Why I Workout....and it doesn't have to do with losing weight!
As I was waiting in the check out line at the grocery, I had time to look at all the magazines that line the check out lane. It is not an exaggeration when I say that 80% of those magazines had some cover article that was related to losing weight or changing your body. How to get 6 pack abs, How to lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks, How to get that bikini bod....the list of headline grabbers all assumed I wasn't happy with the body I have and assumed I wanted to change my body in some way. It got me to thinking about my body and why I choose to workout. What was fascinating to me was that none of my reasons for working out were represented on any of the magazine covers that were bombarding me as I was unloading my groceries. I do realize that it is difficult to have positive self talk when we are literally inundated with images and verbage that assumes the negative about our bodies. But, ladies, I am at an age where I KNOW that approaching fitness from a positive angle makes all the difference in the world. If you need a reminder, read our blog post WORKOUT BECAUSE YOU LOVE YOUR BODY. With that said, I thought I would share with you some of my reasons why I workout. And I can assure you, NONE of them have to do with weight loss or being unhappy with how my booty looks! Love yourself right where you are! You ARE spectacular right now!
My Reasons for Exercising:
It works as an antidepressant.
The blues can make everything in life feel harder. Antidepressant medications have been a godsend for many people, but one study found that depression sufferers who did aerobic exercise showed just as much improvement in their symptoms as people on medication. In fact, after four months, 60 to 70 percent of the subjects couldn’t even be classified as having depression. Even better, a follow-up to the study found that the effects from the exercise lasted longer than those from the medication.
It reduces stress and anxiety while adding happiness.
science says that working out is one of the fastest ways to clear cortisol, the stress hormone, out of your system and calm a frantic mind. With 5 daughters ranging from 10-20 years of age, this is a MUST for me! The hour I give myself each day truly helps me to better cope with the stressors that are inherent with a family of 7. Conversely, a recent study found that people who exercise reported feeling happier, more excited, and had more enthusiasm for life than their couch-potato peers. Woohoo! This is such a glorious response to fitness! The constant laughter that eminates from my crazy household really is a testiment to this very point.
After our morning vacation workout....
my three oldest had no problem showing the endorphine high they found from our workout. Of course, being on Lake Michigan also helped!
It improves self-esteem.
It doesn't take a scientific study to tell us that working out makes you look better on the outside. But scientific research does add that it also makes us feel better about ourselves on the INSIDE. In an analysis of research on the subject, exercisers report higher self-esteem and lower incidence of negative thoughts about their bodies. Plus it boosts confidence at work and other in areas of life too.
You want to do what?
My daughter and I recently went on a tree treking adventure. I never would have agreed to go on such a high risk adventure before fitness became a part of my life. The confidence that comes with exercise allowed me to agree to my daughter's crazy idea!
It makes you a good example for your loved ones.
I don't want to creep you out, but...people are watching you. Whether it's your friends, your parents, your siblings, or your children, your circle of friends and family observe what you do and take notice. Your exercise encourages others to do the same. We regularly mimic others around us in our gestures and behaviors. Every time you’re heading to the gym, you’re setting an example and encouraging others to do the same. As Cindy and I always say, when it comes to cardio, nothing's more fun than doing it with friends! And as I recently discovered on a family trip for my parents' anniversery , there's no better way to start each day than a group workout with your loved ones!
It makes you smarter.
A meta-analysis of the effects of exercise on the brain found that fitness improves memory, boosts cognition, helps you learn faster, increases brain volume, and even makes you a better reader. In addition, recent studies have found that working out helps prevent the cognitive decline as we age and diseases like Alzheimer's. This is of particular importance to me as Alzheimer's is a disease that has effected my family.
I need all the help I can get!
With Alzheimer's hanging over my head along with the constant mental challenge that comes from trying to navigate the waters of 5 girls and their schedules, I am even more vigilant about exercising for the mental benefits as a way to help steady our chaotic ship!
There are so many reasons to workout and none of them have to do with losing weight! I just touched on my favorites, but the list of benefits goes on and on. I am at an age where I just want to be fit for life. Can I move my girls into college dorms and apartments without being winded? Can I carry laundry up the stairs without my knees hurting? Our bodies are glorious instruments! Care for your body and it will care for you. Now get out there and set the positive example for your friends and family....I KNOW you can do it!