Top 5 Reasons to Exercise...Other than Health and Weight Loss
Alexa McDonald, RD, CDN
Too much of the time our motivation to get active is about weight, body image, or overall health. As a society where 68.8% of our population is overweight or obese, this is probably thought of as a good thing. However, research shows that we actually spend less time exercising when weight loss and health are our motivation. So why should we get moving?
- It improves our mood: Elle Woods was right. Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, happy people don’t… well, you know the rest. Endorphins really do exist and they positively impact mood after as little as 30 minutes of exercise.
- Enhanced Self-Esteem: After a workout, we often feel more accomplished and in control of our own lives. Even more so, it can add to improved self-discipline. All things that help contribute to an overall positive self-esteem.
- Improved Energy Levels: A professor of mine said he would exercise before every time he sat down to study. His reasoning wasn’t just in his head. The same endorphins that boost mood, also boost physical energy levels. We’re ready to tackle whatever tasks come at us next!
- Reduced Stress Levels: Exercise functions as a form of meditation by distracting our brains from the stressors running through our heads. It also helps improve sleep so that we better tackle stressful situations, reducing anxiety and helping us take a step back when we need it most.
- Increased Opportunities to Socialize: Exercise gives an additional excuse to get together with friends. Dancing, hiking, walking, tennis, etc are all great ways to catch up with friends while taking care of yourself and your body...physically, mentally, and socially.
Next time you’re debating putting your sneakers on, don’t think about your weight or what you ate at lunch. Instead, think about how exercise makes you feel in the short term and its immediate ability to enhance your overall life one day at a time. Above all else, choose an activity that YOU enjoy. We’re more prone to keep doing what we like, not what burns the most calories, is the new hype, or what we think we should be doing.