The other day, I checked out a message board for my dorm and saw a post about "losing the Freshman 15" we all might have gained and "actually doing those New Years Resolutions"- basically a group workout program that seemed ALL about weight loss.
I love a good workout. And I love working out in groups. But something about this rubbed me the wrong way- the tone of the post and the get-together was that all these kiddos needed to "drop some lbs" and "shape up" when to me, that's not at all what working out should be about.
To me, physical activity should be a habit, a way of life, a necessity. It shouldn't be something you take up when you feel like you've gained a few pounds or want to fit into smaller jeans. You don't exercise to lose weight, reach a goal, then say, "Great, I'm XXX pounds, I can stop now!"
The benefits of exercise are so much better than losing the "Freshman 15" or getting killer abs. (These can still be side effects of daily exercise and a good diet. Don't get me wrong.)
Regular exercise can:
- Blast stress
- Increase mood
- Regulate sleep patterns
- Increase resting metabolic rate
- Reduce risk of chronic diseases, from diabetes to cancer
- Aid digestion
- Increase circulation
- Regulate appetite and cravings
- Beat depression as well as, if not better than, meds according to a Harvard study
Now don't get me wrong. If promising weight loss is the only way to get some people moving, which I know is often the case, then that's better than nothing. I just think that a lot of times, it'll create short-term exercisers, who meet their goals and then stop, not life-long exercisers.
Categorizing exercise as "for weight loss" and "something fat people do to get thin" is problematic because all people, big, small, ripped, skinny, or in between should work out to get the awesome benefits I listed above. Exercise is about more than losing a few pounds, and how you look in a swimsuit this summer is much less important than how your heart and lungs work 40 years from now.
Why do you exercise? (Do you exercise? I hope so!)
I exercise to boost my confidence, meet running goals, and keep my heart and bones healthy! Also, it makes every day seem to go much better!
Why did you START exercising?
Honestly, to lose weight and tone up! Luckily I fell in love with it, otherwise I might have stopped when I met my goal!