As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve never written about exercise here on Simplicity Relished. Not only am I no expert on the subject, but it’s been a huge challenge for me for years. Sure, I played a few sports growing up and even dabbled in marshall arts; you might know that I spent about 12 years dancing before I quit (mostly because I liked ballet costumes). But regular cardio and muscle toning? Not this girl.
Another challenge I’ve had when it comes to exercise is that so much of the motivation out there has to do with body image.
Tighten your butt! Tone those arms! Get a bikini bod! Flatten your belly! And on and on.
There’s no real issue with wanting to look your best, but that type of motivation has never worked for me. That’s partly because I know that bodies are created differently, and most people will never look like fashion models or P90X experts, no matter how hard they work or how little they eat.
It seems like an unfair way to motivate oneself.
Furthermore, I don’t want my appearance to be the only reason why I exercise. To be honest, I’ve inherited a decent metabolism, and have rarely found myself restricting my food intake in order to maintain a physique. This is, in part, why I’ve always been a couch potato. I don’t need to work out in order to fit into my jeans. Then again, I hardly ever eat junk food, so that’s probably a part of it.
Still, as I look into 2015, I know I want to make exercise a regular routine. And I know that I don’t want to buy into the whole counting-calories weight-loss-goal type of regimen. (Meanwhile I know that weightloss is very important for some people and I don’t mean to discount that.)
But I know that there are many more benefits to exercising than losing weight. So here are a few:
1) For my mental health.
This is huge for me. I am an anxious person and I let off steam, sometimes, in unhealthy ways. I’m certainly not the first person to say that exercise helps with stress, and there’s enough scientific proof out there to convince us. I’d like to see my stress levels decrease and improve my emotional stability in 2015.
2) To remember that time doesn’t have to fly by.
Have you ever noticed that running for half an hour straight makes that amount of time seem long? Each step, each breath, counts for valuable seconds that would quickly slip away by just one session of email or social media. But time seems to crawl– at least for me– when I exercise. And I somehow like that. I want to be more mindful of the amount of time I spend on various activities by spending those chunks of time exercising.
3) For my future and my family.
Just as we save money for our future (and for our families), exercise is another type of investment. Women especially are in danger of osteoporosis among other things, and exercise has shown to help with that. Taking care of my body by getting enough sleep and eating well has never been hard for me; getting myself to move, however, has been much harder. But lately, I have realized that I want to maintain my health for as long as I possibly can– as a wife and aspiring mother– and that needs to start today.
4) To practice discipline.
I’ve always loved doing things I’m good at– who doesn’t? But exercise is something that I’m neither good at, nor enjoy. Discipline is such an important practice though, whether it means working out regularly or upholding the commitments we make. Discipline sometimes means doing things we don’t like, but choose to do anyway. I hope to practice more discipline in 2015.
5) For my adventurous spirit.
As you might know, I love to travel. And we all know that the better shape you’re in, the more you’ll be able to explore. Some of my dream travels have been to bike through the French countryside; hike through the Himalayas; kayak along the California coast; and so much more. I’ll need a stronger body to do all those things.
So I’m curious, what forms of exercise do you enjoy most? What are your tips for someone just starting out? Do you enjoy exercise? I’d love to know!