Life is challenging, especially learning to properly balance everything required of each of us in today’s busy world. We are constantly being pulled in many different directions: jobs required to pay our bills, never-ending, frivolous personal errands, filtering through that growing mass of unwanted emails, social time with peers, and for some, necessary family time with spouses and children. All of these activities require time from each of our days. When you add up all of this time, we tend to disregard seemingly unimportant activities, especially our health and exercise habits. And many of us are seeing these effects whether we know it or not. To help illustrate how consistent exercise has shaped my life, here is my story:
Growing up, I was a very active child and I played many sports that kept me active and living the lifestyle of an athlete. I was happy. I was full of energy, and that positive energy flowed into every aspect of my life. You can ask the people who were around me throughout my childhood and you will quickly learn there was never a dull moment around me. Throughout high school I played soccer, baseball, and power lifted. My grades were above average, I was involved in gifted academic programs, I held a part-time job, and I was involved in my church groups. While things were great in my life, they quickly changed as I left home for college. Although I was a member of the Louisiana Tech Iron Dawgs powerlifting team my freshman year, I had made begun to make choices that were beginning to change my lifestyle. I was living the average college lifestyle: binge drinking with friends, lazy weekends slamming $5 Little Caesars pizzas, and campus organizations, in addition to my intensive architecture studies, took my life down a path I do not wish upon anyone.
Everyday life decisions and activities became increasingly difficult. My thought processes were blurred and I quickly became someone who was not the shining light people knew in my childhood. I was quick to express frustration towards people, I was consistently stressed out, and my relationships with my friends and family were not what I would consider healthy by any stretch of the imagination. My life hit rock bottom the last two years of my undergraduate career. The growing stress and anxiety led to frequent panic attacks. I could no longer manage the stress in my life and I was beginning to avoid anything that added responsibility. I, as many others have, resorted to alcohol to temporarily fix the anxiety. I spent many nights drinking over school work to ease the stress. My closest friends witnessed a total breakdown in every aspect of my life. Fortunately for everyone, my life took a turn for the better in my senior year as I neared graduation.
My family was introduced to a nutrition product that I started consuming on a daily basis. This product, along with reaching a point of complete desperation for change in life, led me to change the one thing I could see that was different, my physical and mental health. The change in lifestyle was very slow at first. I began my personal (what I would consider) recovery with jogging 1 mile, on a good day. I was still a broke, recovering college graduate and didn’t have a disposable income to join a gym. I began doing home exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, and jumping rope. After momentum and change slowly started taking place, I invested every dollar I got for Christmas on a used bicycle from a close friend. I began spending many hours on this bike, and actually decided to compete in my first mountain bike season in Louisiana. With a changing lifestyle, my life was beginning to change right before my very own eyes.
It has now been nearly 18 months since I began this journey towards a healthy lifestyle. I now live in Denver, Colorado and intend on participating and competing in endurance competitions in the future. I spend at least 6 days each week doing some sort of exercise, either in the gym or outdoor training. I rarely spend more than 30 minutes each day, but I am consistent. I am in the best shape of my life and my life is in the best shape it’s ever been in!
So how does my story apply to your life?
I was only 22 when my life hit rock bottom. My ability to distinguish positive and negative choices was significantly altered and everyone in my life was affected by my lifestyle. Now I am making some of the most healthy and productive decisions of my life. My relationships with my family and friends are thriving, and I feel like a brand new person. Although busy in graduate school, working part time, building a home-based business, and enjoying a social life as well, exercise is mandatory in my life. I know you are busy as well. You have obligations in your life just as I do, but maybe you aren’t consistent in your exercise habits, just yet. I have added positive, daily activities like my exercise routine, reading inspirational books, and listening to positive material where I was previously wasting precious time.
I hope today, once you finish reading this article, that you decide to take a look at your life and perform what my mentor, Chris Estes, calls a life audit. Where are you wasting time and where can healthy activities be inserted into your day? If you choose to insert positive activities where unnecessary activities may now reside, here is what I PROMISE will happen.
Positive energy will begin to infiltrate your life and it will transfer into all other areas of your life. If you stick to exercising on a consistent basis, you will see results and it will create momentum for your life. You will create a lifestyle that will redefine who you are. People often ask me what it is that I have changed about my life and I quickly refer to my exercise routine. I focus on creating results and positive momentum in my health and I have surrounded myself with friends along the same journey. We all share the positive energy and it has positively impacted each of our lives, from school, work, business, and family relationships.
It is my hope that you will decide to take back your health and put a constructive exercise routine into your daily schedule. And if you do this, it’s my belief the BEST IS YET TO COME in your life!
Here’s to your Life Unlimited!
-Robert Sidney Aulds, III
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