Hello my name is Anna, and I’m addicted to…

I’m addicted. I know this because I constantly feel a deep-seated yearning for the thing I am addicted to. When I don’t indulge in my addiction I can become unhappy, grumpy, sluggish, easily frustrated and annoyed. But the moment I satiate the addiction I am better able to function, am much more enjoyable to be around, and generally a better person.

My addiction? Exercise.

Thankfully I’ve always been addicted to fitness. My mother tells me I was doing push-ups within weeks of arriving on the planet. I spent most of my formative years participating in gymnastics. From the time I was four years old for about a decade I was attending classes multiple times a week and even got to a level where I was competing consistently. I have always found joy and happiness through running. I participated in track and field in middle school, and cross-country in high school.

One of my career choices, the Army, has forced me to maintain a particular level of physical readiness. Luckily, I really enjoy exercising, so maintaining a level of fitness has never been a problem for me.

Gratitude For Who I Am

I know that I am blessed with the ability to exercise. I am eternally grateful that I have instilled in me a desire to run, push my body to its physical limits, and recover quickly. I am also very thankful that for the duration of my pregnancy I was able to continue to exercise through attending CrossFit classes an average of three times a week.

Per the advice of my doctor, I had to allow my body to recover from labor and delivery for, technically, six weeks. At a little over five weeks post-natal, I couldn’t wait any longer! I had felt good for weeks, strong, ready to get back into a level of fitness that would satisfy my addiction. I indulged in a few short runs and many long walks while recovering, but had reached the point where that wasn’t enough.

Modify as Possible

Being a new mom, essentially attached to and utterly responsible for the welfare of a tiny human leaves less options for exercise than pre-baby. Sure, I can do some yoga while she naps, hold her while doing weighted sit-ups with she as my weight grinning as I hoist her overhead, push-ups while kissing her soft cheeks each time I lower myself to the ground where she’s looking up at me. But to really quench the burning desire of my exercise addiction I need to be able to focus on the repetition at hand, to lift the bar with both hands and perform a full squat or watch the clock tick off the seconds to the next work session of a tabata.

Healthy Addictions

Addiction does not necessarily always constitute a bad thing in my opinion. People can be addicted to a healthy lifestyle. People can be addicted to very unhealthy habits. Both of these can cause some sort of chemical reaction in the brain. I can identify very real physical and mental and emotional changes in myself when I am exercising and when I am not exercising.

I am very thankful for the ability to live a healthy life that includes exercise, and for the innate need to engage in physical activity. Like many other addictions, I must keep myself in check; making sure I do not overdo the physical activity to a point where I am unable to engage in exercise again the following day. Moderation in all things.

But damn it feels great to be back in the Box!