body / buddhism / goals / health / mindfulness / vow / zen

Why be fit?

Why be fit?

There are so many choices about how to spend your time in this life. You could become an expert computer programmer, or cook, or wood worker, or New York Times crossword puzzle completer. So why be fit? Why should you spend your time working on create a healthier body? Especially considering that is will deteriorate no matter what you do.

The ephemeral nature of balance in the body can lead us to wonder why bother at all? If you spend more time working maybe you could buy a really, really, nice car that you can drive even if you’re out of shape. But with fitness it takes constant and concerted effort to maintain your investment. Or if you’ve gotten older it may seem like it’s not worth your time to build your body back up. There are many reasons compelling reasons why it’s worth it to bring your relationship with your body into balance, but there are two that come up in my mind first.

First, there are few things in your life you will spend as much time with as your body, so it’s better to make friends with it. Even if you decide that you don’t want to be particularly athletic, regular exercise makes a friend out of your body. That’s what friends do, they go out and have fun together. Maybe your idea of fun is sitting on the couch and munching some yummy snacks. Its very true that can be fun, but good friendship is more than just enjoying company. A good friend also pushes you to grow into all that you can be. Taking walks, getting outside, even going to the gym will assure that your friendship with your body has a deep and abiding quality.

The second reason is contained in the impermanent nature of fitness and the body. Working to find and maintain balance in our bodies is a constant dance that requires our love and attention. There is a joy that can be found in this devotion to health and well being. Of course this devotion can get out of control and become an obsession, but if managed well there are few things that can bring us that much joy. The fact that our fitness is something we have to tend to isn’t an annoyance or an obsession but it is a wonderful gift. The job demands the best parts of ourselves and reminds us how alive we really are. If you’ve ever tended a garden, or taken care of a sick friend, or had a pet you have experienced this fully alive engagement .

Take some time this week to reflect on how you could become friends with your body? What can you do to make sure it’s a long and mutually beneficial relationship? Then take some time to appreciate the dance of health. What have you learned to find balance and peace around? How could you bring the lessons and most importantly the joy you felt in that area into your everyday practice of exercise.

Thanks for reading and Be Well

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