Exercise is privilege; not punishment.
You're probably either one of those people who absolutely hates exercise, or absolutely loves it. For most of my life, exercise was my worst enemy. Walking anywhere was unappealing, P.E. class was the fifth circle of hell, and team sports were the worst thing I could imagine. And having asthma was a convenient excuse not to participate; how am I supposed to do anything if I can't breathe? This is how I spent the first 25 years of my life without actually doing any exercise. But now, 3 years later, things couldn't be more different.
An important realisation dawned on me. Being able to exercise is an immense privilege, not the god awful punishment I once thought it to be. My thinking was turned around when I was 25, and had a bout of poor health. Without going into it too much, I pretty much couldn't move or exert myself for about a year. And it SUCKED. Hardcore sucked. My immune system was garbage, I had no energy, I was sick constantly, and had a bunch of cruddy symptoms making me feel crap all the time. Throughout this - I blamed my body. I hated my body. How could it do this to me? What did I ever do to it? Somehow, the answer dawned on me. I never did anything to it. That was the problem. Here was my body, doing the damned best it could to keep me functioning - and all I was doing was hating on it. I'd never paid it any attention, never took it out for walks, never stretched my muscles, or got my heart pumping. I'd never paid much attention to feeding it good foods, or heeding warnings of oncoming illness. I'd spent my entire life ignoring my body. And now, suddenly, it was screaming for my attention.
And it got my attention. Reluctantly, I joined my local gym. Which was a huge leap for me, and I wasn't excited about it at all. I started going to a body balance class once a week, a dancercise type class, and going for walks every day. I force fed myself a healthy breakfast, with yogurt and fruit and oats. God I hate fruit. But I did it. I put all the building blocks in place, and just stuck with it. If this is what I needed to do to make my body work again - then it shall be done. And it worked. Slowly but surely, I became healthy again. And then something amazing happened. Not only did I get myself back to my usual healthy non-sickly self - I exceeded it. I smashed the roof of my usual level of health. And now I'm a total gun! I'm stronger than ever, my immune system is freaken amazing - I haven't been sick all year! Plus I just feel good all over.
So over the last three years or so, I've realised how damn important it is to appreciate your body. It's the only one you get, and it does so much for you that is taken for granted. I know I sure used to. Now when I got to the gym, I thank my lucky stars that I don't have any injuries. When I go for my walk every day, I'm so grateful that I have the energy to get up and do it. And when I eat my healthy breakfast in the morning, I'm so happy to not have any food intolerances holding me back anymore. Everything seems so amazingly lucky to me now, that I'm able to do all of these things. To nourish my body, and ensure that it's working and flourishing. I feel like the luckiest person alive! But I do know that it was through my own actions and change of attitude too. Attitude is the big one. Once you realise how phenomenally privileged you are to be able to exercise, you'll never think of it as punishment again.