“Tell me, what do you know for sure?” This was a question asked to Oprah in 1998 during an interview with Gene Siskel. Quite a loaded question and one that Oprah couldn’t answer at the moment. The question made its way to a column in her magazine and the collection of articles developed into a book, What I know For Sure.
200+ pages, a quick and easy read full of life lessons – insightful, engaging, powerful and simply inspirational. I can see how she was able to transform herself to become a very successful woman despite the hardships she experienced in her childhood. In the section under Clarity, she discusses a 10-day business trip where she completely abandoned her exercise regimen due to her busy schedule. Along with her inactivity, she also made bad food choices. By the end of her trip, after the inevitable weight gain and feeling drained of energy, she realized:
When you nurture and support your body, it reciprocates. The basis of that support is exercise, like it or not. The more essential benefit is more energy; weight control is a bonus. I know for sure that taking care of your body, no matter what, is an investment, and the return is priceless.
Our bodies are designed for movement. When we resort to sedentary habits, our bodies rebel with weakened muscles, energy loss and be more of a risk for a host of diseases. We’ve been made aware of the risks associated with ‘sitting’ even if you exercise and how ‘sedentary behavior is the 4th leading risk factor of death‘. Therefore incorporating movement throughout the day is key to maintaining a healthy body. Find an activity you enjoy – walk, run, jump, dance!
Going back to the question, “What do you know for sure?”
With regards to running, it has been the one constant. Some way, somehow it has found its way to each phase of my life.
What I know for sure – A childhood memory when I was 8 or 9 living in the Philippines, my uncle gathered the neighborhood kids for a run to the mountains near our home. I can’t recall the exact details but what I do remember was the excitement of being out on the road with friends, our first organized group run. It was an experience that left an imprint in my memory. Running was a highlight, a new activity introduced, something different for the neighborhood kids to try.
What I know for sure – Being a teenager in highschool and as someone who recently immigrated to the U.S., I was searching for my identity and a place to belong. I joined the cross-country team and it was the best choice I made then. Running introduced me to new friends and the value of competition.
What I know for sure – In between serious academic work to finish a degree in Applied Physics and partying with my college sorority sisters, running was pushed to the sidelines unless when I was obliged to wake up early in the morning to run (Physical Training or PT) with my fellow Naval Midshipmen. I remember running around campus at O-dark thirty singing cadences aloud unappreciated by students who were still in a deep slumber. Running became a requirement and a discipline necessary to stay fit and meet the Navy fitness regulations.
What I know for sure – As a brand new Ensign onboard a naval ship, it was easy to feel overwhelmed. Add to it the feeling of homesickness as we cruised in the middle of the ocean for days on end. Running was my escape – it was the time to relax, rejuvenate and sort out my thoughts. Imagine running laps on the weather decks of a Naval cruiser, nothing but the vast expanse of the ocean. During my time in the Navy when I was finally shore-based was when I discovered the joy of distance running and racing. I liked testing what my body was capable of doing.
What I know for sure – Being an overly cautious person, my first pregnancy meant a long break from running (substituted elliptical, swimming and yoga workouts). The transition back to running after a long break was slow and it wasn’t until two years later when I finally found my groove only to find out the following year I was pregnant again. However, I knew my body better so I continued to run until the end of the second trimester. And only took a short break, as I laced up for an easy run 8 weeks post-delivery. Running now is time for myself, to be in solitude, to breathe and connect with my body. Let’s be honest, motherhood is no easy task and through running I’ve learned to deal with the ups and downs of raising children.
It’s your turn – WHAT DO YOU KNOW FOR SURE?
Note: I revised an old post from a year ago since I’m on vacation for spring break. Hope it was a good read for you.