Published in Vida sana by Janint Young on October 4, 2013

Translated and adapted by Anders Peterson from the original article "No es egoísmo ni vanidad, es cuestión de salud física y mental" by Janint Young

There is no doubt that doing exercise is a vital part of everyone's life. It does not matter the age, gender, employment or financial situation. However, women are a source of joy and life for many people that surround them. I love doing exercise, it is my therapy, a luxury that is not expensive, a privilege and a great opportunity to find my inner self and make new friendships. It is neither selfishness nor vanity - it is a necessity.

When I was in high school, I decided to attend the volleyball try-outs in order to join the team. The truth is that I wasn't a really good player, but they needed enough players to have a good team. So, I finally got a number nine on my shirt. I was on the bench most of the time for every game. When I got an opportunity to play, my heart would begin beating, my hands would fill with sweat and my face would get red. In other words, I was really nervous. After making a few good passes, I would make some wrong passes and I would return to the bench.

Why did I continue participating? I did it because the morning trainings gave me opportunity to run, to do sit-ups, to run up and down the bleachers and to stretch. I felt happy. Now, I understand that I was releasing endorphins. At that time, I just felt satisfaction for completing something. Even though I never became a star player in my team, my physical condition was at its best.

Nowadays, as a mother and wife, I find myself in a situation where I have limited time to exercise. My workout time is my time and it is sacred.

If you have lived a sedentary life, I recommend that you start by doing something easy, such as going on walks. You don't have to turn to extreme sports to get benefit. Before starting an exercise program, see your doctor and consider your current physical condition. Then, make a plan that will work for you.

Here are five reasons to exercise:

1. You will have greater mental and emotional health

If you are a young mother with toddlers at home, you deserve my highest regards. You, more than anyone, need an escape even if it is for an hour. Looking after young children requires a lot of energy and attention. Working outside the home can also put a lot of stress on women. Exercise gives you a chance to clear your mind and relieve the pressure you're under.

2. You will feel more energy

Exercising rejuvenates you. It is very satisfying. Contrary to popular belief, it does not wear us out, but it gives us the extra energy we need to have a better performance in our daily activities.

A woman's work never ends. There is always someone to feed, clothes and dishes to be washed, bills to be paid, homework to be done, sport practices, doctor and dentist appointments and a house to be cleaned. Aside from all of these tasks, you may have a full-time or part-time job, volunteer in your community, your church or your kids' school. You need to find time to recharge your batteries to continue with your activities.

3. Your physical health will improve

Exercise is good for our mind, it strengthens our cardiovascular system and it keeps our muscles and blood flow strong. In addition, it helps us maintain healthy bones, which is very important for women in order to avoid developing osteoporosis. As we exercise, we are able to decrease the effects of aging. It can help control diabetes and heart disease.

My neighbor jogs three times a week and she jogs a total of six miles every time. This means that she is running 18 miles weekly. She is thin and enjoys a healthy physical condition. She told me that obesity runs in her family. While her relatives face serious health issues, she is doing great because she takes time to exercise.

4. You will be an example for your family

It doesn't matter if you are single, married, have children or not, exercising will be beneficial to you. Furthermore, it will also be a positive influence for your family. You may invite your children, grandchildren and even your spouse to practice simple exercises with you. These activities may include walking, biking and jogging. If you desire a peaceful moment to exercise, you may do so alone. Your example will speak louder than words when you talk to your loved about exercising.

5. You will be able to maintain a healthy weight

My daughter's pediatrician recommended that I modify her diet in order to have a healthy weight. In addition, he recommended that she exercise at least five times a week in order to lose weight.

I recommend that you find time to ride your bike, jog, practice yoga or enroll in a Zumba class. Set aside time in your agenda and mark the dates in your calendar. Prioritize. Do not postpone exercising. The time is now. Put on your tennis shoes and go for a walk.

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