I used to exercise because I had an unhealthy obsession – an eating disorder. I was obsessed with burning calories, even before I had taken any in. After I recovered a bit and my weight stabilized, exercise seemed a dangerous proposition to me. It seemed risky, like the edge of cliff I might fall off of. So for several years I avoided exercise.
Then I became a mother. Nursing my baby wasn’t enough to burn off all the pregnancy weight, so I started walking. Later when I progressed to more strenuous exercise, I discovered I liked the way I felt after a hard cardio workout. I began to crave exercise for the calm and relaxed feeling it gave me.
I’ve been exercising regularly or semi-regularly since my first child was about six months old — mostly to keep in good physical condition, but also to add structure to my stay-at-home life. It wasn’t until after I moved overseas, however, that I realized my mind also needs exercise.