My Argument for Exercise.

I really wish I could convince more people how awesome working out is once you get into a grove and it becomes imbedded in your routine. I cannot believe how many people I know absolutely hate working out and how few actually workout regularly. I find this tragic. Working out is the best!! Is it hard? Yes! But that’s what makes it great! Getting through a tough workout will not only increase your physical strength, it increases your mental strength as well! The more tough things over which you prevail, the more confidence you will have in the face of difficult situations, that you can get through them triumphantly. That to me makes up a large part of mental toughness. It’s not as though the mental strength you develop working out only pertains to working out, NO, it will transfer to other parts of your life as well. 

Another aspect of that mental toughness and confidence comes from actually getting stronger. Developing physical strength is one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself, especially for women. Strength training is so important to support your joints and keep you from injury the older you get. If you can swing it, a personal trainer would be clutch, I can’t overstate how important it is to learn how to do lifts correctly. Plus, the stronger you are the less vulnerable you are and will feel, and, as a result, the less fear you have to carry around with you. I believe this translates into confidence and even assertiveness in all areas of life.

There are a ridiculous amount of health benefits you can gain from working out too! I know you know this, but if you really UNDERSTOOD this, you’d never miss a workout again. If you go at the right pace and have sound, safe instruction it can make your body feel so much better! Sore back? Achy knees? Stiff neck? All of these can be minimized by strengthening the correct, supporting muscles and, if there’s no structural damage, aches and pains can be completely cured. I really believe it is a small price to pay to physically feel better, which is scientifically proven to elevate your mental state on top of feeling better physically. If you’re in physical pain it is easier to feel gloomy and unmotivated, it can affect every aspect of your life, which is why I think properly taking care of your body (and as a result, mind) is one of the MOST important things to make time for in life. We all know it also produces serotonin, dopamine, and and causes your body to release endorphins which are all happy hormones.

Working out is obviously DIRECTLY correlated to good health, it is one of the easiest ways to boost your immune system and keep yourself healthy. Sweating detoxifies the body and increases your heart rate, flushing fresh oxygenated blood through your organs and limbs. It also regulates the hormones in your body and brain, which is HUGE. If you hate going to the doctor or paying for doctor’s bills or taking prescription meds, get outside (put sunscreen on first and wear a hat and glasses) and go for a mile run, or start with a mile brisk walk and increase from there.  Do body weight lunges, squats, sit ups, push-ups, tricep dips, bent over flys (with a full water bottle) afterwards, follow a do-it-at-home youtube workout video.  If you do this consistently and especially if you start while you’re still healthy, it’s a great way improve and/or strengthen your health. Obviously, there are many medical conditions that cannot be improved simply by working out and I am not suggesting otherwise, only promoting the idea that general health can be improved and immune systems strengthened by regular exercise.

If you can afford it, get a gym membership and utilize the classes, they’re usually super fun and a great way to get into the rhythm of consistently working out. Spin and yoga are two of my favorite ways to get a good workout in. My personal opinion is if you do nothing else and can consistently take yoga, do Bikram yoga. I believe it’s the best thing you can do for yourself physically and mentally. If you can find a friend to bring, make it a social thing, if not, it’s likely you will meet people in these classes, don’t be afraid to say hi and work your way into the community that usually develops around these disciplines. 

An hour a day is all you would need to follow an ideal program and really take care of everything to protect and strengthen your body. But if you don’t have an hour a day you can get A LOT done for yourself in a half an hour a few times a week. Think about how much time you spend watching TV or playing video games or staring at your phone. Consciously decide to dip into that time and use it for taking care of yourself! It’s really really really hard to convince yourself to do this sometimes. One tactic I’ve used before is to simply make the decision. Don’t give yourself the option to debate the decision, simply decide- I’m going on a run, then walk to your closet and put on your running shoes. It’s mindless. Get in your car and drive to the gym, don’t think about it, just decide and act. 

Another huge benefit of working out in my experience is that it makes you want to eat healthier! If I’m going to put in the effort to workout I’m not going to sabotage myself by eating crappy at the same time. Eating well in addition to working out makes you feel SOOOO good. Cutting sugar and simple carbs, and at least down on alcohol gets rid of so much brain fog and will give you increased, purer energy throughout the day and better sleep at night. 

I love how accomplished I feel when I get through a tough workout, and I am even prouder of myself when I’ve managed to eat clean all day as well. It’s a vicious cycle 😉 Working out makes you want to eat healthier, and eating healthier makes you feel better so you’re more likely to workout, plus you should feel better about yourself because you are setting loose a bunch of feel good chemicals in your brain and body which will encourage you to keep it up. The more you do it the easier and more rewarding it becomes, it’s spirals up. 

BUT, we all know, it is REALLY hard to start and stick with it. Create a plan, get really detailed with your schedule, down to the time and length of your showers and meal breaks, find that space ahead of time where you can get the workouts in and just make the decision to go and do it. You don’t have to PR (set a personal record) everyday, you just have to get through it. I believe in you! I used to hate working out and now I’m a convert for life, you can become one too! 

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