Welcome to our first installment of the #WhyIExercise School Year Edition. We’re excited to be spotlighting two educators each month. Join us this month in celebrating the fitness journeys of guest bloggers Tyler George and Laura Bradley.
#WhyIExercise . . . Tyler
Please welcome Tyler George from Clinton, Michigan. Tyler teaches high school APUSH, AP World, and AP Human Geography. He also coaches track and is a college professor. Tyler received his B.A. in History and Social Studies Education from Siena Heights University in 2008 and his M.S. in Physical Education from Canisius College in 2010. Tyler is an active member of the #FitnessEdu tribe and has an active Facebook fitness group. Follow him on Twitter @GeorgeHistory.
Let’s hear from Tyler.
I exercise for a few different reasons, but the most important are named Hayden and Rowan. My boys are my life, their mom is my best friend, and the greatest memories I have are with them, so I want to make sure that I am around a long time to make more memories. In addition to my family, I workout for myself. I want to make sure that I am the healthiest version of me that I can be, when this occurs I am the best version of me for my family and my students.
In college I reached my heaviest at 320 pounds, as a thrower you didn’t have to be “fit” you just needed to be strong and balanced on your feet. While struggling to go up some stairs I decided to lose the weight, eventually I became obsessed with the number on the scale...a dangerous precedent that led me to a battle with bulimia. In just 6 months I was down to 170 pounds, and this was achieved in a dangerous and unhealthy fashion.
Having little training in nutrition, I gained it all back. I am now down to 270 pounds and feeling strong, focused, and driven. I now workout 30-60 minutes a day using the Beach Body On Demand program, follow my cup system, watch the carbs, sugars, and sodium, and am feeling great.
In 2017 I became an online fitness and wellness coach, since doing this my team has grown to nine people with all of us working together on our goals. I have a long road ahead to achieve my fitness goals, but like I tell everyone, “have faith and trust the process.”
#WhyIExercise . . . Laura
Please welcome Laura Bradley from Petaluma, California. Laura teaches English 8, Digital Design Lab 7/8, and Broadcast Media 7/8. She earned her B.A. in English from San Francisco State University and her M.A. in Curriculum, Teaching & Learning, with an emphasis in Educational Technology from Sonoma State University. Laura is a Google Certified Innovator and National Board Certified Teacher. Follow her on Twitter @LAMBRADLEY.
Let’s hear from Laura.
Running was my caffeine, an early morning antidote to stress, a booster of both energy and mood. Running gave me time to think, to wonder, to dream. It gave me the distance I needed from the classroom to snag an elusive lesson, like: how will I engage my 8th graders in literary analysis without interfering with their love of reading? So often in the cool, dark mornings of my runs, the best ideas would surface. Running gave me so much more than physical exercise.
I smiled more often, laughed more easily, had more patience with my students and more creativity in my work simply because I got myself up and moving before breakfast. But I made the youthful mistake of assuming I would run forever.
A few years ago, a number of factors brought my running to an end. It started with insomnia, and then a foot injury took running away completely. I can’t even walk the neighborhood with my husband, an exercise most of us assume we’ll enjoy well into retirement.
So what do we do, those of us who love to exercise, who recognize its many benefits, when life throws us a curve ball and steals our favorite physical pursuits?
After mourning the loss of running and feeling the sluggish effects of a sedentary lifestyle, I decided to return to lap swimming, the sport of my youth. I knew it would give me an all-over workout without adding stress to my knees and feet, and since I clocked thousands of laps in years past, it’s a sport I knew I could pick up again.
In a perfect world, my days would now start with an invigorating workout in the pool, followed by the energy, creativity, patience and joy that come from daily exercise. But my transition from runner to swimmer hasn’t been riptide free. The boredom of swimming lap after lap is far less motivating to me than running had been. And for some reason, swimming doesn’t give me that jolt of energy that I enjoyed after running; at this point, swimming just makes me so tired I want to go back to bed after a workout! (I mean, who thought it would be a good idea to hold your breath while working out?)
But I am feeling the full-body benefits of swimming. While running worked my lower body, swimming makes everything hurt. My legs feel the variety of muscles called into service as I switch from breast stroke to back to freestyle; and my arms, long neglected when I ran, are starting to feel stronger. Even my creaky neck and shoulders feel the benefits of the repeated twists and turns of swimming. And my new waterproof iPod and earbuds are driving away the boredom of churning out lap after lap after lap.
The hardest lesson for so many of us who exercise may be letting go of our favorite activities as we age. Or maybe that’s the second hardest lesson, because much harder for me has been finding the same enthusiasm for a new fitness routine.
This reminds me of the struggles my own students face in my classroom. As I push them to go beyond comprehension to deeper, analytical reading, I see their desire to stay where it’s safe and familiar. “But Mrs. Bradley,” they say, “this is hard! Can’t I just tell you what happened in the book? I don’t like analysis!”
No, sorry, Mrs. Bradley, those days are over. Time to pack up your running shoes, thank them for all they’ve done for you, and embrace your new fitness friends: goggles, cap, swimsuit and the invigorating scent of chlorine. And just think how great your upper arms will look next summer! Running never did that for you, now did it?
Thank you very much, Tyler and Laura, for the inspiring posts. Tyler, way to go with your weight loss and commitment to help yourself, your family, and your online fitness community with their fitness goals. If you’re interested in joining Tyler’s Facebook accountability group, contact him here. Laura, what a great post about transitioning from being a runner to a swimmer. There are so many stages in life. No matter where we are, a healthy lifestyle can be part of it. Thank you again, for sharing with the #WhyIExercise readers.
Be sure to come back the last Saturday of each month for two more inspirational posts. If you’re not on the mailing list, subscribe to the mailing in the sidebar of this blog.
Have an amazing start to your school year! Be sure to follow the #FitnessEdu, #FitLeaders, and #RunLap tribes for weekly motivation.
#MuchLove . . . Marilyn
As educators, we know the importance fitness has on both our bodies and minds. This blog is a celebration of educators and the role exercise plays in our lives.