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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

Why I Exercise

Let me introduce this essay by saying that I love it! Ruth, the author and a friend whom I admire, is an exercise mentor. She makes it all look easy. Back in the day when I used to bike, Ruth would always ride her bike much slower than she needed to because, not only is someone who exercises, but she is a generous and thoughtful exercise enthusiast. There seems to be no exercise that she won't try and even when she has the occasional injury, she still exercises with a smile.

Ruth, thanks for this. I can already feel you inspiring those of us who are the couch potatoes!!!

Is it normal to wake up every day, and think to yourself, when will I have a chance to exercise, or even plan it out the night before?

I have a minimum of 1 hour each day that I strive for, and on weekends, or on vacation 3 hours per day is my goal. I definitely go by the adage that even 10 minutes is better than nothing. I am also willing to settle for 6 days per week, if necessary.

In high school, I was on a few teams, though I was definitely NOT among the top athletes, probably the bottom!

In college, my friend and I joined the swim team because we wanted to be able to swim laps every day. Again, I was probably the only one on the team who at best, came in third! (I was also a member of the tennis team and softball teams briefly).

After I graduated, I needed to move so I started running. I had a bit more success with that; running 10ks and marathons and finishing with respectable times.

Next came biking which I enjoyed a lot, and realized that I could do triathlons.

I completed several 1/2 ironmans (or ironpeoples). I ran a marathon, and did a ride around Lake Tahoe for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and did several bike rides for a non-profit in Israel whose mission is to improve Palestinian Israeli relations through working on the environment.

When my knees stopped cooperating so much, I took up hot yoga, and eventually exercise classes at the gym. With Covid, I took it home to Peleton yoga, strength, treadmill, kayaking, and there is always walking, swimming, hiking, x-country skiing, snowshoeing. My absolute favorite aerobic activity is chasing my grandson around his yard in New York!

There is nothing like working up a sweat or doing 1/2 hour of abs and 1/2 yoga to start or finish your day. I am not sure that I can put into words how good and complete it makes me feel; I gotta move! When feeling very tired at the end of the day, if I can make myself workout, I ALWAYS feel better and more energized. Given a choice between taking a zoom class and sitting on my ass, give me movement!!!!

It is just who I am; cannot explain it.

In addition to her exercise routine, Ruth is also a speech therapist and a happy grandmother, mom, wife and friend.

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