Why do I exercise?
I have been exercising since elementary school. I wasn’t lifting weights or running sprints, but I was playing basketball. I played every chance that I got. Before my family moved to a house with a hoop, I was given permission by our neighbors to use their hoop, even when they weren’t home. When we moved to Anna, Ohio, we had a hoop in our driveway which I used most days of the week. At this time, I was only a kid and yet I was exercising. Why? Because I felt accomplished when that ball went through the hoop. I learned the value of hard work because the more that I practiced, the more the ball went through the hoop and the more fun it became.
Fast forward to junior high when I started running cross country. That first practice in 7th grade, we ran 3 miles. I remember how impossible that seemed before we started and how accomplished (and tired) I felt after I finished. Later that week, we ran 5 miles. I remember it being the hardest thing I had ever done up until that point. I remember how slowly I had to run, in order to finish the distance and how much I wished it were easier. So what did I do? Every practice, I gave it everything that I had so that I could be good at it. I remember being dragged along by several teammates as we ran an 8-miler one day. I took no short-cuts. Several years and many, many tiring miles later, I would win the 800 meter dash in our district (2 years consecutively). I practiced hard to get to that level of competition, because it gave me a feeling of accomplishment. I felt a rush of adrenaline every time I crossed that finish line in first place, which fed my addiction.
These days, I exercise for similar reasons. Even though I’m not playing high school sports, I still feel that competitive rush when I finish the last repetition of a difficult set. I feel accomplished when I finish my workout after a long day of work because I know that it is making me stronger. I know that it is making me healthier. I know that when I don’t workout, I feel depressed. At this point in my life, exercising is my release from everyday life. Running down the road or on a trail gives me time to escape from all of my daily stress. When I’m exercising, I’m free.
Please let me know if you have any questions!
Dr. Cameron Dennis, PT, DPT