“Why weren’t we doing this when we were in our 20s?”

It was a rhetorical question uttered by my husband the other night as we were discussing how far we’ve come with adapting a more healthy lifestyle.

Jason became what some might call a “gym rat” several years ago to help break some bad habits. Not only has it been refuge for him to release excess energy, it has become a social outlet for him, and by extension, me.

I had been on and off with a regular fitness routine for years. It was very streaky. I would do well for weeks, sometimes even months, and then something would happen that would throw me off my routine — cold or a vacation, for example — and it would be weeks, or even months, before I got back in the habit.

That changed a little less than two years ago. There was some upheaval in my life that took a big toll emotionally. For some reason I can’t even now pinpoint, I turned to working out to help relieve that stress, anxiety and so much more. I haven’t turned back.

While Jason prefers the social outlet of going to the gym and mingling, I’m more self-conscious and prefer to work out in the privacy of my own home. I also use streaming videos in a variety of programs. The upside for me? They come with a calendar of what workouts to do when so that you hit everything. If I were left to my own devices, I would do the parts I like all the time and leave out what I hate — cardio. It helps me keep on track. I no longer let the cold or a vacation derail me, either. That’s big in its own way.

I noticed a big change from simply working out daily. I felt better and I gained more confidence, but the surprising thing was it wasn’t about how I looked. It was about how I felt inside that was the most notable change.

It got to the point a few months ago where I was ready for more. That’s when I decided to take a closer look at my nutrition. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t ideal, either. It’s been a new focus for me, and one I’ve been having more trouble adjusting to than simply pushing play on a workout video and following the moves. I’ve made progress, though, and it’s been showing in the tracking I’ve been doing as I move through the programs, though.

The discussion Jason and I had the other night was quite timely. We’re getting ready to publish our Healthy Living pages as this month comes to a close, so I’ve been talking to people for stories on it. It’s been fun, because it is something I have become so much more focused on over the past couple years.

If you’re on the fence about making some changes toward a healthier lifestyle, I encourage you to do it. The physical changes, while exciting, are only a part of it. As I said before, you’ll feel so much better on the inside, mentally and emotionally. And it’s never to late to start.

Sure, why weren’t we doing it in our 20s? I don’t know. But a late start is better than never starting.

— Features Editor Tracy Goldizen can be reached via email at tgoldizen@ottumwacourier.com or followed on Twitter @CourierTracy.

Tracy Goldizen is the Courier's features and magazine editor, leading production of the award-winning "Ottumwa Life" and the Courier's other magazine offerings. She began work with the Courier on the copy desk.

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