In a queue for water recently, I had time to think. A queue for water? Was there a sale on Deer Park? Not at all. I live in Zimbabwe and this is part of everyday life. It’s not easy to have to line up for water, something that should just naturally pour out of a tap. But it struck me recently that I have a choice. I could grumble about having to queue on such a hot, dry, dusty afternoon, when already so busy, or I could choose to count my blessings and be thankful! I chose the latter – to be thankful. And just exactly what am I thankful for? Thankful for community, for friendly smiles from people I don’t even know. I am thankful that we live in a country where new friends are made whilst queuing for water!
Soon, my handful of ‘blessings in disguise’ turns into a bucket full! Amazing how such a ‘normal’ everyday commodity, like water, can cause you to give thanks for so much! As I count my blessings, I can’t help but think how bizarre it is that we are now way more grateful for water because it is scarce at this time. When it was abundant, we took it for granted!
It’s my turn to fill containers with water. As I carry my 25-litre containers to the car, my heart overflows with gratitude once more as I heave the containers into the back of the truck. What am I thankful for? Functional fitness. Of course!
Functional fitness is the strength to meet the challenges of everyday tasks. It’s actually the reason we work out! I could not manage these heavy containers without being functionally fit. It is as if our awesome Body & Soul choreographers in America knew exactly how strong we needed to be here in Zimbabwe, for such a time as this. They have carefully chosen specific exercises suited to making us strong and fit for our everyday lifestyle.
Meet Miriam, a nurse in a mission hospital in the North of Zimbabwe. Miriam is a Body & Soul instructor when she is not pacing the wards, treating patients and doing night duty! She has a gorgeous two year-old son, Jason, who loves to be carried on his mother’s back, since he was a tiny baby. Without Body & Soul, Miriam’s back would not cope with such a big, healthy boy having free rides! She often carries Jason on her back whilst she is doing her laundry by hand or when she works in the fields on the weekends. Miriam’s back strengthening exercises make her flexible and strong to carry Jason, and stand endless hours on her feet in the hospital without backache! No wonder she is thankful for functional fitness!
I have another personal example. In Body & Soul classes, we do bent row and robot row exercises. What on earth are we doing them for? As I start the generator in the absence of electricity, I have an a-ha moment. Without my strong erector spinae, biceps brachii and latissimus dorsi muscles, I would be sitting in the darkness otherwise! I am thankful once again for functional fitness, and, of course…for my generator!
You may not be carrying water containers, a baby on your back, or pulling generator cables in your part of the world, but can you lift those boxes down from the top closet? Are you strong enough to pick up your 18 month-old child or grandchild? And what about that suitcase that needs lifting off the carousel at the airport after your wonderful shopping trip overseas? I want to be able to do all these things (yes, that includes the shopping) when I am old! This is the reason we work out, to be strong in the day-to-day. I, for one, am certainly grateful for functional fitness in Zimbabwe!