Attitude: Exercise is NOT Evil

Exercising Makes Me HappyI can only imagine what some of you are thinking right now.  I know many of you have convinced yourselves that exercise is indeed evil and that people who participate in it on a regular basis only do so because they enjoy torture.  I have to admit that it was only a few short years ago that I felt that very way about exercise.  Thankfully, I allowed myself to try it and have really grown to love it and I am hoping that if you have negative thoughts about exercise that I can help you see another point of view.

While weight loss is a GREAT benefit of exercise, there are many other reasons to participate in regular physical activity that will benefit you for the rest of your life.  As I get older and I spend time around older people with deteriorating health, I get a very clear picture of what I DO NOT want my later years to be like.

Exercise or Illness

One tremendous benefit of exercise that I have experienced first-hand is stress relief.  I used to hear people talk about exercising to relieve stress and I wondered how in the world it could help with that.  I have learned over the last few years that exercise is a wonderful outlet for stress.  It gives you a way of working out your frustrations, in a constructive way, and all of those good endorphins your brain releases in the process really do leave you feeling happy when you are done.  Who among us does not need some stress relief and who does not want to improve their mood?

Physical activity can also reduce your risk for many different diseases including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers.  Of course, your risk for disease depends on a lot of different factors, many of which are out of your control, but the choice to be physically active is well within your control and if it could help reduce your chances of falling ill, I cannot imagine why you wouldn’t do it.

Exercise also helps to strengthen bones and muscles which is incredibly important as we get older.  I think some people, especially women have the misconception that if you do any type of weight training, you are going to look like a bodybuilder and that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Studies show that as we get into our 30’s and 40’s, our bodies begin to lose about 1% of muscle each year.  Over time, if we do not engage in a regular strength training regimen, this muscle loss will translate into weakness that makes even the simplest activities of daily living difficult.  I lift weights for many reasons, including increasing my resting metabolic rate, toning my body and most importantly because I want to live the most active life possible for as many years as possible.

When it comes to exercise, I want you to look at the big picture.  Try not to look at it as some torturous activity you must participate in to try to lose weight.  Think of all of the lifelong benefits exercise will afford you.  Remember that it is not necessary to complete a vigorous two-hour workout each day in order to reap the benefits of exercise.  Studies are showing that moderate activity spread out over the course of your day can be just a beneficial.  Your goal should be to be as active as possible for as much of your day as possible.  I also encourage you to do some research on how weight training will benefit your future self and give it a try.  I am so much healthier at 41 than I was at 31; not only because of the weight loss but because of my dramatic increase in physical activity.

Think of exercise as a gift to yourself, not torture!

Exercise Is A Reward

***You should consult your doctor before beginning ANY exercise program.  None of the information in this post is intended as a substitute for advice from a medical professional.***

 

Comments

  1. I have been away from the gym and a good, formal workout for too long. Thank you, Kassie, for reminding me of how much I enjoyed the feelings I had when I was going 3X per week.

    You are most definitely right. At the beginning I feared it as a loathsome exercise in pain. But I came to understand that the minor pain associated with the workout was far outweighed by the good feelings I had in the days and weeks to come.

    Once again, you inspire!

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