What being fit buys me

One of my recent slow runs under the hot Texas sun.

I’ve worked for over a year and a half on being healthy. I’ve worked for the past eight months on being fit. I’ve talked a lot about what losing weight and becoming healthy has brought into my life, but I haven’t talked about what being fit has changed for me.

I can go up and down stairs without getting winded or being in pain. Most healthy and fit people take this for granted, but when I was at my heaviest weight, even a flight of stairs would make me winded. Now, I can go up and down stairs, even running, without raising my heart rate.

I am more flexible. This one is weird, but true. As I’ve been doing more exercise, my joints, tendons, and ligaments allow for greater range of motion which makes me far more flexible than I have been for decades. I can sit on our couch with my legs up against my chest, and it feels not only comfortable, but good to stretch my muscles in my legs. It also makes tying my own shoes much easier.

Early morning PT in the National Guard.

Service in the military. This one is pretty obvious, but without being fit, service in the National Guard would have been impossible for me. Now, I can run, do my push ups, do my sit ups, and more importantly, be physically ready for any task or challenge I’m faced with. I’m not the strongest guy in the unit, but I’m able to pull my own weight and do what’s expected of me in my job and then some. It’s important to me to set an example for the junior troops, and I am doing that with my physical fitness.

Ability to do projects around the house. This is something I struggled with when I was fat and unfit. Just lifting a drill would make me break out into a severe sweat. Putting up a shelf was a major job not due to difficulty of the task, but due to the physical toll it would take on me. Something I also never realized before was that the injuries I would sustain while doing these household projects was in large part to being out of shape and unfit. When you drop things or take shortcuts which are unsafe, you tend to get injured more often. I can now tackle projects without it being a problem for my physically.

Running with my son. He motivates me to keep getting better.

Running. Duh, right? What I didn’t expect was that I would enjoy it. I didn’t expect that I would be continuously challenging myself to improve. I did’t expect to become an inspiration to my son who is currently getting into running with me. My wife also enjoys it and it’s something we can share together from time to time.

Body image. This one I didn’t expect either. When I lost a lot of weight, my body looked better (thinner) but I was “Soft.” Now, after seven months of running and push ups, my muscles are looking defined, and I don’t look “Soft” anymore. My arms are more vascular, and my muscles are more pronounced. This has improved my self esteem a bit, and I now like the way I look. I haven’t been able to say that in a very, very long time.

I’m sure there are more things I could list if I think about it, but this is a pretty solid list of the things that I’ve noticed on a daily basis. Losing weight is good for your overall health, but fitness is important to allow you to get more out of life by being physically able to accomplish any task put before you, whether it’s a task related to work or fun.

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