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Identifying Your “Why” For Running And Fitness

Everyone has their own "why" that inspires them to dive into the worlds of running and fitness.

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Why We Move

Life is short. Move your body how best moves your soul.”

My kids, ages almost 11 and almost 10, are spending much of this summer attending a kids’ CrossFit class, doing gymnastics, playing baseball and learning to move a barbell. My daughter loves all things physical—from running to lifting to yoga. She begs to go anywhere that lets her move her body. My son, on the other hand? Not so much.

Today he informed me that he would wash the windows of the house if I let him skip weightlifting class. Tough call, Buster.

I get it. Working out is not his jam. I am careful not to force sports and training on him, even though I believe wholeheartedly that kids need to be exposed to all forms of movement. But alongside washing windows, I want him to find what makes him happy, to find the way he likes to move his body—as I fundamentally believe that movement is what we are made to do.

He doesn’t like to admit it, but baseball is his jam. When he swings a bat and cracks that baseball into the outfield, I can see the twinkle in his eye. I can see his heart explode with happiness. The pride and the joy of hitting the ball makes him happy (even if he’s not ready to admit it yet). As a kid, I was the same way. I just preferred to be inside reading a book instead of outside riding my bike.

As an adult, however, I found that movement made me whole. That moving a barbell is my greatest joy. That finishing a fast(er) 5K on the Fourth of July is exactly how I wanted to spend my morning.

Finding our “why” behind the goals and the movements that we want to accomplish is everything. If we “hate” to do one particular sport or exercise class, then what’s the point of doing it? So often we believe we “must” do a certain type of exercise, whether it’s yoga or running or swimming, weight training or TRX. And sure, some forms are “good” for us. But when we are thinking about the span of our lives, finding what we love to do for our bodies is paramount.

When we find the exercise that makes our hearts sing, we know it. We feel it in our souls. We feel it in our bodies. Our bodies may move differently, feel differently. We may stand a little taller. We may jump out of bed a little faster in the morning.

While setting big goals is a great “why,” I would argue that the “why” should go even deeper—into our hearts, minds and souls. I run because it makes my heart happy. Now that’s a “why.”

Some days, we may lack the motivation to do our workouts—and that can be expected. What we should never lack, however, is the “why” we do the things we do. If something is making us crazy and we “hate” it, then we ought to try a new workout or a new sport entirely. Sometimes this feels risky or scary. Sometimes we feel that we will waste race registration money. But we should always remember why we run, why we do yoga, why we lift weights.

Life is short. Move your body how best it moves your soul.

Meredith Atwood (@SwimBikeMom) is a weekly contributor to Women’s Running. She is a four-time IRONMAN triathlete, recovering attorney, motivational speaker and author of Triathlon for the Every Woman.  She is also the host of the hit podcast The Same 24 Hours, a show which interviews interesting people who make the best of the 24 hours in each day. Meredith has two books coming out in the Spring and Fall of 2019. Read more at


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