“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.” – Jean Shinoda Bolen
There are so many wonderful reasons to exercise other than losing weight. It’s not about getting smaller, it’s about getting healthier. If you have a few pounds to shed don’t worry, healthy weight loss will come naturally once you prioritize taking care of yourself. What is most important is to focus on how exercise can make you feel and how it can help your body thrive in numerous ways. It’s about enhancing the quality of your life, not merely decreasing the size of your waist.
Here are a few reasons to exercise that have nothing to do with the number on a scale.
It improves self-confidence – Studies have shown that exercise greatly increases self-confidence. When you make time to exercise you are prioritizing yourself. When you prioritize yourself you are valuing yourself. When you value yourself your feelings of self-worth and self confidence increase.
It reduces allergy and asthma symptoms – One study in particular revealed that allergy sufferers who ran for 30 minutes showed a 70% decrease in symptoms (runny nose, sneezing, nasal itching and congestion). It’s theorized that the increased blood flow allows the allergens to move through the body more effectively and can therefore be better eliminated through the kidneys and skin.
Additionally, studies have shown that moderate exercise for 20-30 minutes at 60-85% of max heart rate 4-5 times a week should be part of asthma management. Beyond general benefits, patients can see reduced airway reactivity and less need for medication.
It inspires creativity – Studies like this have indicated that participating in aerobic exercise can significantly increase creative potential. Who knew that cycling class could help you write that movie script you’ve been sitting on all these years?!
It can help curb temptation – Exercise leads to an increase in the synthesis and release of dopamine, which basically makes you feel good. Studies like this one support the theory that when you already feel good you are less likely to indulge in things that aren’t so good.
It can reduce stress and anxiety – Studies have proven that consistent exercise can help your resilience to stress as well as protecting you against its harmful consequences. Moving your body will not only strengthen you physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.
Exercise is about so much more than weight loss. So many of us get caught up in body image. Cultural pressures can make us feel like we have to be thinner to be good enough. We are often chasing an unattainable standard. It’s taken me a long time to realize (and I still have to remind myself) that my focus should not be on making myself smaller, but simply healthier. We are all good enough right now, exactly as we are. It may take time for that to sink in, but it’s true. Don’t pick yourself apart, instead embrace all your quirks and qualities and take care of yourself as often as possible by making choices that enhance your quality of life. Most importantly always remember that you are good enough now, you have always been good enough and you will always be good enough. Now go get em!