Over the years, I have tried many different types of exercise ~ running, Zumba, yoga, weight lifting, rollerblading, walking, biking, cardio classes, dance, cross-country skiing, soccer, baseball, plyometrics, home DVDs… the list goes on!
But when it came to why I exercised, I only ever saw it as a means to an end – a way to lose weight. For most of my adult life I have battled my weight and I learned early on that exercise is a key component to any weight loss endeavour. So throughout all those years, and many different types of exercise, I always had one goal in mind – If I do this, I will lose weight and if I lose weight I will look better.
Sure, sometimes I also told myself that exericse would make me feel better too, but I don’t think I ever truly paid attention to what that meant.
This past winter was the first time in my thirty-six years of life that I ever realized there is far more to exercise than simply being a tool to lose weight (nevermind the fact that there are far more important things to our health than simply losing weight – that’s another blog all on it’s own) This past winter was about the third year in a row where I noticed a marked difference in my mental state. As late fall/ winter rolled around, along with it came a dark cloud over my head. I lost my normal ambition and positive mindset, and felt unmotivated, anxious, and very, very exhausted all the time. I hated how I felt and it dragged on for months – until summer rolled around.
At one point though, it started to become clear to me that just as my mood and mental state could be linked to the poor weather, it could also be linked to my lack of exercise. Since then I’ve been doing more research and am reminded again and again that there are myriad reasons to exercise – and that some are far more important in our lives than the size of our waistline!
A couple of the people I have learned this from best are my former Beachbody coach Melanie Watson and a wonderful lady I follow on Instagram (Check her out: moms.can.be.fit – she is such an inspiration!) Both of these incredible woman are constantly preaching the real reasons to work out ~ not just to lose weight (although that can certainly be a positive side effect) but to have the right kind of mindset that will get us through life! Plus, so many other reasons that help us to achieve overall vibrant health.
With this, I started to consider my own personal reasons for working out. Although I still have weight to lose, this alone hasn’t been enough to motivate me to exericse lately (yes, I’d like to lose some weight but at the same time, I’m sort of comfortable with the weight I am now. Also, I’ve been trying really hard not to focus on my “weight” and to focus on my health so this could be why too….).
But what got me started back to exercising this morning, after being off again for a couple of weeks, was the realization that just around the corner is back-to-school/ work! Whether I like to admit it or not, I am about to enter a season where the lazy days of summer are going to come to an abrupt end and our days will be filled to the max with schedules, work, and responsibilities. (I’m also preparing myself for a challenging year as I will have thirty sixth-graders which is the most kids I’ve ever had in a class!)
I know that the best way for me to handle the upcoming challenges of back-to-school/work (combined with some other challenges happening in our personal lives), is to get into a regular workout routine. That led me to start thinking about all my personal reasons for working out. You’ll see that losing weight is on the list but there’s now so much more to it than that. I hope that when I feel the urge to skip a workout or fall off the wagon next time, I can look to this list to keep myself on track!
My Personal Reasons To Exercise
1. Happy endorphins!
2. Mental clarity and focus!
3. To feel proud of myself!
4. Mental strength!
5. Positive mindset!
6. To gain physical strength and to feel strong!
7. So I don’t feel lazy! (A feeling I loathe)
8. It motivates me to make better food choices!
9. It gives me way more energy ~ I hate the feeling of constant exhaustion!
10. To lose and/or maintain weight
11. To overcome challenges (see: mental focus!)
12. To prove to myself that I can do what I couldn’t do before ( physically and/or mentally)
13. To make some things in life easier (ie. climbing stairs, walking long distances on hot/humid days)
14. To be overall healthy, vibrant, and positive!
15. To have confidence!
16. To look good in cute clothes!
17. To like what I see in the mirror!
18. To feel accomplished!
19. To be an inspiration to others!
20. To be an inspiration to myself!
Are there other reasons you would add to this list? I’d love to hear them!