6 motivations to exercise that go beyond changing how you look

It’s more than just what is on the outside.

We know that exercise is essential to incorporate into a balanced and healthy lifestyle, but it also can be easy to buy into the idea that working out is the means to achieve what we might deem to be an ideal version of the “perfect body.” This mentality can be a slippery slope than can lead to stringent behaviors and self-doubt, and can take out a lot of the joy exercise can bring to our lives.

Exercise is so much more than just a means to an end. It is a time to breathe, to center yourself, and to strengthen yourself. Viewing exercise solely as a way in which to achieve a certain appearance takes the focus off of fitness as a way to achieve holistic health, which encompasses both mental, as well as physical well-being.

Exercise is something that should be celebrated for the health benefits that it gives both mind and body. So, here are six reasons to workout that have everything to do with the joy exercise can bring your life, and nothing to do with the way you look.

To relieve your stress

Try as we might to get rid of it, stress can be a pretty constant mode of operation in our daily lives, whether it is due to a pile up of job responsibilities or personal anxieties. Exercise has been shown to be an effective stress reliever. It reduces adrenaline and cortisol, while increasing the release of those feel-good endorphins that are known to be so addicting. These endorphins are what are responsible for that “runner’s high,” and they do more than just reduce stress; they can also lower the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

To experiment trying something new and exciting

Exercising can be a perfect time to really go out of your comfort zone and attempt something completely new that you never expected to try. A workout doesn’t have to be slogging away at the same old routine in the gym; instead, it can be an awesome way to do something fun, unique, and different. A new type of workout can be an amazing way to push your boundaries. Who knows, you may find something new you excel at, or love even more than your traditional workout routine.

To spend quality time with friends

Working out is definitely not something you have to go solo. It can be the perfect time to catch up with a friend, and in a healthy way that benefits you both. A friend can also be an amazing motivation for encouraging you to push yourself harder in a workout, and he or she might be able to introduce you to an activity that is new to you, and fun to try. Exercising with friends also helps take that dread out of anticipating your workout, and can make you look forward to your workout much more.

To get out your angst

When you’re angry or frustrated, sitting and ruminating about it doesn’t do anything to help relieve that frustration or anxiety. All that pent up energy has to go somewhere, and exercise can be the perfect way to clear your head and center yourself. You can do this through a centering practice, like yoga, or you can punch out all your frustration in a kickboxing class… whatever you feel is best for you at that time.

To explore a new place

Working out is not something that needs to always be done inside in an enclosed, sweaty room. Use your time to get outside and explore! This could be a run through a part of your city you haven’t yet checked out, a hike through a place you’ve always wanted to explore, or a yoga session on a beach you’ve always wanted to see. Not only are you getting in your daily exercise, but you are also getting in some refreshing and rejuvenating time outdoors.

To celebrate all that your body is capable of doing

It truly is remarkable that our bodies are capable of being pushed to be stronger and more adaptable each day. Instead of focusing on the way your body looks, celebrate instead your ability to move, and how wonderful it is to be able to challenge yourself to be healthier, more balanced, and stronger everyday.

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