Exercise is one of the most positive, efficient, and inexpensive medicines in our lives, but we often see it as drudgery or something unpleasant we have to do. We can use it to open the door to some fantastic opportunities, allowing us to access some beautiful things. Let me explain to you what I mean.
Exercise can help you explore. Whether you run, walk, bike, kayak, swim or do any other activity, exercise can take you to places of beauty. This weekend, my family and I rented a lake house. On the first day, we went out in kayaks and canoes. We saw a beaver dam, and beautiful birds, and experienced the peace of gliding over sparkling water. The next day, I went for a run and headed down a dirt road that was next to a beautiful stream. It was a wildlife preserve. Instead of looking at exercise as a burden see it as a chance to explore the beautiful nature around us.
Exercise can transform a person and that can be beautiful. I hear stories all the time of people who have struggled with health issues but decided to change their lives for the better with exercise. The stories are beautiful because they inspire others to make positive changes, and they also help us to be grateful for good health and the ability to exercise. I had a double health whammy last year when I had to go to the hospital with a heart irregularity, and then had a month of a zillion heart tests only to end up with no answer why my heart is beating irregularly. Shortly after that, I tore my meniscus and started a recovery that took almost a year. During the past month, I have done an ultra-marathon that I was forbidden by my doctor to do last year because of my heart, and another one that I could only do half the distance because I could only manage to limp. Every run I take now is beautiful and full of gratitude.
Exercise can help you find community. There are local clubs for almost any sport, and you can join regardless of your fitness level. I can only speak for the running community because that is mine, but we cheer harder for the runner who comes in last than we do for the elite runner because it takes courage to show up sometimes. I often think exercise is more social than physical. My friends and I go to a race almost every weekend and we enjoy the race, but the best part is being with each other, laughing, and going out to breakfast after the race. We all need community and I have met all my best friends through exercise.
I have been telling my family for years that one type of race I do, the ultra-marathon (more than 26.2 miles), is accessible to most people regardless of their fitness level. I also told them it would inspire them to see how the runners inspired and helped each other. My husband decided to try one and I cannot tell you how beautiful it was to me when he said, “I understand what you mean now. Everyone helps each other, and no one judges what you can do or how you do it. I’ve never seen a race like this. Thank you.” He wore his race shirt every other day for a week.”
You can find some great opportunities through exercise. I have known people who have made connections that have changed their lives or allowed them to follow their dream. I met the man in charge of a magazine called Georgia Runner years ago because he was a race director. He found out I was a writer and offered me a chance to write for his magazine. That opened other doors for me and allowed me to combine two passions. There are clubs that are designed to help the community. Do some research and see if there is something that works for you. You never know what possibilities might be waiting for you unless you try.