Over the past month my dog has escaped twice (she's Houdini in her harness but that's a topic for another day). Both times I had to chase her around the neighborhood running back-and-forth, darting between houses, praying that she didn't get hit by a car or escape forever.
I feel grateful to my body for allowing me to bring her safely home. We call this functional fitness and it basically means that the body is fit enough to perform tasks that have a function in our everyday lives. It might be carrying the groceries in from the car or chasing your dog around the neighborhood. It also might be picking up your kids or playing with them.
When I work with individuals who are physically limited most of them tell me that they desire to have more functional fitness so that they can fully engage in life without pain or fatigue. There's a qualitative difference between exercising to lose weight or to "tone up" and exercising to allow your body to perform these tasks.
I'm not talking about the functional fitness that's trendy in the world of extreme exercise (CrossFit, P90x, etc.). I'm talking about being active so that our bodies are capable of living a full life. This might mean walking your dog every morning to keep your legs strong and your heart healthy. Or it could mean doing yoga for strength and flexibility so that you can easily get up and down off the floor when you play with your kids. Maybe you lift weights to have the strength to carry heavy boxes at work. Whatever it is, it doesn't have to be bound by rules or rigidity. And it absolutely doesn't have to be about weight loss or toning your body. The goal is function, not form.