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Why Do I Exercise?

Michelle Rothwell here. Happy New Year to everyone. I am going to talk about exercise and its impact on my life.

I have been a pretty active individual my whole life. Beginning in my school years, I was a competitive swimmer and also played basketball and volleyball. After college, I got away from regular exercise, and boy did I pay for it! I gained weight and felt sluggish and lethargic. So, I got re-energized with aerobic classes and lap swimming and focused on being more active.

Why do I exercise? I do it so that I can live longer and feel better. I am 68 and still very limber, have good balance, and can still touch my toes and sit cross-legged on the floor and get up! I don't wake up with chronic pain every day and am not on any prescription medications. I am also motivated because my husband Terry and I love to eat, and exercise helps stave off weight gain.

Back in 2011, I started going to a neighborhood CrossFit group that met every morning at 7. CrossFit is a military-style exercise program that focuses on muscle confusion and core strength. We use lots of weight-bearing exercises and also basic core moves – sit-ups, squats, pushups, etc. I have stayed with CrossFit and after COVID began, Terry built a small gym in our garage where I work out every morning. I have a pull-up bar, a weight bench, a box jump step-up apparatus, kettlebells, and bar weights. The most amazing thing that happened is that two years after starting CrossFit I had a bone density test and my doctor said I had bone growth in my spine! I told the doctor about my weight lifting and she said that was probably why I had bone growth.

I also learned what is most important to sustain an exercise program:

1. Remember how much it helps you – your mood, your outlook, and your body

2. Maintain consistency – try to have a regular time set aside for exercise and DO IT!

3. Set goals for yourself based on what exercise you do – it could be a time goal – i.e., 15 - 30 minutes a day or it could be a distance goal – how far you walk

4. Track your exercise. I keep a spreadsheet of my daily workouts and have been doing this since 2011 so I can compare the workouts and the time with similar previous workouts – kind of fun to do this

5. Work out with a friend – or a group of people. Villages Zoom exercise classes are great for that!

6. Keep moving and have fun! I work out with music and it helps to move with the music and hear your favorite songs.

If you aren't currently exercising, decide what you want to do and start small!


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