I can do anything. I am ready to conquer the world.
Even if that means just getting in a 20 minute walk.
Don’t let these running shoes fool you – I’ve never been a runner. But walking, I know all about. Growing up, people would ask me because of my height and build, “Are you a basketball player?” “You must be a dancer?” And I’d have to answer, “No, I play the piano…”
Part of it is just my blood, my genetics that keep me looking like I’m in good shape. My dad was 6′ 3″ and I turned out to be a lanky 5′ 8″, almost 5′ 9″ lady. In a picture he showed me once from his high school days, he was holding up two girls on his shoulders, one on each side. (What a show off!) Before his beer belly took over, I can tell from pictures that he was made of muscle and bone, not a sign of fatty tissue.
So here I am with an athletic build, and no interest in competitive sports whatsoever. Some might call that a shame, but I call it good fortune because something I recently found out is that both my mother and grandma have an enlarged aorta, something that perhaps I am bound to one day discover in myself. I honestly don’t think my heart and body are up to the task of competitive sports or anything super high endurance, especially running. Maybe that’s why my mile run in high school always took me at least 10 minutes. (Or maybe I was just a wimp.) As early as middle school I began experiencing knee and back problems, something that physical therapy helped resolve and regular strength-building routines eased. I stayed away from high-impact exercise like running because it just caused more issues.
But yoga, cycling, walking? Those are so my thing. The best summer ever was when I bought a two-month pass to a top notch yoga studio in downtown KC, sweating and stretching out all the nervous energy I had built up that year in school. Talk about therapy.
I’m not a complete exercise prude, even though I identify more with the artistic wisp crowd as a trained musician. For one, I know how exercising makes me feel. It brightens my mood and makes me feel strong. Second, I believe in the power of taking care of myself, health-wise. I do not want to find out one day that I have diabetes, high blood pressure, risk of stroke or heart attack, am overweight, or whatever myriad of conditions to which lack of exercise and proper diet contribute. Because those run in my family too.
The right kind of exercise can make a wonder of a difference in a person’s life. Maybe my opinion is too strong, but I feel like I have witnessed this in too many people’s lives to not feel this wholeheartedly. I try to walk, ride my bike, or do yoga or floor exercises with weights on a regular basis. I can tell you right now that I will never run a marathon. But what I do makes me feel alive, and I feel the difference it makes in my body. To me, my body is just as much a part of me as are my heart, soul, and mind. It takes just as much attention and cultivating as every other aspect of my health.
In youth group way back in the day, the acronym used for this idea was PIES: Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, and Spiritual health. (Okay, so there was a second ‘S’ at the end that stood for Sexual health, but that makes me blush so I had to put it here in parentheses. I just couldn’t leave it out.) I can’t believe I still remember this acronym, but I also can’t believe how grateful I am for being taught this holistic view of health so early in life.
Are you taking care of your PIESS? Believe me, when you do, it’s like conquering the world one step at a time.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” -Luke 10:27
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” -Deuteronomy 30:19