Why I’m Glad to have an Able Body

One of the early Boot Camp classes I attended was at Rec Park, where we worked out on the stage and amongst the benches facing the stage.
Everything was still new to me, so I didn’t question any of the exercises Shannon instructed us to do.
Still, I did wonder just a little bit when she told us all to swing one leg over the tops of the benches, and then squat low and go under them.
“We’re climbing over and under benches for a workout?” I wondered.
“I know this might be a little bit challenging for you,” she called to us. “After all, when was the last time you climbed over and under a bench?”
Then she said something that really resonated with me:
“I just want you to remember this: the movement you don’t do will become the movement you can’t do.
“That’s it!” I thought to myself. “That’s just one more reason I’m doing this. I’m keeping my body able.”

That thought has stuck with me.
I remember it every time I have to sprint across the beach to catch my wandering 2 year old.
I remember it when my 5 year old wants me to lift her to reach the monkey bars.
I remember it when my kids want to climb rocks and I won’t let them do it alone.
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Last week our family went camping on the Central Coast.
Our kids are young, but we still hike, and climb, learn the basics of kayaking and seek out lots of active adventure on all of our trips.
This trip was no exception.
One day we visited Montano de Oro state park near Morro Bay.
The long, winding drive into the park is a beautiful one.
But there is one moment, at the crest of a hill, where you look down on a beautiful cove, turquoise water sparkling in the sun, and a huge rock standing guard on the beach.
It’s breathtaking.
Every one of us gasped when we saw it, and there was a chorus of, “oh WOW!!”
Then my son said, “I want to climb that rock.”

It’s no small rock, and there was no way we were going to let him climb around on top of it without one of us with him.
I like heights far better than my husband, so it looked like I was the one going up.
William, my champion climber, went first, and he climbed the slippery sandstone with some difficulty.
A few other people, much younger than me, climbed down slowly and then gave me tips on how to get up, telling me how hard it was.
Then it was my turn.
I found my foot holds, and I scampered right up.
I felt like a million bucks.
“I did it!” I yelled to my 8 year old as I gave him a high five.
“You did it!  We did it!”
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His smile was a mile wide up on top of that rock.
He loves to climb, to explore and adventure.
He hates to be held back.
But at 8, sometimes there are some things that aren’t safe for him to do alone.
If his Dad or I couldn’t do those things with him, he’d miss out.
And as I watched him bouncing around the top of the rock yelling in pure joy, “this place is so awesome!”, I was reminded afresh of why I work out.
I work out for my family.
I work out so I could give my son that moment.
I work out so I can climb a big rock with him and give both of us the happiness that comes from pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone.
I work out for me, but I also work out for them.

A little bit later, we were exploring another part of the park.
We found giant sand dunes that every kid immediately wanted to climb.
Our legs sunk into that soft, slippery sand, and it was a long climb to the top.
I thought of running the bleachers and the hill, and ran as hard as I could to the top.
The view was glorious.
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And the run back down the sand dune was some of the best fun I’ve ever had.
We did it again and again.
We laughed and shouted and had a blast together.
The kids got going so fast they’d lose control and start rolling head over heels.
After we tired of running on the dunes, we climbed down another steep cliff  to the empty beach below.
We explored tide pools and collected rocks.
There was no sound but the crashing waves and happy shouts of discovery over crabs and tiny shrimp, anemones and cool shells.
It was an incredible time of togetherness and the memories we made are ones I will cherish for the rest of my life.
As we climbed back up the cliff and then the dune, I thought again about having an able body.
It is a gift.
If I wasn’t fit, I wouldn’t be enjoying this adventure.
Or worse, I might not even be able to take part in it.
There would be so much I’d miss out on.
It made every early morning workout, every sore muscle, every bit of hard work so worth it.
I am so glad I am keeping my body able.
I am so glad to be keeping my body moving, and that I don’t have to say to my kiddos, “Mommy can’t do that.”
I am so glad I don’t have to miss out on moments like these.
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These people and our adventures sure keep me motivated to live fit.
What motivates you?
Is there one activity you’ve been longing to do, or do you just want to be able to run with your dog on the beach?
Do you have children to play with, parents to help, or a partner you want to hike with?
Whatever your motivation, remember it the next time your boot camp instructor asks you to do an exercise that pushes you.
Remember that you want to keep moving.
Remember you want to live a beautiful, active life!
Now keep on Living Fit!