What does it mean to truly love your body? It’s a question we almost feel a little awkward answering, but it is an important one. Do you love your body? Entrepreneur and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, says it well, “Take care of your body, because it’s the only place you have to live.” This quote is true and eye-opening for many and it’s at the core of why it’s important to love your body. We decided to ask some of our Elements members what it means to love their body and why they have decided to keep it healthy. Carol Wolffer, our member of the year for 2017, says, “I never really thought about loving my body. However, when I think about how the function of my body affects every aspect of my life I look at things differently.” Carol explains why it’s important to love your body with a focus on being able to move, experience life, and help others. She says, “I love that my body allows me to remain active; to play with my granddaughter and take care of my elderly aunt and my husband. My body makes it possible to volunteer at school and walk dogs at the shelter. Without a healthy body my life would be very different.”
Another member, Paul Root, has been participating in classes and activities at Elements to improve overall health and to help him lose weight. He believes loving his body starts with feeling good. He says, “I like the way I look and feel when I lose weight and get healthier. I have lost almost 85 pounds since joining Elements. I have dropped 8 inches around the waist and down three shirt sizes. I am saving tons of money by not purchasing my clothes at Big & Tall store anymore.” His journey has been amazing and he inspires so many people at Elements. Like Carol, Paul also stays healthy to be able to spend time with his loved ones. He says, “I love my body because I want to live a full, long, healthy life. I want to live long for my grandchildren to be part of my life.”
Paul also believes that there are many components to loving your body. For Paul, spirituality plays a key role in his desire to keep his body healthy. Paul says, “I always try to keep a good spiritual outlook, but it inspires me to see others that have a good Christian faith. It encourages me to live my life in a more spiritual way. My spirituality plays a part in keeping my body healthy. If you are in a good spiritual place you want to do things that are good for your body and for others.”
A third member, Sandi Steiger, says that she is strong and healthy because she belongs to Elements. She says she loves Elements because “it is a community that wraps itself around me in so many ways.” She believes loving her body includes social, physical, spiritual, supportive, intellectual, and mental components. She enjoys the social experience with friends, community members, staff, and residents. She likes the physical aspect which includes exercise classes of all kinds. She experiences spirituality with the close knit ties that she has made with others and the positive emotional support.
Loving your body is much deeper than the outward appearance. Carol, Paul, and Sandi all agree that the bonds made with other people are what drive the desire to stay healthy. Sandi says that she feels supported by the “kindness and caring gestures between members and [how they] keep track of members who are not present to make sure they are alright.” Paul says, “Socially we are family and not strangers. We have the same values and goals. The instructors genuinely care and it makes me want to care for others.”
Ultimately, taking care of your body allows the members to be able to continue doing all of the activities they enjoy in life. Carol says, “I take care of my body to ensure that I will be able to continue the activities I enjoy as long as possible.” Paul was in a serious car accident on April 20, 2017 and Elements has helped him regain function. He says, “I was told I was not going to live, but I refused to die. I was told I would be paralyzed if I lived, but I refused to be paralyzed. After home therapy I re-started my journey at Elements. I had major improvement in motor skills, muscle strength, and the ability to move my arms that I did not have before. What I love most about my body is being able to move and attend Elements classes.”
So, what do you think it means to love your body? Why should you love your body and keep it healthy? Carol says, “I would encourage other seniors to stay as active as possible. Exercise makes you stronger, more able to prevent falls and recover from illnesses. You feel better about yourself both physically and mentally when you get involved. Whether you join a group or exercise in your home, staying active is key to health and happiness.”
Love your body. It’s the only place you have to live.
Josie Radar is a Health Promotions Specialist at Elements Wellness Centers. Elements is more affordable thanks to our simplified membership structure. If your insurance offers SilverSneakers®, Silver & Fit, or Optum®, you can work out at Elements at no cost. We also offer private pay options at an affordable price. Visit https://www.community-first.org/elements/membership to learn more.