The crisp, chilly evening air feels strikingly refreshing as it meets the droplets of sweat on my skin. As I’m writing this while swinging on my favorite patio chair, I’m catching my breath and letting the fall wind cool me down after a run. A what?! Yes, I, Angela Manzanares, just went for a run. This monumental occurrence has actually been going on frequently for almost a month now.

For those that know me, you know that this is just a flat-out MIRACLE. I have always HATED running! In high school P.E. I came up with every possible, believable excuse to get out of “Mile Mondays.” Aerobics? Fine! Bike riding? Love it. Elliptical? Yes! But actual, real-life, intentional running, like outside? Can’t remember the last time I did it.

But I’m about to turn 22, and I feel like it’s time to start treating my body the way it deserves to be treated.

I can feel my metabolism starting to slow down;
I was feeling like my pants had been fitting a little more snug lately;
My Starbs addiction will probably be the death of me;
And my constant, on-the-go, busy-all-day, stay-up-super-late, dessert-at-midnight, busy-busy-busy kind of lifestyle just cannot be healthy!

It’s been about three weeks now since the day I first decided to start running a few times a week. It was a Wednesday, my day off from work. I woke up early (for me on a day-off that’s 8:15), put my hair up, my hot pink & gray running shoes on, and just went outside and started moving my feet kinda fast on the sidewalk. I played some of my favorite high-energy songs that made me want to dance, and I jogged around the block.

I took in the fresh air, admired the beautiful red, yellow, and green trees all around my neighborhood, and partied! Of course, my throat started to burn towards the end, and I was super out of breath, but the point is, I did something.

And you know what? It was the first time I actually (dare I say it??) ENJOYED running.

I’m def not saying this as one big high-five to myself, but hopefully to share with you what helped me get up and go.

I stumbled upon a simple, yet powerfully mind-shifting little statement on Instagram or Pinterest or something (SO wish I could remember where, exactly!) that said,

“You don’t have to be a ‘runner’ to run.”

We see all these pictures everywhere of totally fit girls and cut guys working out, or friends posting their cross-fit videos all over, and it personally has made me think to myself, “Omg, I’ve got school, I’ve got a job, I have friends, family, I mentor high schoolers, I have my own little business, sleep is nice every now and then, oh yeah and eating, too, when there’s time…I honestly can’t devote my life to working out like they do. I guess I’ll just have to accept that I’ll never be one of those super fit people.”

So we get intimidated to even start working out.

But guess what…
You don’t have to be an expert.
You don’t have to have a fancy gym membership.
You don’t have to set up an extreme fitness plan.
You don’t even have to own real workout clothes.

Just make a playlist of your favorite songs really quick, and go run off all your worries, clear your head, breathe in some fresh air, burn off some unwanted fat, and tone up your muscles, all at the same time!

You might not like the out-of-breath feeling, you won’t see results immediately after, and you’ll probably be sore tomorrow, but GO YOU!!!!

You WILL see results if you stick with it;
you’ll be spoiling your body with some much-needed attention; and you’ll feel really, really proud of yourself after.

Looks aren’t a strong enough motivation to work out, however. We get frustrated when we don’t “see” any changes right away, which causes many of us to give up on exercising shortly after just beginning. And let’s face it, eventually we’re all going to be old and wrinkly one day. I think basing the foundation of our efforts on something as temporary as the aesthetics of our ever-changing bodies is not a sustainable enough focus. But the idea of lengthening my life with every run…knowing that I’m enhancing my blood chemistry and steering myself away from some diseases…training myself to develop positive, life-long habits…feeling stronger mentally…and boosting confidence…THESE are what I’ve found to be lasting motivators for myself, personally.

So exercise to be healthy.

Do it because you are already beautiful. Do it because you deserve it. Do it because your body will thank you for it now, and for the rest of your life. Do it so you can pass these habits onto your kids someday. Do it because something is better than nothing.

So now that you’re done reading this, go for it!!! If I, of all people, can do it, that means you definitely can too. 🙂 Lace up your running shoes; let’s do this together!!

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
1 Corinthians‬ ‭6‬:‭19-20‬