Today’s blogger: Janet Lee, SHAPE deputy editor
I just finished reviewing the background info for the five finalists in the Wilhelmina Hot Body Model Search (sponsored by SHAPE and Men’s Fitness) and I’m even more impressed than I was last year. Naturally, they’re all beautiful, toned, and fit but they also exude strength and confidence—and they talk about how exercise has improved their lives in a variety of ways. One finalist used exercise to help her climb out of a paralyzing depression and regain her health. Another realized that lifting weights was giving her as much mental strength as physical strength. She writes: “[Being] healthy is ‘hot’ because it gives you control, empowerment, and direction over your body, your happiness, and your overall health and spirit.” We couldn’t agree more. We try to drive home these benefits of working out in every issue of SHAPE but I think many people still don’t get it. Living an active lifestyle and exercising regularly is not just about having flatter abs or a firmer butt. It creates a solid foundation for your life that enables you to put in the 60-hour work weeks when necessary, enjoy that weekend hiking trip with your friends, or find the strength to leave an abusive relationship. It primes you for everything else you do. Why wouldn’t you take that opportunity? These women have. Congrats to the finalists, and good luck!