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What Drives You to Work Out?

What Drives You to Work Out?

By Sheryl Kraft

Created: 09/18/2009
Last Updated: 10/29/2019

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I've been exercising for so long it's hard to remember when it all first started. After I got diagnosed with breast cancer one of the questions people asked (after "did anyone in your family have it?" - the answer was no, by the way) was "did you always exercise?" (the answer was an emphatic "yes, I did").

If I think back to why was always active, the first thing that comes to mind is that I've always had pretty high energy. And when I was younger, it was more boring to stay in the house than to stay out, so I was always outside, running around with all the other kids, joining in whatever we played at the time - kickball, volleyball, basketball, or just chasing one another around the winding streets of my neighborhood.

I wonder if we had organized school sports teams for girls as they exist today if I would have been a member. I'm sure I would have joined the basketball team (I was tall) and maybe even the track team (my nickname was "spider legs"). The closest we came to anything "organized" was in gym class, doing our daily exercises to Robert Preston singing "Chicken Fat."

And then, as I became a teenager and more body-conscious, I continued my exercise, but for the purposes of looking good in a bikini. That was my sole incentive: Vanity.

And now? Well, now I'd say exercise is primarily on my must-do list because of it's many health benefits. If you were to start at your head and go all the way down to your feet, I'd say almost every part of your body along the way benefits from exercise: your and lung function, heart, blood pressure, immune system, joints, bones, um, and of course, balance.

And then, there's that huge gift - stress reduction and just plain enjoyment. The many benefits of taking a walk (not necessarily like a maniac, but slow and steady) can't be denied. Weight control is up there, too, but unfortunately it has become harder and harder to achieve anything close to being able to don a bikini. Besides, most of us don't have that kind of time...

Sure, it's not always easy to be disciplined and stick to an exercise routine, but I really do try. There's that little voice nagging at me, telling me ,"go do it and you'll be so glad you did." And 99 times out of 100, that voice is usually spot on.

So, I wonder: Why do YOU work out? What drives you?

And if you don't work out - what's stopping you?

Read more about fitness here.

And, while we're at it, you might also be interested in:
Exercise for your bones:
Another reason to exercise: it's not just about the fat


Oh yes, definitely fitting into my jeans! When they start to get a bit snug, I know it's time to ramp up my routine.
And I wish I had exercised when I was pregnant - it was not encouraged like it is today (that makes me sound so old :( but things have really changed in 20+ years! When the kids are older, Jennifer, you'll certainly have the luxury of longer workouts.

I'm pregnant and I find I need to exercise every day, even though that often is just in the form of biking my kids to and from school (4 miles round trip, actually a little less). If I don't I feel too heavy and get cranky. I wish I could find a way to make more time for a LONG exercise routine at the gym -- a class, weights, a shower afterwards. But I figure they'll be time enough to indulge in that when the kids are older!

Staying healthy (and fitting into my jeans) motivates me to exercise. I wonder, like you, if I'd been more involved in sports teams how that would effect how I feel about exercise now. I did basketball, but wasn't much of a player. I wish I'd done cross-country.

I'm so glad so many of us realize the importance of movement. I think the key is that you don't have to join a gym to be able to exercise!

Stephanie - Thanks for writing in and I wish you all the luck with your charity event. I'll do what I can to get the word out. And I understand your health struggle and wish you good health!

I totally have to find things that I like or that I know will leave me feeling better after I do it. Sometimes it does *feel* like exercise is an extra thing that has to be squeezed in...that's never a good place for me to stay for too long! Good music helps, or a podcast (This American Life, Fresh Air).

I love your blog, btw!

ALways have loved exercise and when I was a chubby teen in a not so happy home I remember wanting to run. I would try to run around an entire city block but got winded and embarrassed cause no one else ever did this.
The desire to move my body never left and I eventually got into any kind of exercise I could-yes for vanity, fat control--but also because something inside of me wanted to and still does.
I agree with all the women who say they feel better when they do and as a midlife women's feel better coach I can't stress enough, nor echo loudly enough, the idea that it is good for every aging part of us.

I'm lucky like Alexandra and live a 5 minute walk from the beach. I love walking there because it is always different and I make new discoveries with each walk.

Thank you for sharing such valuable information. My name is Stephanie Robin and I am fighting Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer. I was first diagnosed in 2004 at the age of 36. Until cancer touched my life I had never heard of the Breast Cancer (BRCA) gene and had no clue that I was a carrier. I have been sharing my story through my organization, THINK PINK. Each day I am horrified at the number of people I meet who still don’t know that such a gene exists. I am on a mission to share the facts so that my daughter and others have a fighting chance.

I need your help! We’re hosting a charity concert called THINK PINK ROCKS on Oct 3, 2009 in Boca Raton, FL – I’m so excited to see AKON, Melanie Fiona, Shontelle and American Yard! So, if you’re in South Florida I would love to see you. Proceeds will benefit breast cancer charities and research organizations. Buy your tickets at www.thinkpinkrocks.com and while you’re there read the facts about the BRCA gene. You can also click to be counted and acknowledge that you now have the information that could save your life or the life of someone you love. Our goal is to collect one million clicks by Dec. 31, 2009. Share this link with your friends and family. It’s too important not to. Thank you, Stephanie Robin. XOXO

Not to drag the subject back to NY, but I do love how much walking here is incorporated into everyday life. So enjoyable and healthy.

Nancy, tennis or a walk definitely counts as exercise, so I say do what you enjoy :)
And Alexandra, I must mention that I'm insanely jealous of you. I grew up 5 minutes from the ocean, and miss it terribly - what a place to enjoy a walk...lucky you!

I don't work out, and never have, although I probably should. What I do on a regular basis is walk. The exercise makes me feel so much better, really clears the head. We live near the ocean, so there is the double incentive of taking in sea air. Hmm .... think that's what I'm going to do this afternoon.

I personally HATE formal exercise even though I know it's supposed to be good for me. It's always a struggle. Make it fun, like tennis or a walk with my dog, though, and I'm good.

I agree. If I don't exercise, I'm sluggish, both mentally and physically. And I find that it becomes necessary to feel *right*, don't you?

I exercise because if I don't, I feel awful. It's only in the last 10 years that I've been regularly exercising.


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