Why do you workout?
Do you do it for preparation of a race or competition? Do you do it for revenge? Do you do it to recover from an injury? Do you do it just for fun? Do you do it to look better? Do you do it to feel better?
....Do you do it on a boat, would you do it with a goat?--okay, sorry, now I'm getting Seuss-sidetracked.
Anyway, my point is: there can be so many answers to this question; but, I think one of the most important reasons to workout is sometimes forgotten. I'm talking about using fitness to be a role model.
Obviously good health and fitness are beneficial to you both inside and out-- but have you ever thought about how it can be beneficial to those around you?
This is a thought that only recently occurred to me a little over a year ago. I've always been one to treat fitness as a way to keep myself healthy. I like to workout because I know that I am doing something good for my body by keeping it healthy and strong, but I never really thought about how that looks to others/how it rubs off on others until one specific encounter at the gym.
One day I ran into a previous student of mine that I taught when she was in sixth grade. She was with her mom, and they were signing up for a gym membership since she was finally old enough and wanted to work out to prevent injuries in soccer. We got to catching up and chatted for a little bit as I shared some exercises that would be beneficial to her for that goal. She was so engaged in the conversation and asked a bunch of questions. Towards the end of our conversation, her mom thanked me for being a good role model of health and fitness to the kids, and talked about how beneficial it is for the students to be exposed to "people like me" on a daily basis. Her daughter chimed in about how I "make girl muscles cool" (there's that teenage talk for you). I couldn't help but laugh at that, but I was also so touched. I know there are a lot of ways that I can be a role model to my students, but I never thought about this aspect. It was a very cool realization to see that my hobby/lifestyle could influence others in a positive way-- that me working out actually has an effect on others, too!
Fast forward to now, and I still think about this encounter a lot. I also reflect a bunch on how the food choices I've made in front of students and others, and being open about my active lifestyle have affected those around me. I think about some of the great discussions that have sparked with both kids and adults about healthy food choices just from seeing something I was eating, and how I have even influenced both to try some foods that they may never have before! For example, the other week I had a student yell out, "Look Miss P, I have Trader Joe's seaweed crisps today like you!" --bet you never expected a first grader to shout that before. And in terms of being active, I enjoy the fact that being so open about my fitness and active lifestyle has prompted others (again, both kids and adults) to come to me with questions and for assistance, and that it has even second handily served as motivation for some to get out and be more active!
The more I reflect on previous experiences, the more I realize that I really am (sometimes unintentionally) influencing others in everyday life through my fitness; and the more I realize that, the more motivated I am to keep working out and to keep leading a healthy lifestyle!
So, why do you workout??