Although I run this blog, I leave most of the writing to our more-qualified authors and contributors. I can’t even remember the last time I wrote an article here. I may not consider myself all that great a writer, but this is one topic I’ve been wanting to share my thoughts on for a while now, as I think it can inspire a lot of people out there.
People often do the right things for the wrong reasons. The problem with using this approach to just about anything is that it simply does not last. Unfortunately, this also underpins why a lot of us are unable to sustain our exercise habits. I have been regularly exercising for the past several years for what I believe are the right reasons to do so. And my motivation has rarely ever failed me. My goal here is to share these “right” reasons that everyone should use to motivate themselves to exercise.
I will touch on a few simple, no-brainer reasons why everyone should exercise and occupy themselves in some sort of physical activity, whether it is running, walking, yoga, strength training, swimming, or any kind of sports. After reading this, it should not make any sense to you not to regularly exercise or go to the gym. The objective is to have you exercise for the same reason you would drink water or eat food.
It takes no Sherlock Holmes to observe that most people exercise to improve how their body looks (i.e. aesthetics) and/or to be healthier. Now, the problem with the former reason, aesthetics, is that it is driven by extrinsic motivation and social validation. In most cases, individuals want to get fit in order to impress other people and gain validation. Personally, I’ve always seen this as a perfect example of a wrong and shallow reason to exercise or go to the gym. This is because, over time, you would lose the desire to impress others with your fit body, leaving you with no motivation to exercise.
But if you exercise for the right reasons, trust me, it’s going to be very difficult to lose the habit. After all, the human body is meant to move around and not remain sedentary, biologically speaking at least. I personally get some sort of exercise and strength training every single day and people often ask me how I am so motivated all the time – the answer lies in the reasons listed below.
1 – Exercise Makes You Smarter
I hope you see the irony here. It is often the intellectuals that see exercise as a time-consuming chore or a hindrance to their pursuits. But what if I told you that regular exercise triggers endorphins and results in a greater supply of oxygen to both sides of the brain? – which increases your concentration, decision-making ability, and creativity.
So, if you’re someone who banks on your cleverness and smarts to thrive in this world, exercise is like that magic pill which can increase your brainpower by leaps and bounds. Whatever if it is that you do, exercise increases your chance of succeeding as it enables you to recruit more brainpower.
2 – Builds Discipline
No human being is motivated 100% of the time, and that’s perfectly fine. But during the days when you feel unmotivated, it is your discipline that will come to the rescue. As such, the more discipline you develop over the years, the less likely you are to experience a downward spiral resulting from a lack of motivation.
Because regular exercise or training can be boring or routinely to many, it takes an enormous amount of discipline and hard work to consistently exercise. Time is almost always never an issue, by the way. People are just extremely good at making excuses to escape exercising. So, by regularly exercising even when you don’t feel like it, you will inevitably develop formidable levels of discipline. The best part? this discipline and hardworking attitude carry over to all aspects of your life. Generally speaking, success in life is all about doing things that you have to do, not things that you want to do.
3 – Increases Energy and Alertness
Regular exercise improves energy levels by increasing the amount of blood flow to your body and strengthening the circulation in and out of the heart muscle. When you have high energy and alertness, you can live life more and get the most out of your endeavors. Simply put, it enables you to live life to the fullest and make the most out of your time here in this world.
Also, when you’re more alert, you’re able to take in more information and actively pay attention to situations and people around you. This will help you live in the present, develop richer experiences, and carry out genuine, eventful interactions with other people.
4 – Teaches You Goal-Setting
Though intangible, this one really extends to multiple facets of your life. In training, we often set fitness goals and milestones which we work hard towards. For instance, those in the world of strength training would be familiar with the 1-plate overhead press, 2-plate bench press, 3-plate squat, and 4-plate deadlift milestones. Whether you’re into running, swimming, calisthenics, or yoga, you’re likely pursuing certain goals within these fitness domains. It is these goals that motivate us to train hard every session.
Similarly, you can’t get anywhere in life without setting goals and targets. Achieving your fitness goals in the gym builds grit, perseverance, and discipline, which can be really helpful when pursuing other goals in life, be it financial, educational, or social.
5 – Increases Confidence
Working out increases confidence in two ways. First, your body will look better which means you will be more confident regarding your physical appearance and sense of self. Second, training gives you added confidence derived from the ability to achieve great things. For example, if you work hard and eventually get those six-pack abs, you will develop the confidence to pursue seemingly impossible goals.
6 – Boosts Immune System and Prevents Sickness
Prevention – through exercise – is the best medicine possible. Exercise is a natural immune system booster. Ever since I embraced an exercise regime that involved working out every single day, I stopped getting those periodic episodes of colds/flu that I had become so accustomed to. My vulnerability to allergies also decreased considerably.
With regular exercise, you are basically setting yourself up to stay away from the doctor as much as possible. This alone is a highly compelling reason to work out, not to mention the cost savings that result from fewer visits to the doctor.
7 – Helps You Live longer
Ever since the dawn of humanity, people have been trying to find the magic pill to immortality. Of course, no one has succeeded in doing so, and no one ever will. Having said that, people are living longer now than ever before, owing to the improved healthcare systems over the world. While we can never achieve immortality, we can surely prolong our life expectancy.
Prolonging life expectancy depends on a number of variables including not only exercise, but also nutrition, mental health, social relationships, and environmental factors. But make no mistake, exercise remains central to this pursuit as it enforces the other aforementioned variables.
8 – Reduces Stress
Ideally, each one of us – though our little or grand ways – should be dedicated to driving humanity forward and making the world a better place. In addition to financial reasons, this is why work is a crucial aspect of one’s existence. With work, however, comes stress.
If exercise helps to reduce stress, this means we can focus more on the work we do without having to suffer greatly from the negative effects such as stress. Of course, a little positive stress is good for growth and development. But too much can be counterproductive. Exercising keeps stress levels in check and gives your body an avenue to get rid of stress hormones.
9 – Builds Willpower to Tackle Challenges and Do Hard Stuff
Exposing yourself to physical pain during workouts requires quite a bit of willpower, resilience, and receptivity to adversity. In this way, training builds the willpower to tackle challenges and obstacles in life. Apparently hard things become easy since you’d have developed the willpower to welcome challenges.
So, there you have it: nine highly compelling reasons to exercise and train regularly. You would have noticed two things in common across these nine “right” reasons. First, there is no encouragement of exercise as a means to a good-looking, sexy body. Because our goal is lasting motivation, the physical aspect is supposed to be the byproduct, not the primary intention. Second, all of the nine reasons lead to one highly desirable outcome – a better quality of life!