Why do YOU exercise? I think a common answer for most people is ‘to lose weight’ or ‘maintain weight’ - but have you ever thought about exercise without the word ‘weight’ attached to it? Sometimes people forget about the other amazing reasons we should exercise. For some people it can be hard to talk about health, fitness and exercise as their passion because many people in their lives don’t quite understand it. I always hear others saying “oh, but you’re already skinny, so you don’t need to exercise’ or ‘Don’t you have better things to do?’. I think these types of sentences come with a little bit of ignorance sometimes, simply because that person doesn’t fully understand the reasons behind exercising.
So whether you are or aren’t looking to lose weight, here are some fantastic reasons for exercising!
Improves Your Mood and Wellbeing
Exercise causes your body to release “feel good” chemicals (called endorphins), which explains that ‘high’ that you feel after you have exercised. I’m sure we can all recall that famous quote from Legally Blonde - “Exercises give you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!” While the thought of doing burpees after a tough day at the office may not sound like your idea of a fun time, a workout (even a quick one!) can help you feel so much better after you are done.
Exercise can also help to alleviate stress. If you are worried about that report that’s due, instead of sitting and dwelling on it, get your heart racing and watch your mood improve! Not only does exercise help to alleviate stress in the short term, but it may also help in the long term. When we exercise, we place our body under a small amount of stress. Regular exposure to this low-level stress, may help to increase your ability to cope with much larger stresses that life may throw at you. Just remember not to go overboard as this can potentially result in burnout, so balance is key!
If you are feeling anxious or angry or just need a little pick-me-up, try going for a long walk out in nature or bust out a few body weight exercises in your living room and feel the difference!
There has been a lot of research that suggests that people who are more active generally live longer. As well as improving quantity of life, exercise can also improve quality. For example, weight-bearing exercise (such as cardio and resistance training) has been shown to help strengthen bones, which can help to prevent arthritis and decrease falls later in life. Regular exercise can also help to strengthen your heart, which may reduce the risk of heart disease - which is one of the leading causes of death in Western countries. Even doing simple things such as going for a walk every day can make all the difference.
Not only is regular exercise great for your general health, it may improve your ability to complete daily activities and prevent injuries. Things such as climbing stairs, doing the groceries or even playing with your kids are just a few examples. The list of benefits is virtually endless!
This is my most important point. I’m all about focusing on how you FEEL rather than how you LOOK. While exercising to reach a desired goal for your physical looks is fine, if this makes you FEEL bad, then you may want to rethink your reasoning behind it. I think I can speak for most people who exercise regularly when I say they do it because they love the positive emotions they get from it. If you are constantly focused on achieving a certain body type or staying under a certain weight range, you are inevitably going to harbour some negative feelings towards exercise at some point or another.
From my own experience, making it through a tough workout gives you a sense of empowerment like no other. It makes you feel like you can take on anything in the world. The feeling is honestly indescribable, and I’m sure if you have ever made it to the top of that hill on a hike or pushed through those last unbearable reps, you have some idea of what I’m talking about!
Exercising can make you feel good as a person. It can help to give you a sense of stability and routine and the energy it can give you is amazing. I know what it’s like to have bad days where you want to lie in bed for hours, but that post-workout feeling can definitely make getting up worth your while. I love that exercise is the one constant in my life that I can count on to help me feel better on the inside, help me clear my mind and be proud of what I have achieved
Don’t worry about what others say. Do what makes YOU happy. Do what makes YOU feel good and watch as you get rewarded!Love, Kayla xx