Because I am a busy person, I am asked a version of this question quite often. Since I don't drink coffee and most people assume my energy must come from caffeine, usually my first answer is water. Some of it might come from my almost-daily Synergy kombucha tea. But, really, it is fitness that keeps me moving. The more I move, the more energy I have to keep moving.
I use the term "fitness" rather than "exercise" because fitness encompasses not only a range of activities, but a state of being and a mindset as well. Making a place for fitness in my life is more than just an exercise routine or a regimen--it is a recognition that strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance are building blocks not only for health and fitness but for life itself.
During the academic school year, I teach a fitness class (or two) 5 or 6 mornings a week. I don't teach the early morning (5:45 a.m.)classes, but 8:00 or 9:30 (or even 10:30 on Saturday) is early enough to still be "early" for me, a recovering night owl. Sometimes my 8:00 a.m. yoga class is really difficult to get out of bed for, especially when the dark Maine winter morning greets me and especially when I have been teaching or working late the evening before. But, I have to be there. People are depending on me.
This summer I decided to lighten my teaching load and gave up my Tuesday morning class, making Thursday morning my only "early" morning. My Tuesdays without yoga have generally been lazy and unproductive. I usually take a nap and sometimes I feel depressed for most of the day. I don't even start moving, so I can't keep moving. Thursdays are different. I'm done with class by 9:30 and I get an amazing amount of work done. It's a good reminder for me that I need to keep moving. Whenever I think about giving up one of my morning classes, I remember the way I feel after class. Perfect and amazing and ready to take on any challenge my day holds.
So, teaching keeps me moving. Yoga keeps me moving my body and my mind. Having a class of people waiting for me, keeps me moving. The transformation from cold, grouchy, tired, grumbly, angry to relaxed and energized--for me and my students--keeps us moving. And as transformative as yoga is, I get as much from my cardio classes. The types of movement may be different, but they are all part of a bigger fitness picture--a way of moving through life as much as through our bodies.
I am not a big fan of the t-shirt. I find them to be uncomfortable and unflattering. They choke me and they never fit right. They're hot and they restrict my movement. They are also a way of advertising a message on the outside of our bodies to anyone who is looking. They can be a way of branding ourselves, or communicating something that is important to us--clothing with a cause, a campaign, or an attitude. The t-shirt is practically disposable, moving from one trend to the next, even when the cause is a worthy one. And more than likely, someone's underpaid sweat--someone with no choice but to keep moving--made the t-shirt in the first place.
What keeps us moving is what we internalize; what keeps us moving is what we know that we need. We have to keep moving so that we can keep finding that feeling and so we can move ourselves as well as others. The t-shirt is one tool, but what's more important is what's underneath it.