Is it selfish to run?

I’m sure you already know the answer to my question.  Unless you totally think I am just a selfish person (gee, I sure hope you don’t feel that way).

Why do I bring this up?  A woman at the gym approached me today and we started talking about the crazy people who take the Cardio Sculpt class right before they participate in the Bodypump class.  Then, she turned towards me and looked me directly in the eye and asked me if it seemed obsessive to work out 2 hours a day, 6 days a week.  I immediately thought about myself and my own addictions and told her “absolutely not.”  She obviously found the right person to ask.

Then she continued by asking if it was selfish to work out so much, especially when you have 3 kids.  Once again, that was my story in a nutshell and I once again told her “absolutely not.”  Of course you can’t just make that kind of statement without backing it up.  So, I said “what about the moms who spend 2 hours a day scrapbooking or the moms who browse the internet for 2 hours?”  (okay, more specifically I am referring to the facebook addicts here).  Oh wait, what about the moms who read the Twilight series over and over again?  There is absolutely nothing wrong with those hobbies (I, myself, have partaken in some of these activities), but the point is that nearly everyone has a hobby that they enjoy.  What’s the difference if you are at the gym or if you are curled up in your bed with a book?

Yet, that wasn’t the end of the conversation.  I proceeded to tell her that she was setting a good example for her kids by staying active.  That is when she told me that she had lost 105 pounds.  That is just amazing and more power to any woman who has lost weight!  We aren’t as lucky as the guys when it comes to that kind of challenge.  She stated that she was worried about not being there enough for her kids and of course, like any parent, she fears they will get mixed up in the wrong crowds.  I told her that her activity would most likely have the opposite effect on her kids.  She is the role model that they need to have in their life and they will hopefully follow in her footsteps by participating in sports or joining local clubs and organizations.  This is what our kids need to do in order to stay busy and out of trouble.  Well, that is my plan anyway (I will let you know how it works out in 20 years).  I know my focus is athletic activities, but it really doesn’t matter how you stay involved (community service, arts & crafts, dance, music, nature expert, etc.), it’s the involvement part that shows you are an active member of society and this sets the good example for your children.

Okay, so that wasn’t my last point to make.  You see, I feel it is truly important to do an activity you enjoy because it makes you feel happy.  When you feel happy, you tend to share that happiness with those around you.  You are improving your own personal well-being as you do so.  So, I might miss out on 2 hours with my kids while I take a class at the gym or go for a run, but I return a much better mommy so that the hours that I do spend with them are extraordinary (okay, not all of the time, but at least I am better able to cope with the downsides to parenting so that I can relish in the upsides :).  Since I started running I noticed that I am less stressed, have more energy and  just feel so much better about myself.

So, is it selfish to run?  Absolutely not.

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