Growing up, you would never consider me someone who exercised or, heck, even cared about my own health. I spent countless Saturdays going to my brothers’ soccer games, watching my younger one play basketball, getting bored out of my mind, and just not doing much physical exertion myself. I read books.
I lived for books. I would rather read than run. I would rather read than exert any physical energy. I was out of shape because it just didn’t interest me. I’ve never been able to touch my toes (still can’t). Fitness just wasn’t my thing. Then something happened. The 1992 Albertville Olympics. I watched Kristi Yamaguchi win the gold medal in figure skating and was hooked on the Olympics. Soon after, I found out about the Summer Games. What? Amazing. Everyone coming together from around the world in the name of sport. I needed to be a part of this! But I’m not athletically inclined.
I tried figure skating, but as a preteen I was already late to the game. And when my coach tried to get me to learn jumps, forget about it. In high school, I felt the need to take on an extracurricular activity so I started running, albeit slowly. To run, you don’t have to be fast. You don’t even have to be good. Just put one foot in front of the other and you eventually get to the finish line. Over time, for me this has progressed to marathons. I’d like to say I run marathons, but it’s probably more accurate to say I complete marathons.
I’d always dreamt of visiting Olympic sites, but it is easy to push off travel and trips for one reason or another. I’m frugal and driven by maximizing my resources (and had kind of tired of doing the same races locally), so I decided to combine two interests – marathons and the Olympics. If I signed up for a race, I’d be committed to traveling for it. Can’t waste that race entry! In 2015, I started my journey where the Modern Olympics started; in Athens, Greece. I’ve been signing up for and completing races around the world ever since.
On this Women’s Health and Fitness Day, I encourage you to think about your own life. Are you getting enough exercise? Do you take an active role in your health? It is never too late! Find something that interests you and go with it. It’s your chance to be creative. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
- Do you have a favorite podcast? Try going for a walk, run, or bike ride while you listen to the newest episode each week.
- Never been much of a cook? Commit to researching a healthy new meal each week and then make it.
- Are you a social person who doesn’t thrive under solo exercise? Ask a friend to meet you for a walk. You can enjoy their company while getting your exercise in.
- Do you enjoy swimming, biking, and running, or want to challenge yourself? There are many mini triathlons to look into. Start small and see where that takes you.
As with any change to your exercise routine or diet, you should always consult your doctor to make sure it is the right move for you. You don’t have to become the next Simone Biles, Kristi Yamaguchi, or Bonnie Blair. Become the first you.