I sat at my desk for a good 45 minutes thinking about how to write my story about fitness. It served to be a very difficult task because there has never been an Aha! moment for me. I grew up in Brooklyn and unlike kids today we played outside, rode bikes and jumped rope until the sun went down. A sedentary life was like a unicorn in my life; exercise was the norm. Crazy, right?
It all started with my mom and her inability to run track because of a heart murmur. This ailment kept her from doing what she loved, but she never gave up and instead directed that loving energy through us kids. My mom made every effort to remind us that our bodies should stay in motion, even if it was a three block walk to the train.
At an early age my mom introduced me to dance and I made the decision to continue with it well into my senior year of college. It was one of the greatest times of my life. Ballet and modern dance provided a relief from the world and all its drama that no drug could replicate, and it also served as a self-esteem builder (former shy girls, stand up!). Even with the long hours on the barre, floor work and stretches, I never looked at it as exercise, because exercise was something you didn’t like and I loved dance.
Besides dance, the first memory I have of my independent fitness journey begins in a park full of hookers and pimps on one side and a gorgeous tennis courts on the other side. My public school introduced the program as an alternative to gym. From my first swing I knew I was in love. Hitting that ball across the court, running to recover a serve made me feel strong and fast, which made me feel good. I continued to play tennis in college because it offered the same kind of adrenaline rush dance did and I never looked back.
Over the years I’ve tried several different programs experiencing the same rush each time: my brief golf outings, two years of boxing and now 10+ years of yoga fitness. Exercise became only secondary to eating and breathing because I loved the feeling and having the diversity kept me motivated.
After the birth of my son yoga became my main focus, but I found I didn’t have as much time to work out as I used to. Kids tend to do that. Last year I noticed a little loose skin on my arms (shallow, I know) and made the decision to kick up my work out, adding layers for a fun and diverse (read: not boring) way to get back into the swing of things. I also adopted a paleo or “caveman” eating lifestyle.
Though it has been a little bit of a struggle, I’ve not only noticed the difference in my body and energy levels but also in my husband and son. We’re better as a whole because of that little loose skin, and the journey isn’t even over.