a person from my previous 275 lb small frame) I’m no elite but I am FIT (the good kind). I still have issues with the other “F” work (fat). Why is it when women look in the mirror we think we are fat. Ugh!
Anyway I “interval” ran the Houston half marathon completely untrained Sunday to help coach 2 other friends to their PR (and I realized how much they were there to get me to finish…ow ow ow 2:47). I usually run a 2:09! More here – I AM SO thrilled for these girls.
Last week I also did something crazy. I accepted the challenge to be a contender for Houston’s Fittest Female Executive. Talk about going a little public with my fear. I’d never see myself in this role (my life has completely turned upside down for the better) because of a fit and healthy lifestyle.
http://fitcompany.com/katiemehnert/ A little hokie huh?
I’m aiming to finish strong with loads of spirit. It’s an honor to even say I’m alive, well, kicking and contending! And that my child (I hope and pray) will not endure the pain of emotional eating, ridicule for being “the heavy girl” and all the drama that comes with it.
Thanks for this post. You got my morning going and reminded me why I was lucky that day in Kroger to get the wake up call I sorely needed.
Katie, it sounds like you ran the same type of race in Houston this past Sunday as I did in Key West– “interval” running. I used the Jeff Galloway method for part of the race: run miles 1 & 2, run 5-6 minutes/walk 1 minute miles 3-10, run miles 11-13.1.
Since I hadn’t trained I told myself to be okay just finishing in less than 3 hours. Finishing in one of my best times (2:19:43) was so uplifting!
My half PR (personal record) is 2:05. I’d love to beat that this year; we’ll see.
But more importantly, I wanted to congratulate you and thank you for sharing your fabulous get fit, take charge of your health and life story! It’s awesome that you’ve accepted the Fittest Female Exec challenge– you GO, girl!!
I’ll definitely try to keep up with your blog– love the feel and theme!
Thanks for stopping again! Hope to “see” you on the PBK mom blog again soon!
Pris, you’re so right. Exercise has always been part of my life too. As a fitness instructor at the YMCA I see first hand how it changes lives, and not just on the physical level, but the mental. It’s a whole community and support system. You make lifelong connections when you exercise together. Just as your friends encouraged you to come participate in the half marathon, I encourage people to bring a friend to class. That’s why I love teaching group ex! We’re all in it together and it’s fun! Great post and congrats on your achievement!
Jan, I’ve always thought it would be fun to be a fitness instructor: not only does your job allow for time to exercise (duh!), but you get to meet all kinds of people who both motivate you and get motivation from you.
Usually I run alone– as I said, it’s great time for me to unwind. But the friendly atmosphere of races keeps me going. And I’m always up for a zumba class if I can make it. 🙂
Thanks for the congrats! It felt wonderful crossing that finish line. 🙂
Running is my go-to exercise. I do boot camp, and I like the days we run!
I’ve never taken a Bootcamp class before, but I’ve thought about it. Almost bought a Groupon for a local class, but the timing was difficult with my work schedule.
Or maybe it was my fear that my wimpiness would be put to the test. 🙂
I’m very slow, but I love running. It’s such a stress buster and it helps me think better. You are an inspiration, Priscilla!
I enjoyed reading your blog, Priscilla! I’m so proud of you for running well but for also finding the deeper meaning in the experience which keeps us coming back for more?
Priscilla – You are awesome every day! Great job on the half marathon. Keep running and stay calm. Carry on…
Thanks for reminding me running can be fun.