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, then here are 12 reasons to get you motivated today!
As the holiday season gets closer, we may all need a little 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 it’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, our body is continually changing both internally and externally but your desire to be healthy should never change.
12 reasons to work out today
1: Heart health: 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. iIf 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.
2: Glowing skin: iiWhen you exercise, you increase the blood flow around your body. Your post workout glow may not last all day, but you may look more radiant right after your session. If you're lucky, the healthy glow will make you look and feel great.
3: Improved posture: 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.
4: Less aches and pains: 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.
5: Improved body composition: When you make exercise a part of your lifestyle, you will start to notice changes in how you look and feel. You may lose excess body fat and gain lean muscle mass, which is not only great for your appearance, but it also helps your body to become more efficient at burning calories. A body with a high percentage of lean muscle mass requires more calories just to sustain itself than a person of the same weight who has a higher percentage of body fat.
6: Feel happier: Performing physical exercise can make you feel happier in your daily life. One of the reasons for this may be that your body releases an increased amount of endorphins and other molecules during prolonged and/or high intensity exercise, as the amount produced is dependent on duration and intensity of exercise. Endorphins are considered your body's natural happy iiihormone, as they are able to reduce pain and produce a sense of well being. 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 wellbeing.
7: Control your weight: 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.
8: More energy: Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. When you exercise, your body must deliver oxygen and fuel at a higher rate to your muscles, which requires your cardiovascular system to adapt and work more efficiently.When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily tasks.
9: Boost brainpower: ivWorking out on a regular basis may help to improve your brain function. Various studies have suggested that cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells (neurogenesis) and improve overall brain performance. vStudies 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.
10: Less stress: Exercise may act as a temporary diversion to daily stresses. 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 some people may eat to combat stress.
11: Meet new people: 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 to out to eat to socialise but doing an activity is much better for your waistline!
12: Better sleep: viBeing active can help to improve your sleep habits for several reasons. viiExercising raises your body’s core temperature. As it cools back down to normal, it may help you to feel relaxed and ready to sleep. viiiBecause activity can help to reduce your stress levels, drifting off at night may become easier.
There you have it - my top 12 fitness motivation reasons. I can think of a lot more incredible reasons to stay fit and continue to work out, but I'd like to hear from you. Share your favorite fitness motivation tips in the comments section.
Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife
i Intensive lifestyle intervention improves cardio metabolic and exercise parameters in metabolically healthy obese and metabolically unhealthy obese individuals. Can J Cardiol. 2014 Apr;30(4):434-40.
ii González-Alonso J, Crandall CG, Johnson JM. The cardiovascular challenge of exercising in the heat. J Physiol. 2008 Jan 1;586(1):45-53.
iii Dinas PC, Koutedakis Y, Flouris AD. Effects of exercise and physical activity on depression. Ir J Med Sci. 2011 Jun;180(2):319-25.
iv van Praag et al. Exercise, energy intake, glucose homeostasis, and the brain. J Neurosci. 2014 Nov 12;34(46):15139-49.
v Heyman et al. Intense exercise increases circulating endocannabinoid and BDNF levels in humans--possible implications for reward and depression. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2012 Jun;37(6):844-51.
vi Kredlow MA, Capozzoli MC, Hearon BA, Calkins AW, Otto MW. The effects of physical activity on sleep: a meta-analytic review. J Behav Med. 2015 Jun;38(3):427-49.
vii Horne JA, Staff LH. Exercise and sleep: body-heating effects. Sleep. 1983;6(1):36-46.
viii Eime et al. A systematic review of the psychological and social benefits of participation in sport for adults: informing development of a conceptual model of health through sport. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2013 Dec 7;10:135.