This seems like a basic question but one that gets asked regularly. Whilst regular exercise is the best thing you can do for your health beside a healthy diet, there are many other reasons that we should exercise. If you ask anybody who exercises regularly why they do it there will be a variety of reasons why they choose to continue. Today I will share some of the reasons I exercise. Everybody will have slightly different motivators to exercise and there is sure to be at least a couple from this list that will motivate you!
Exercise is enjoyable! Every client I have had enjoys working out once they know how to do it properly. There is a huge sense of enjoyment when you can see your body getting stronger and fitter and being able to do things you couldn’t do before. Doing a proper pushup or your first pullup is an amazing feeling.
Similarly to this article I wrote on healthy food tasting good, exercise is too often talked about in negative terms. The way we talk about something has a huge impact on our actions and beliefs toward it. If you constantly say exercise is terrible without doing it then that will become an ingrained belief. Try to replace these negative thoughts and words with positive ones. Instead of thinking about how hard the workout is think about how far you have come and how fit you are!
The other aspect of enjoyment comes from a physiological point of view. Exercise releases endorphins, chemicals which make you feel great! This feeling is one of calm happiness. This sort of endorphin release can only be achieved if you push yourself hard. Doing a few weights machines with minimal weight won’t do much but a few heavy sets of squats will get the endorphins pumping!
The average human today is becoming weaker and weaker. Fewer people need to do manual jobs and the rise of technology means that robots now do the majority of our physical work. Building strength in the gym can be done in a safe way that builds resilience in the body. A body that can deadlift 200kg from the ground without breaking down form will be strong enough to take anything. Having strength means daily activities are easy and there is no struggle to do any sort of task.
This strength is especially useful as we get older. Without any sort of resistance training, the muscles and bones of our bodies begin to degrade. Being strong can be achieved into old age by performing regular weight bearing exercises! Bones and muscles need to be subject to stress so that the body will work hard to hold onto them. If you don’t use it you will lose it.
Another problem of our continued slope into never having to move all day is terrible posture. Correct posture is an alignment of the body so that there is the least amount of stress on the supporting bones and joints. Using a computer and mobile phone all day causes the classic slumped in rolled forward posture. This poor posture often leads to neck pain, shoulder problems and a variety of other bad symptoms.
Regular exercise, especially weight training will help to improve your posture. Strengthening the muscles necessary for posture means you have to put less effort in to maintain proper posture throughout the day. Regularly doing weight training also helps you to utilize your muscles properly and be more aware of how your posture is throughout the day.
Achieving fitness goals that you have set helps in improving your overall confidence. If you can run a half marathon or squat 150kg it gives you the confidence that you can achieve the things you set out to do. This flows over into your everyday life and gives you a much more motivated personality.
The busy schedules that we all have can cause us to have a large amount of pent up stress. Exercise is a great healthy way to blow off steam. All the stresses that you feel can be put into your workouts and as we have seen above, the endorphins that you receive will reduce your stress levels greatly. As exercise contributes to a healthier life overall, it will also reduce the impact that stress has on your body.
As with stress, sleep is another major problem of the modern lifestyle. Many of us struggle to sleep or sleep fewer hours than we should. Regular exercise helps us to not only get to sleep but to have a much better quality of sleep when we do. Completing a big workout each morning will tire your muscles and leave them craving for sleep. When you hit the bed at night it will be a lot easier to nod off if you are physically exhausted!
This is something that seems counterintuitive to many people as exercise requires energy. As you improve your fitness the exercise you do will allow you to get more done. Exercise improves your health which in turn improves many aspects of your life. A morning workout once performed regularly will leave you feeling much more awake than a coffee will and give you the energy you need to start the day.
Improved quality of life
Being fit means you can do more with your life. If somebody asks you to go out for a weekend hike, a fit person can say yes without thinking twice. Their body is ready to take any physical task head on. If you are not fit it reduces the amount of activities you are able to do with ease. One of the best ways to travel and see things is by foot! Having a healthy and fit body that exercises regularly means that you can enjoy life more as you are never held back physically.
I left this until last as it is a motivator that can be good and bad. Taken too far it can cause more harm than good but as a side motivation I see no problem with it. If we look good we generally feel good about ourselves. Exercise will help you to improve your appearance even if it is as simple as clearer skin. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look good but don’t let it be the only reason you exercise as you may struggle to maintain long term motivation.
A regular exercise regime will provide you with so many benefits. Here I have listed some major benefits but there are many more. Try to find your own motivating reasons and continue to reinforce them. If you enjoy being stronger then have goals to improve your strength. If you enjoy hiking then make sure hiking is a big part of your exercise regime. Find what you like and continue to remember these motivating reasons behind why you do it!
Why do you exercise?