I have been asked what my fitness “why” is. The answer: I do it because I can, and because it makes me feel a little like a superhero. When you can flip more tires and do more weighted squats than anyone else in a competition, when you beat your husband in a push up contest, (okay so that only happened once and he was drunk off his ass – but still…), or you round the corner first in a fitness test: you really do feel like a superhero. It’s like crack. But legal.

Most people work out because they want to look good. I’m not even going to try to pretend that I don’t check myself out in the mirror daily. Hell, I check out my booty whenever there is a mirror and no one looking. I totally flex my glamour muscles for my reflection like a teenage boy. And, I’ve been trying to get that two pack to turn into a six pack for a decade. Yet, somewhere along the way I realized that there is a far more valuable side-effect of exercise.

The impact of a good, sweaty release has had an immeasurable positive influence on my life. I have suffered with depression since I was a teen. Combine that with my firey Irish temper and my passionate French side, and “all over the board” is a kind description of my emotional affect.

There is some sciencey stuff to back up the stability regular exercise has added to my persona… When you are pushing yourself in a strenuous work out, you will release the chemicals endorphin and dopamine. Endorphins make you feel exhilarated and block pain to help you power through a tough work out. Dopamine… well that stuff is basically your body’s natural crack. Shoot up crystal meth: over release of dopamine. Eat something particularly lovely: dopamine release. Sex: yup, dopamine. Rumor has it high dopamine levels in the body will even result in better orgasms.

Meanwhile, if your dopamine levels are low, your body may crave food when it doesn’t really need it or sex when your spouse is out of town. So exercise can save meth addicts, get you a slammin’ body and save your marriage all at the same time y’all. But I digress…

Exercise has gradually become my therapy. On difficult days, I have literally started work outs in tears and finished feeling like I could handle whatever life throws my way. When my husband pisses me off or my kids overwhelm me, I just run away. Literally. I lace up my Asics and run until I either want to come home, or physically can’t run any farther. Sometimes it will take 9, 10, 11 or more miles for either of those things to happen. But eventually, I come home proud of myself and too exhausted to be angry about much of anything.

The insomnia that has haunted me on and off for decades is almost gone. I’ve been told that when I get an idea in my head, I’m like a little terrier dog with a bone. I’m not sure I know what that means or that I like it at all. But, I think it means I sort of obsess and hop around yapping tirelessly. So, occasionally, when I’m excited or particularly worried about something: I still have tough nights. Or amazingly productive nights cleaning, reading or writing; followed by a couple really miserable days. Interestingly, I took a week off work outs recently. In that one week, I had three insomnia episodes; about as many as I had experienced in the entire year before. Direct correlation? I’m thinking yes. The sciencey people would insert chatter about seratonin here.

So, I don’t care what motivates you or who you are. In my allegedly humble opinion, every single person on this earth should get out and move their body. Be the best you that you can be mentally & physically. More importantly, have the best orgasm you can have. You are worth it.