My start in the world of fitness began in my early 20’s with a stair-stepper tucked into a corner of our tiny 800 square foot home, and quickly became an integral part of my identity. Soon after, I discovered the mini-trampoline and found that bouncing senselessly provided immense joy while tightening my tummy and burning calories! The jump rope also became an exciting action toy, as did the hula-hoop, ice skates, roller blades, and tennis rackets. My husband and I often rode our bicycles on the trails that ran alongside the Arkansas River near our house in Pueblo, played street hockey with burnt down candles for pucks, and took advantage of the basketball hoop in the parking lot of the First Baptist Church that was located across the street from our little home. I soon fell in love with running and found delight in anything that was active.
A few years ago we bought a home at the base of the foothills of Pikes Peak. This precious little haven is full of odd nooks and spaces begging to discover their own personality. I designated one of them to be my new fitness headquarters and thanks to the patience of my husband, proceeded to fill this little room with a Craigslist supplied treadmill, spinning bike, Total Gym, Bosu ball, punching bag, mini-tramp, T.V., various weights, and a lot of Irish/American sweat. This little part of heaven we live in is also very near a historic landmark known as the Manitou Incline. This one mile, 2000 vertical foot staircase has become one of my main fitness routines, and at 31 years of age, I have more energy, physical ability, endurance, and faster recovery from illness than I did at 21.
Through all life has to offer, working out provides me with strength, joy, and a fresh perspective. Even my 3-year-old nephew understands my need to move. From the time he was 18 months old, he played with dumbbells and hula hoops while my treadmill and I kept rhythm together. He has been fascinated with my tummy as I did crunches and looked like a fish out of water trying to mimic push-ups. My husband also wisely understands that if “Jodi ain’t workin’ out, Jodi ain’t a happy girl”, and accommodates my exercise addiction.
I became fascinated with fitness for a few different reasons, not the least of which, of course, was body toning. At the lofty height of 4 feet 11 ½ inches, my petite frame boasts a pear shape that my husband loves but clothes don’t. I believe Jabez portrayed just one of the many differences between men and women when he penned his plea to God to enlarge his borders! That is one prayer you will not find me repeating! 🙂 After 10 + years of dedicated exercise, I am well aware that perfection is unattainable. My thighs will never lose their little dance of excitement whenever I move, and my backside still gives a nod to cottage cheese. But, the dance in my thighs is less a jig than it used to be, my jeans are less cruel, and I actually dare to sport a bikini!
Fitness offers the ability to experience and enjoy the many facets of fun that life has to offer. On our wedding day I promised my husband that love me or hate me, he would never be bored! He will tell you that to this day I have kept that promise! Rock climbing, white water rafting, hiking, dancing, skiing, scaling 14ers, and chasing a 2-year-old are some of the ways that fitness has helped me make that promise a reality.
Regular workouts also give the capability to recover more rapidly from injury and illness. I recently endured a physically traumatic and painful miscarriage that left my body feeling ravaged, exhausted, and, well, lifeless. Being fit made the recovery process smoother. But the truest reason that I have a love affair with fitness is the emotional and mental therapy exercise provides. Only a few days after losing our tiny one, I knew what I needed to do. I needed to run. Simply run. Not run away…just run. I needed an adrenaline rush and a release of emotion. I needed an energizing-head-clearing-I-will-survive run! Nope, I don’t live to exercise, I exercise to live!!
No matter what physical condition you may be in today, get out there! Go for a walk or for a bike ride, hike local trails, play tennis, climb the Incline, go dancing, or take Fifi to the dog park. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do, but get active. Exercise to live!!!