The “Why” of Exercise

Why should we exercise?

Sometimes in life its good to stop and ponder the why of some of the things we do. This pondering can be a great a time to reflect on our goals and see if our beliefs match the steps involved in achieving those goals. I have found one of the most common “misplaced why’s” is the need for exercise. People often haphazardly find themselves in and out of a gym on an irregular basis without much direction or purpose to them being there. The reason for the inconsistency is often the lack of a good answer to the question: Why am I going to the gym in the first place?

Most of us know that we “should” exercise. It is drilled into us by the plethora of fitness gods on social media performing countless feats of athleticism. We are constantly exposed to the sayings of health gurus through social media who can taint our own reason for wanting to live a healthier. Their posts of physical prowess are the products of their “why” to exercise, but it is not necessarily the same as yours. While the videos may be impressive, it is more important to also ask….what is your why? Why is it good for you to exercise? If we cannot produce a solid and truthful answer for this simple question, how are we to convince ourselves that it is something worth spending our valuable time doing?

There are many research-based reasons that I could give you for why consistent exercise is good for all of us. Regular exercise has important roles to play in: immune function, gut health, cardiovascular health, injury resilience, bone strength, balance, muscle growth, coordination, and the list could go on. None of these reasons matter however if you cannot find the reason for you to consistently show up and put in the work. Just like the medication you are given for an illness, it will not work unless you take your dose consistently.

Progress towards finding yourself more often in the gym or progressing towards a fitness goal does not largely depend on what program you do or what diet plan you are on. The most important thing is consistent time spent working toward your goal. Think back to any skill you have ever learned. What did it take for you to get there? What were some of the reasons for you to practice even when you didn’t want to? When I think back on the skills I have mastered, for me, true mastery took a genuine desire to become better at the skill and consistent practice. Becoming more physically fit or accomplishing some other health goal through exercise is exactly like the process of obtaining a skill. It takes consistent time and practice with a genuine desire to improve on the movements/habits that challenge you.

I now challenge each one of you reading this to critically think about the why behind the purpose of exercise and what it means for you. If you have an exercise or health related goal, answer for yourself these next four questions: Do I want this for myself or for someone else? What are the list of habits that I will have obtained once I reach this goal? What are the milestones that I need to achieve on the road to accomplishing this goal? What can I do today to start consistent steps towards accomplishing my first milestone? If you want to improve your fitness, reach a health goal, or make a positive change in your life through the benefits of exercise, take time today to find your why and make consistent steps to your goal, no matter how small. Just a simple 5 minutes a day, done consistently, can have an astronomical impact on your life. Don’t overthink it, just get moving!

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