Are you struggling to find some fitness motivation this week? Is the idea of squeezing into that outfit or adjusting your belt buckle to a smaller hole not giving you the motivational push you need? If you’re looking for some reasons to get in shape, here are 12 winners to get you motivated today.
With the holiday season upon us, we may all need a bit of extra fitness motivation to help us stay focused with our health goals. I talk a lot about the internal health benefits associated with leading a healthy and active lifestyle. Improved health is the primary reason we need to exercise and consume a nutritious diet. We are often easily motivated by our external appearance, but that’s always changing—especially as we age. It feels like we have to work twice as hard and be twice as disciplined to get the same results that came so easily when we were younger. Change is something we all have to accept. Your body may be continually changing, both internally and externally, but your desire to be healthy should never change.
Engaging in cardiovascular activity is good for your heart. Your heart is a muscle, and pushing it to work hard a few days each week may help to improve your cardiac output. If you engage in cardiovascular activity on a regular basis, you may lower your overall resting heart rate, which is good for your health long-term.
When you exercise, you increase the blood flow around your body. Your post-workout glow may not last all day, but you’ll look more radiant right after your session. If you’re lucky, the healthy glow will make you look and feel great.
Exercising on a regular basis may make you become more aware of your posture. As you gain body confidence and movement awareness, you become more conscious of what feels right for your body. Slouching may become a bad habit of the past. As an extra bonus, good posture makes you look taller.
If you have sore and stiff joints that are caused from sitting down all day, moving more often will help to alleviate that stiffness. Joints that are immobile tend to get sore. Once you’re moving on a regular basis, you improve the range of motion, and movements of everyday living become easier to perform.
When you make exercise a part of your lifestyle, you’ll start to notice changes in how you look and feel. You may lose excess body fat and gain lean muscle mass, which is great for your appearance and it also helps your body to become more efficient at burning calories. Having a high percentage of lean muscle mass requires more calories just to sustain itself than someone of the same weight who has a higher percentage of body fat.
Performing physical exercise can make you feel happier in your daily life. One of the reasons for this is that your body releases an increased amount of endorphins when you’re active. Endorphins are your body’s natural happy hormone. You may also feel happier because you’re taking good care of your body. This sense of accomplishment can often make you have a greater sense of well-being.
Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain and help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn.
Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. When you exercise, your body must deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues to help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily tasks.
Working out on a regular basis may help to improve your brain function. Various studies have shown that cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells (neurogenesis) and improve overall brain performance. Studies suggest that a tough workout may also increase levels of a brain-derived protein (known as BDNF) in the body. BDNF is believed to help with decision-making and higher learning.
Exercise may act as a temporary diversion to daily stress. When you’re exercising or having fun doing activities, you’re generally not thinking about the things in your life that are difficult. Taking time out of your busy day to focus on yourself can reduce the feeling of stress. Less stress can also help with weight loss, because many people eat unhealthy foods to combat stress.
Exercise provides an opportunity for social interaction that may otherwise be lacking in your life. Starting a new activity can help you find a new circle of friends or provide you with a healthier opportunity to reconnect with old ones. So often we go out to eat to socialize, but doing an activity is much better for your waistline.
Being active can help to improve your sleep habits for several reasons. Exercising raises your body’s core temperature. As it cools back down to normal, it can help you to feel relaxed and ready to sleep. Because activity can help reduce your stress levels, drifting off at night may become easier.
There you have it—my top 12 fitness motivation reasons.
Samantha Clayton is responsible for all activities relating to exercise and fitness education for Independent Herbalife Members and employees. Through in-person training sessions, educational tools and materials, and her blog (www.discovergoodfitness.com), she ensures that the important role of exercise as part of a healthy, active life is understood by all. She also helps create, organize and promote employee fitness programs and activities as an integral part of the company’s corporate wellness program.
A native of Liverpool, England, Samantha initially worked as a consultant for Herbalife for two years and led the Herbalife24-Fit program, the company’s first comprehensive fitness training program and DVD series.
Before joining the corporate ranks, Samantha was a professional athlete. She represented Great Britain in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in both the 200m and the 4x100m relay events. Prior to the Olympics, she won two medals in the Olympic AAA trials – a silver medal for the 200m and a bronze for the 100m – as well as a silver medal in the 4x100m relay during the European Junior Championships in 1997. Her personal records include 11.40 seconds in the 100m and 23.02 seconds in the 200m.
Samantha is a personal trainer and group exercise coach through the American Fitness and Aerobics Association (AFAA) and International Sport Science Association (ISSA).