I’ve worked out my whole life. My mother recalls days when her friends marvelled at the hilarious child who faithfully tuned into Citytv’s 20 Minute Workout and tried to keep up with three ladies in spandex performing aerobics on a rotating platform. From there, I graduated to treadmills, stepmills, step, spinning, cardio and bodypump classes. Throughout, I recall women inquisitively questioning why I exercised so regularly, since, as they saw it, I was already “skinny”.
I never worked out to change the way I looked. I was content with my body. I worked out because of how it made me feel. Movement causes me to come alive. I feel euphoric being part of a crowded room, music pumping through my veins, heat trickling out of my face, engaged in a daily ritual of rhythm, physically relating to similarly devout individuals whom I don’t know outside gym walls. I relish finishing, exasperated, lying on the floor, my heart hammering out of my chest.
To me, movement, like breathing, eating and sleeping, is something I always just needed to do. It was never complicated. I’ve simply always made adjustments to my life so that I could move. In law school and into my career, I would wake up at 5:00am so that I could move before planting my body at a desk for the day. When I had my first child, I found a gym that offered childcare. When the second child came along, I opted for DVDs I could play in my own living room while my children played or slept. When my kids entered half day programs, I found a group of mothers who would fit a run in before pick up.
I never contemplated a life without movement. I can’t even fathom what that would feel like. A body fading from disuse. The idea of living stagnantly is so foreign, it actually terrifies me. I conjure up images of diseased organs, like the photograph of rotting black lungs slapped onto cigarette packs. I picture a frightful future of mental decay; not knowing my name, sitting in a wheelchair being fed pudding by a stranger in a nursing home. I believe I was made to move because movement is life. And so, for as long as I’m alive, I’ll move.