Fitness Can Save Your Life

This is a guest post by Roxane Dover of Silicon Valley, California. Rox chronicles her family’s antics, her fitness journey, and a whole lot of other fun stuff on her blog, Rox and Roll.

There’s nothing like getting really sick to make one appreciate healthy living. For me, my wake-up call came in the form of H1N1, which became pneumonia, which became a year of grappling with incapacitating lung issues, some of which will never abate. When I asked my doctor what to do to prevent matters from worsening, he insisted that a strengthening, rigorous exercise program was as important as the mounds of medication I now take. I was no stranger to fitness before getting sick, having played tennis avidly and attended gym classes regularly, but the year off, while necessary, had taken its toll – and the end-game had changed.

Exercise has many benefits, of course, that we all know (weight loss, toning, increasing metabolism – all reasons for my prior commitment to fitness), but I restarted my training program with one primary, new goal: increased physical wellness and the accompanying decreased chance of getting sick.

With that goal in mind, I joined the best gym I could find close to my house. Proximity is important to me; I have young children, and kindergarten is only half-day, so if I have to waste time getting there and back, I’m not going to go as much and for as long.

My gym is a five-minute bike ride from my house (longer if I want to make the ride my cardio warm-up!). After choosing the gym, I needed some refreshers; with my priorities being building muscle mass and endurance as well as developing routines that I could do anywhere – so I hired a trainer.

Luckily, the first six months of membership at this gym come with one hour of training per month – so working out with her every other week only moderately increases my costs. In between, there are plenty of weight training classes, which I alternate with yoga to increase my flexibility, plus the stretching feels great after muscles tighten with weights.

After the first couple of weeks, I was extremely sore, but I remain committed. In a sense, exercise is saving my life. So if the trainer asks for five pull-ups, I give her ten; ten push-ups, I give her 20. I’m already seeing results and feeling better, and I’m hoping that my renewed commitment to fitness will result in the long and healthy life I hope to lead.

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