I got my first introduction to exercise in the back of a Jazzercise studio when I was very young. My mom was religious about it. When my mom’s knees started to get bad, she nearly abandoned all exercise and started a gradual weight gain. As my sister and I grew up, my mom was so insecure about her weight that she refused to sit in a family portrait. My sister and I have studio pictures that were taken every year but not a single family portrait. Then, at age 58, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and within months, I watched her get so sick that she eventually couldn’t get out of bed. After my mom died, I changed the way I thought about being active and healthy. I made a very conscious decision that as long as I was alive and able, I would challenge my body to do as much as it could…to be as strong and healthy as possible. It was shortly after that, that I got my training certification so that weight lifting, exercise, and nutrition could be a part of my every day life. I am truly in awe of the human body and the mind/body connection.

I think that all too often, women, especially mothers, feel self-centered when it comes to spending time and effort on themselves. I would remind you that when you are on a plane before it takes off, the flight attendant always gives a safety speech. She tells you that if the oxygen masks are deployed and you are with children, to put on your mask first. Is that self-centered, or is that so that you are in the best possible condition to think and act quickly to take care of your family? A strong, healthy body is your oxygen mask.

There most likely isn’t a woman alive who couldn’t improve in one area of their health. (Not because we’re women, but because we’re human:)) Some of you may exercise every morning, but come home, skip breakfast and hit up Sonic for a coney and Diet Coke at lunch time. Or some may eat 3 meals a day out of their backyard garden, but the most exercise you ever get is carrying the laundry basket from one end of the house to the other (and that’s only when your husband’s not home to do it for you) And many of you do it all. Regardless, all of you are ahead of the curve because you want to learn how to do a little better, and when we improve our health, we are better equipped to take care of ourselves and our families.

The need for health and fitness didn’t stop when we got married, or had children, or got a job, or got older. It goes on for our entire lives. So make the commitment now and try each day to do and be a little better. You are stronger and more capable than you will ever know.

*picture from tumblr.com