Have you ever thought about why we work out or why we lift weights? Exercise doesn’t appeal to everyone, and it takes a lot of motivation to do it, so what’s the deal? The answer is that exercise helps you live life to the fullest.
The Path to Happiness
In my view, exercise and movement is a pathway to better health. Better health is a pathway to better quality of life. Better quality of life is a pathway to a happier YOU. During those moments when you are struggling through that last set, or working your way to that next cardio interval, or walking instead of driving to your friend’s house, and you’re dog tired, you have something to hang on to – some reason why you are working so hard. It can be about weight loss, to be sure – but this is way bigger than weight loss. I would go so far as to say that if weight loss is the only reason you’re moving, you will at some point quit. It won’t be a strong enough reason to keep going. Deep down, you know you’re working to live life to the fullest.
Learn to Brake
As a trainer, I get to work with a myriad of different people, with totally different sets of challenges. Consider, if you will, the person with Parkinson’s, or Multiple Sclerosis. The challenge to move is more an imperative; if they don’t move, they hurtle ever faster toward losing movement and function altogether. I think of it like this: when I was little, and I was just learning to skateboard, I would start down a hill, and not be able to stop. Total panic hits as you realize you are going faster and faster down the hill, but you can’t stop, and the risk of running right into oncoming traffic grows ever closer. Exercise for the person with a neurological disorder like Parkinson’s or Multiple Sclerosis is like learning to brake on your skateboard. It slows the progression of the disease, so you don’t hurtle down that hill quite so fast. This gives the person more time, doing more of the things they love.
Live Life to the Fullest
If you consider your life as a whole, how do you want that life to be? Would you prefer to stay as functional as possible for as much time as you can? I know I would. Regular movement creates the basis for staying active, doing the things you love, for a greater proportion of your life. That doesn’t mean you need boot camp every day, or a killer workout that makes you so tired you need a nap. What it does mean is planning out purposeful movement in your life the way humans were meant to: short bursts of activity like walking the dog for 15 minutes are fine to keep you going. But how many times do you find yourself avoiding even that? Do you go for the closest possible parking space, but could walk further? Do you take the easy way more often, opting out of stairs (assuming you can do them)? How much time do you actually sit?
In order to improve your practices, try logging these small activities to become more aware of your daily movement. You’ll have a clearer picture and be able to make adjustments as needed. Sometimes you don’t realize you’re taking shortcuts in the moment, so it’s necessary to take a step back and analyze things.
If you would like to discuss how you can improve your day-to-day activity or would like to try a new fitness program, contact me for a fitness consultation!
Written by Melissa Abramovich, ACE CPT, NASM CGT, AAHFRP Medical Exercise Specialist at Elite Sports Club-River Glen
Melissa Abramovich went into Personal Training and Group Exercise instruction after successfully losing 140 pounds through healthy diet and exercise. Her desire to help others drove her forward into a career helping others to make healthier choices. She is an ACE certified personal trainer and now also a Medical Exercise Specialist (AAHFRP), helping clients with a myriad of health issues at Elite Sports Clubs. She holds a Bachelor’s degree, and many group exercise-related certifications as well.
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.