Ten reasons you should start exercising today
By: Tim Hamilton
1/ Improve your quality of life.
Fitness is much more than just looking good. It’s being capable. A greater level of capability means you have access to a much broader range of recreational activities. When you can experience more, life becomes a richer experience. Have you ever been confronted by limitations? Frustrated due to your inability to participate in activities, while those around you appear to be having a good time? The loss of 2 percent of muscle mass per year can result in a dramatic decline in your capability by the time you’re 65.
2/ Enhance your personal productivity.
There’s a certain confidence that comes with the acquisition of physical strength. Who doesn’t want to perform daily tasks better? The path to independence is achieved through practice and training. If you don’t do something to “sharpen the saw,” it will get dull and so will you, no matter your age. So if you want to get more stuff done and feel a greater sense of accomplishment, you need exercise. In the workplace, healthy, fit people tend to call in sick less and are more likely to get promoted. Give your career and your productivity a boost by making daily movement a habit.
3/ Improve your mood and outlook.
Did you know that exercise directly increases and balances key neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine) in the brain, immediately affecting your mood, energy and state of mind? When you exercise, you feel positive physical sensations, and you get positive physical side effects, not negative ones. It’s better than drugs! When you reinforce this daily, it becomes a habit, and the effects are even more profound and long-term.
4/ Boost your self-esteem.
It’s good to like what you see in the mirror. When you exercise, you tend to have improved body composition (more muscle, less fat). This always looks better than obesity! When you like yourself, your confidence grows, and others can sense it. This leads to positive social interactions, which is really good for both mental and physical health.
5/ Reduce your risk of illness and injury.
People who exercise sensibly enjoy a protective margin from illness and injury. They are more resilient, both physically and mentally. An accident that might put a weak, frail individual in the hospital (or worse yet, prove lethal) might be only a minor nuisance to a strong, fit individual. Strong people are harder to kill! Weight training gives you stronger connective tissue that doesn’t easily tear or strain. Greater bone density from weight training yields bones that don’t easily fracture. Aerobic exercise strengthens the heart muscle itself so it doesn’t have to work so hard. You build cardiac reserve, and your resting heart rate slows down.
6/ Be a happier, calmer person.
Brain chemistry is directly affected by exercise. Your happiness IQ is directly affected by the levels and balance of neurotransmitters. Recent breakthroughs in the study of the human brain show dramatic differences in levels of those who exercise versus those who don’t. Exercise has also been shown to reduce dependence on medication. It is possible to manage and control ADHD, stress, anxiety, hypertension and diabetes through properly supervised exercise. In clinical trials, exercise has repeatedly shown to be far more effective than Prozac, Lexapro, Ritalin and Zoloft. Exercise also often plays a key role for people recovering from various addictions.
7/ Optimize your brain function.
Exercise improves long-term memory retention, grows new brain cells and sharpens your wit. Did you know that women who exercise are 50 percent less likely to develop dementia? That’s a huge number! Many disorders related to chemical imbalances can be controlled by exercise. If you want your brain to perform at its best, you can only accomplish that through regular bouts of legitimately challenging exercise.
8/ Reinforce the habits of hard work and discipline.
Working out is more about developing a set of character traits than anything else. Hard work builds character. Challenging yourself daily to push through difficulty builds mental toughness. The mindset of achievement we embrace in the gym carries over into every other aspect of life. People who exercise tend to develop more perseverance than those who don’t. Exercise is a victory over laziness.
9/ Learn the art of patience.
Our culture today tends to promote a “give it to me now” mentality. Many things worth having in life are not acquired without hard work. In the gym, the lesson of patience is repeated and reinforced time and again. You don’t get something for nothing.
10/ Enjoy the physical “high life.”
The bottom line is that we are all born movers. Exercise is hard wired into our DNA. We cannot thrive and perform at our best without it. Figure out what works for you, make time in your schedule, find a competent coach, get moving and watch your life change!
Tim Hamilton is the owner of SeaCity CrossFit in Corpus Christi, Texas. He has been training and coaching kids and adults since 1999, and he is a CrossFit Level I trainer and a USAW sports performance coach. For more articles on fitness, visit Hamilton’s blog at www.seacitycrossfit.com