It’s possible that you already exercise regularly and that you have seen and felt the benefits of working out firsthand. If so, pat yourself on the back! If you already know how important it is to exercise, then I encourage you to help a friend or family member start their journey towards better health. Invite them out for a walk or to join you for your favourite class. Get them moving and they will also start to see why they should make it a priority in their life. As an added bonus, you’ll get to spend extra time with them and get a workout in – that’s two birds, one stone, friend!
It’s also quite possible that you’re reading this and thinking it’s much easier NOT to exercise, that you HATE exercising, or that you just don’t have the TIME to exercise. I used to think exactly like this- I would go through spurts of exercising and then not exercising, depending on my feelings and motivations. If I’m completely honest, there are still many days and weeks where one of these thoughts STILL creeps into my head and I have to shut it down. In my past, if there were plans for a beach vacation, a Christmas party to attend or some other special event, I had plenty of motivation if only for a while. I would exercise – fast and furious – then I would hit my goal, celebrate for a time and eventually carry on with “normal” life; and with this I would eventually go back to my “normal” body composition as well (usually it didn’t take very long). Many times “normal” would have me rated as obese or worse on the BMI scale (not the best measure albeit, but no one wants to be labelled “obese” on any scale, legit or otherwise).
Along with the more obvious health benefits of exercise (reduced risk of disease, increased energy, improved strength, better ability to perform all kinds of daily tasks, and so on), most people want to see results in the weight loss department. I mean, if you had the perfect figure without exercise, you probably wouldn’t stress as much about exercising right?
But what if it wasn’t only about the end weight loss goal? What if you could enjoy the journey too and, eventually, when you reach your end goal, it is simply the icing on the cake? With the right exercise prescription you can get the results you want (in a slow, healthy and maintainable way) and reap a few extra side benefits to make the journey worthwhile. Here are a few really awesome reasons why I exercise regularly:
- I get to eat ALL the food. Okay, not quite, but when I exercise more that means I also get to take in more calories. Intense workout? Hello, dessert!
- I’m more confident. Nothing beats being at a healthy body weight and having a healthy body fat percentage. When I’m in great shape I feel and look better in my clothes. And that brings me to…
- It’s a good excuse to buy new workout wear. Who wants to wear the same exercise gear all the time?! “Why yes, this IS new Lululemon!” Its best not to get me started on my semi-obsession with running shoes…
- Food. Oh, did I mention food already? Seriously, this is probably my favourite! I LOVE food!
- It can be fun! It’s true! I make sure to incorporate activities I enjoy so I’m not bored. Races or other events are great goals to work towards and help me to stay motivated – plus the events are a blast too! I’m a very social person so group training or team sports are right up my stress-relieving, fill-up-my-tank alley. Not everyone is like me, the key is to find out
what re-energizes and motivates you!
- I can do things I never before thought I was capable of. I’ve been called crazy (totally in a good way, of course) for some of the things I’ve tackled (yes, Spartan Beast, I’m looking at you)! I love being called crazy, at least when it means I’ve done something which has challenged my mental or physical capabilities. Hopefully that means I’m also inspiring someone in some way, too.
- It helps stabilize my mood. I’m pretty sure that if I didn’t use exercise as one of my outlets for stress relief, I would be *this close* to running away with the circus, what with being a mother of three young boys and all that entails on a daily basis.
- I’m strong. It never hurts to be able to carry 17 bags or one giant Costco box of groceries in one trip. Just sayin’!
- I rarely get sick. It does happen on occasion, but nowhere near as often as it used to happen before I started being more consistent at getting healthy. It helps that I sleep really well most nights, too… yet another benefit of being active!
Now, there are certainly even more benefits to regular exercise – these are just a few of my personal favourite reasons. I also find it much better to incorporate exercise as a part of my overall healthy lifestyle on an ongoing basis, as opposed to only when I’m in panic mode trying to reach a specific goal. It is MUCH easier to maintain than to lose, and with a steady “diet” of exercise I am definitely more apt to maintain. Why not reap the benefits ALL the time?
So, what is a healthy approach to exercise and weight loss? The best approach will incorporate your current lifestyle, diet, exercise interests, and time available into a balanced approach to getting healthy. You don’t need to starve. You don’t need to be hangry and miserable. And most people don’t need or want to spend hours every day in the gym. What does “balanced” look like for you? Know this: most things are okay in moderation and the benefits of exercise can be felt without going to extremes. Getting healthy isn’t about changing everything at once, but starting somewhere and making small, manageable changes. If you start with making changes you know you can stick to, it may take time to reach your end goals, but you’ll still get there much faster than if you try to change too much, too fast. Often when we try to make changes that are too extreme, we can’t or won’t stick with them long term, which means we are as lot less likely to reach any goals. Nothing extreme will have lasting effects!
If you’re ready to start reaping some of the benefits of exercise and getting healthy, let’s get together and talk about how you can make it happen! I would love to help you by developing a personalized exercise plan and then of course I’ll cheer you on while you work towards your goals. Everyone needs a personal cheerleader! I guarantee you’ll find the benefits of exercise outweigh the effort you have to put in once you find the right balance of activities that you love; the first step is simply to just get moving and let exercise become your new best friend with benefits!