Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Choice To Live Healthy

I was born at a time when people walked more than taking the jeepney or the bus to get to their destination. I grew up in the province where cars and colored  TVs were rare and kids walked, ran and played on barefoot. Those were the days when life had been simple and people had ample time to get fit by simply walking everyday. In fact, I was one of those who chose to walk not just to save on money fare but to enjoy the scenery and clean air as well. When I went to college and stayed mostly in Manila, I still had time to walk for the same reasons and even though polluted air congested the Metropolis with so many vehicles and manufacturing factories, that did not stop me from walking short distances especially during heavy traffic. That continued until I had kids and had become a stay at home Mom for thirteen years until I decided to work again.

Being employed in a call center for more than seven years had its perks and drawbacks.Though the pay is above minimum wage with the additional incentives plus health and dental benefits, the time spent sitting in front of the computer typing, answering calls, taking the vent of customers' frustrations and life stories on graveyard shifts will surely take a toll on one's health. Sadly, my active life as a Mom of seven had drastically then changed to the sedentary, toxic and stressed environment where skipping meals became habitual just to catch up on sleep and hyper acidity, urinary tract infections, constipation and ulcers were acquired in exchange to passing performance metrics. Not only that, exercise became an alien word that even walking and running short distances turned out to be less enjoyable compared to before. And though I had not really gained that much weight, the idea that I am living a sedentary lifestyle was not really good especially that my medical history has a scary statistics of cancer and diabetes, giving me worries and uncertainties with my health. At the back of my mind, I knew I had to start living healthy again before it is too late. That was when I started looking for ways on how to spend time to exercise. Coincidentally, two years ago Convergys became one of the sponsors for the Integrity Fun Run where I grabbed the chance and registered for free as part of the first 300 registrants. My wish had been granted and even though I was unprepared for that first 3K run, the experience became an eye opener which paved the way to my fitness journey.

There had been a lot of challenges and learning along the way. I had learned to sacrifice my rest days, especially Sundays where I wake up at 3am for my weekend run and join the early morning exercise. I had spent and gotten accustomed to going to BCG even after shifts to join the aero at the park not to mention the looks I had received from colleagues when they see me in my running gear, all flushed and sweaty from my early morning runs. Lately I have started joining runs with my youngest daughter who has autism and an avid fan of the sport and lastly, I have again established the habit and my love for walking, where I walk from my place of work on my way home three times a week the most which helped me a lot in dropping those unwanted pounds I had gained from the Christmas holidays. I also have started reading more fitness articles and tips and has slowly practicing some basic yoga moves which I find challenging yet fulfilling.

Nobody ever said that the journey to fitness was an easy one. Though it really helps if you have a fitness buddy or a great support system to motivate you, at times such motivation that comes from within will be enough to keep you going. There will also be days that one will lose focus and discipline especially due to injuries and personal issues. I personally had gone thru that last year when I injured my left foot and had been limping for a week which also coincided to my mom's confinement for almost a month that I eventually decided to go for a LOA. Despite my injury, I did not have any choice but to walk with a limp. It took almost two months for me to get healed and was strongly advised not to exercise if there was still pain even during warm ups until one day, there was heavy traffic and forced me to walk to get to work. That's all it took for me learn it was okay to run again. And so the next day, after two months I had done the inevitable and ran again despite the cloudy weather. Since then, I never looked back.

Next month will  mark my second year on my road to wellness. The bumps and challenges along the way had not lessened my determination to get fit. On the contrary it only added fuel to be more persistently driven to achieve my goals no matter what happens. As I continue to walk, run and exercise rain or shine and even in cold weather, there is the realization that healthy living is a choice and hopefully one day,  it will no longer be a road less travelled by many.

(Motivational running quotes from 


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