How to Start (or Maintain) an Exercise Routine: Finding Your Why
At some point, that illusive 8-pack will not be enough.
Really. Vanity can only take you so far when it comes to healthy living. This is when you’ve got to find your Why. When the going gets tough and you swear your brand new scale must be broken, it’s important to remind yourself of your other, more important reasons for exercising. (Yep, I said it. MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE 8-PACK!)
Since a broken scale can cause many of us to lose our mojo and promptly purchase a tub of ice cream, I decided to give you a list of a few Whys that will get you through the tough times.
Why Am I Exercising?
- Working out makes you GET SMART! Exercise creates new brain cells, increases brain volume, and reduces the number of age-related holes in your brain. Regular aerobic exercise has been found to increase the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in verbal memory and learning. (Researchers also checked out which kind of exercise is best for your brain, and they found that long distance running created the most new brain cells. HEY-O! The longer you run, the less old-lady-memory you’ll have!) Check out this study if you don’t believe me: Exercise makes you GET SMART!.
- Exercise makes you GET HAPPY! (Really, it does.) Shout out to Alexander Pope who once said, “Strength of mind is exercise, not rest”. Working out increases your ability to deal with stress and anxiety. (This is even true for people who are stressed by the very idea of exercise!) Exercise, a form of physical stress on the body, helps us learn how to respond to other stressors by teaching our physiological systems how to communicate more closely. Check out this article from the American Psychological Association to find out more: Exercise makes you GET HAPPY!
- Exercise keeps you ALIVE! What better reason could there possibly be? Exercise lowers your risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, cancer, arthritis… the list goes on. Just this month, researchers found that "marathon mice" were actually able to slow the growth of existing tumors by 60%! In some animals, they found that running prevented liver cancer from ever happening in the first place. Read more here: Exercise keeps you ALIVE!
- Other, non-scientifically documented Whys, but totally true nonetheless: Exercise makes you feel like you accomplished something. Exercise gives you more get-up-and-go! Exercise weirdly makes you eat better the rest of the day (minus the post-run chips 'n queso). Exercise allows you to climb flights of stairs more easily whenever the elevator doesn’t work. ...?