I grew up playing organized team sports so being physically active has always been a part of my life. However, once I stopped playing those organized sports, it was a hard transition to establish my own physical fitness routine.
At first, I forced myself to work out from a sense of guilt because I thought it would even out whatever I ate the day before or that I had to do it to look physically attractive. While the desire to maintain a healthy body mass is not inherently a bad motivation, I was obsessing about it to an unhealthy degree both mentally and physically.
The notion that calories in vs. calories out are equal has long been disproven (Mark Hyman MD, Why Calories Don’t Matter); not all calories are treated equally. Eating a piece of cake after a workout does not even it out. But that is not to say that you shouldn’t enjoy that piece of cake, just that we should not think a workout will automatically dissolve those calories consumed.
While I am not a professional fitness coach, though I do hold a Bachelor’ degree in Kinesiology, I want to share the benefits that I have found in working out regularly. Even when I lack zero motivation, I know in the end it will keep me sane and I love how it makes me feel.
- If I find time to do everything on my to-do list, why can’t I find time to take care of myself? I am definitely more of an after work sort of gal. Mornings are so hard!
No matter what time of day, moving our bodies should be something we schedule into our daily lives. Even if it’s as simple as doing something for 20 minutes.
Showing up and trying your best is what matters. I have never regretted a workout even if it was the hardest thing I have ever done. I am also learning that I do not have to feel guilty if I do miss a workout. Life happens! And moments with family and friends are so meaningful!
- I love to be active and working out just supplements that. I have found several exercises that I actually enjoy doing. Yes, it is possible. I also have a puppy which helps me get out for at least 30 minutes every day.
It is also a great way to motivate yourself to set and achieve goals. If you are like me, I am a very task-oriented person that sets goals for each task I want to achieve. I believe this same mindset can apply to fitness, whether it is the amount you want to lift or how long or the incline you can walk/run.
- When you are feeling down, the last thing you want to do is workout. But exercising has been proven to help with depression and anxiety. Aerobic exercise increases your mood by causing your body’s endorphins to kick in.
If I am having a bad day, I go for a walk or to a workout class, and instantly feel better.
- For me it is a huge a stress reliever. Ever heard of “take a lap”?! The half hour to hour a day is time that I forget the racing thoughts going on in my mind and everything that is going on around me.
I can’t really focus on life’s daily troubles when I am in the middle of workout. Taking that mental break can help me come back to approach my most stressful concerns with a renewed energy.
- Exercise is a great way to spend time with friends and family and they can act as an accountability partner. Grab some friends or family members to go on a hike, ride bikes, or book a workout class.
Yes, there are days I miss because life gets busy. But like I said above, I let those days go and don’t beat myself up for missing them. On the other hand, I also don’t make it a habit to become complacent and skip days because my workouts help keep me grounded.
And in no way am I saying my workout routine should be yours. Choose what activities you enjoy and what fits your schedule.
I walk 30-40 minutes with my puppy almost everyday, and an additional 20-30 minutes on the treadmill at incline, if I have time. On top of that I try to do an at-home strength training workout (plenty of free resources online) or a workout class (cycle, hot yoga, pilates or HIIT) about three days a week.
Working out does not have to be daunting and you don’t need a gym pass. You just have to start moving your body.