Saturday, January 29, 2011

Why do we exercise?

Sometimes I wonder why I work out. Why do I exercise? Why do I keep torturing myself for 20-60 minutes every day (or nearly every day).

My wife exercises. I exercise. I think we urge each other on. I think I can fairly say, and my wife will agree, that she exercises more because I do than the other way around. She does have two brother's who work out (and six packs, yet that's a story for another day), yet not one other person I know of on my side who works out regularly.

So it's just me. I was the first person in my family to get a degree from college (I have three so my record probably won't be broken any time soon) and I'm also the first to exercise on a regular basis.

Now, I'm not saying people in my family don't ride a bike, walk or do something on a treadmill. I think there are a lot of people who at least think about doing that. Yet I am the first and probably only person on my side of the family who "really" works out.

My older brother Bobby used to work out when we were teens in the 1980s. He'd often try to get me to work out with him. Yet I wasn't interested. Later I picked up the hobby of weight lifting and never quit. He did quit. He might lift a weight on occasion, yet I do it nearly every day.

Of course this is nothing new. I remember going with him to Ben Franklin's in 1978 when I was 8 and he was 9, to get candy. Yet he found some baseball cards and spent all of his candy money on baseball cards at 10 cents a pack. I bought none. I wondered why he would waste his money.

He kept trying to get me to collect cards with him, saying they'll be worth money some day. I told him no one would want to buy a stupid card with a stupid baseball player on it. Funny thing was, two years later he quit collecting and I started. Today I'm still going on this hobby (now with my son), and he has never touched a card since.

So here I am lifting weights at least once a week for ten years, and he doesn't. Sometimes I wonder why this is, yet I know the answer. When he quit working out nothing bad ever happened. Working out for him was merely cosmetic. Yet for me, when I quit, I get winded. My asthma gets worse. So for me, it's more than just a hobby. It's necessary. It's a need.

Sometimes I hate working out. Most of the time I enjoy it. I enjoy torching myself. I enjoy the misery I go through for the 20 minutes I'm on the treadmill. Why? Because I like how I feel the rest of the day due to the torture. When I was a kid I didn't like the torture. Of course when
I was a kid I also had hardluck asthma.

Yet the real reason we do what we do is because of choice. I choose to work out. I choose to not feel bad. I choose to have control over my asthma. As a kid we don't get to choose sometimes, because our parents decide for us. As an adult, however, it's all on us. It's our choice.


  1. Haha, NOTHING beats that endorphin high, eh? I can totally agree with that. I'll work out and cough and wonder "WHY am I doing this?"
    Then I'm super stoked and excited all day from doing it, and part of the next day, and then, you know, 24 hours later [even if it's a rest day] I'm all "OKAY TIME TO GO AGAIN!!!"

    I was also *that kid* who hated gym class and exercise until, ironically enough, I was diagnosed with asthma. I really suspect I've had EIA for years, because I started engaging more in gym class and joined dance AFTER my diagnosis and AFTER I started pre-medicating. . . I guess SOMETHING was probably up, eh?

    Loving following your progress on Dailymile -- keep it up! :D

  2. So far the respitrol for asthma is getting his asthma more under control than anything we've tried!