I view my lifestyle of exercise as spending energy of one kind in order to gain an infusion of another kind. 

I may often finish an exercise/training session feeling physically tired in the muscles and metabolism, and possibly mentally tired from concentrating on a challenging task, but I nearly always feel an immediate flush of satisfaction and, soon following, a renewed flow of energy into my emotional and mental space. I feel a calmness in my nervous system. My body, even if moving a little slower, moves more smoothly. My vascular and respiratory systems feel like the pipes have been flushed clear and clean.  The signals for attention and thinking feel more crisp and strong, making it easier to focus. And those are just the immediate rewards. 

While usually I have a positive attraction to the ritual, there are times I may start out feeling lethargic or tired, or just reluctant to go through the actions of getting changed and out the door or into the water, but unless that reluctance is a sign of a weakened immune system or a need for more recovery after a recent hard training effort, I know from decades of experience that the reward reliably waits for me if I will push through that initial resistance. 

The phrase ‘making a return on investment’ refers to the act of spending money in order to make even more money. You give for a moment to gain for a duration that lasts much longer and puts you ahead before the next moment to give. That describes what I experience.

To stay on top of that positive cycle, I am quite motivated to stay training with only periodic rest days. In the lifestyle of training I spend energy each day, most days of the week, week after week, year after year, decade after decade, and not only does the daily investment of time and effort pay me back with interest that very day, the cumulative ‘fitness money in the bank’ over years has given me a reserve of strength and positive feelings in body and mind that I could not imagine living without, greatly helping me get through hard times as well as the easier ones.


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