Fitness Redefined

We spend so much time focusing on keeping our bodies fit, that we forget that no matter how many situps we do, how many miles we run, or how many extra plates we add to the weight bench, our bodies will one day no longer be able to keep up with our unrealistic fitness routines.

Our body-conscious society has taken the concept of fitness and turned it into a competition into who can most

Watching morning break over the Everglades is much more uplifting than daybreak at the gym.

Watching morning break over the Everglades is much more uplifting than daybreak at the gym.

closely resemble the Photoshopped models on magazine covers.

We all know about the benefits of exercise as a way to keep our bodies at their best, no matter how old we are.  Exercise doesn’t necessarily add years to your life.  It adds life to your years.

But exercise alone will not make us fit if we sacrifice our  goals and dreams for the sake of a workout. That is, of course, unless our goals and dreams are to become a star athlete.  But, seriously, one look around any neighborhood gym tells you that’s not the goal most people are pursuing.

I always knew this intuitively.  But it wasn’t until an injury sidelined me a few weeks ago that I realized how much time I was spending chasing physical fitness at the expense of the mental and spiritual fitness that truly defined how fit I really was.

I was spending so much time obsessing about my next workout, that I kept postponing many of the things I truly loved to do

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love the way I feel after a workout.  But when forced to take time out to heal, I remembered that there were other things that made me feel just as great, if not more — things I hadn’t been doing.

After a couple of weeks of feeling sorry for myself and looking longingly at every runner I encountered during the day, I slowly began embracing the lesson my injury was trying to teach me.  And slowly I stopped thinking of the injury as a curse and began accepting it for the gift it truly was.

That moment of acceptance was a turning point.

Suddenly, fitness took on a whole new meaning.  It was no longer about getting to the gym at 5 a.m. on a Saturday morning, but seeing how many pages of Wayne Dyer’s “There a spiritual solution to every problem” I could read before heading to work in the morning.

It was about getting back to writing.  It was about spending more time with friends.  It was about eating something because it tasted great, not because it was good for me.  It was about releasing the guilt and enjoying the now.

Most of all, it was about enjoying the things I take for granted.  Like the view from the backyard of my new home.

Then, almost without noticing, the injury went away.  And what was left behind — beside a new definition of fitness — was a powerful lesson: Take care of the inside and everything else falls into place.

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