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Why Fitness Is Essential for Your Health

by Christi McGuire


Today’s fitness culture is captured in social media selfies and stories. Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat feature men and women in perfect poses with matching yoga outfits and glamorous hair and makeup. I once subscribed to none of this. I hated words like fitness, exercise, diet and even health. But that was eight months ago.

            In August 2018, I stood up from my desk and couldn’t move. I was stumped over like a decrepit old lady in a child’s fairy tale. Only this wasn’t a fairy tale. My back hurt, my hips ached, my knees gave out, and my feet wouldn’t budge. In that moment, I decided I did not want to live the next 40-some years like this, and it was time to change my life.

            Working 10-hour days at my desk job created a person I didn’t recognize, inside and out. I was a workaholic and abused my body with a stationary lifestyle—until my body screamed, “No more!” I was only 42 years old, but I felt like 82. I had been told for years to take care of myself, make time for myself, become healthier and lose weight, but none of advice clicked until that day in August when I become petrified I was shortening my life due to unhealthy habits.

            Keely Himmel had been joyfully greeting me at the front desk of Four Pillars in Lakewood Ranch for my massages and always asked me to attend her class Body Sculpting. I smiled and politely declined. No way, I thought. I could barely walk from my desk to the bathroom. How could I ever make it through a class?

            But that day in August scared me. So I went to Keely’s class, and was surprised to discover that I enjoyed it. I could barely perform any of the moves, and I couldn’t keep pace. I was sweaty and constantly out of breath, but Keely was welcoming and encouraging.

She’s the only reason I made it through the first class. I couldn’t walk the next day—or the rest of the week—I was so sore! But I went back. Keely remained positive, sharing inspirational quotes and pushing me to continue. She wrote personal notes to encourage me. Somehow, she believed in me. And that made me believe in myself just enough to keep moving forward.

            I was worried that I would be a quitter once again, as I had quit every exercise, gym and diet plan my entire life. But something was different this time. I didn’t care about the number on the scale or the size of my clothes. I knew I needed to move and take care of my body if I wanted to live any kind of positive life for the next several decades.

            However, I’ve experienced many other health benefits that have pushed me to continue. The anxiety and depression I struggled with have dissipated, as have my heartburn, digestion issues and restless leg syndrome. I am happier and have more energy which has helped me to become a more present wife and mom.

I’ve learned to instill boundaries with working too much, and I now make a point to move after sitting for any period of time. I visit Four Pillars for fitness classes three to five times a week, and I’ve discovered that I need to attend—and want to attend—not only for my physical health, but for my mental and emotional health as well.

            Fitness is much more than a social media selfie. For me, it is a matter of living fully into my own potential and becoming healthier for my body, mind, soul and spirit. I will always be grateful to Keely and Four Pillars for helping me discover a better me—and encouraging me to continue on this path toward the highest version of myself.



Christi McGuire has worked in the publishing industry for nearly twenty years as a freelance editor, writer and consultant. A former workaholic, she is now embracing the benefits of a healthy mind, body, and soul at Four Pillars in Lakewood Ranch. Visit Christi at and visit Four Pillars at



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