Exercise to Live Better Not Longer

My 2015 has been an awesome year in fitness. 

I've run up mountains, visited new countries, pushed myself beyond perceived limits, and I feel in better shape than ever before.

Through this year’s fitness journey I underwent a fundamental shift in perspective.

Even though I've always been a relatively fit and active person, whether by playing football (soccer) with friends or doing a workout at home or at the park, I wasn’t super fit, nor did I have a burning desire to test my athletic boundaries. 

I exercised to avoid obesity and to decrease my risk of non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension.

I exercised so I could live longer.

While I do still believe those are valid reasons to adopt a healthier, more active lifestyle, I've come around to the view that it really doesn't matter how long you live but how well you live.

People in "perfect health" still die. Reducing risk to chronic disease doesn't eliminate that or any  threats we face that could take us away at any moment.

Some may see this as a reason to validate inaction and unhealthy habits, but it only reinforces my commitment. This leads to a question I often face and the following answers:

"Why? Why do you do this to yourself?"

I exercise so I'm in a condition that allows me to make the most of every single day.
I exercise so I can take on new challenges, and so that I can explore new cities by the most intimate (and most affordable) means possible—on foot. 
I exercise because I don't want to be part of the crowd that dreads the beginning of every week and begs for the weekend. I don't want to be a part of the crowd that is satisfied with spending a day in bed doing nothing while the world passes by.
I exercise because I have discovered how to find pleasure in the pain.
I exercise to develop the disciple to focus my energy toward very specific goals. 
I exercise because I favor quality over quantity.