Balancing all the responsibilities in life is tough. Between work, the kids, the husband, all the kids activities and chores around the house, who has time to exercise? At least that’s the excuse I was telling myself for years. After all, it’s so easy to put exercise on the back burner when everything else takes precedence, like work and kids. But what I learned was that in the long run, putting myself last was not good for anyone, especially myself.
So what changed?
After coming to a realization that I needed to address my anxiety and depression head on, a friend of mine reached out to me and asked me if I lifted weights and my answer was a quick and firm NO! To be honest, I’ve always been intimidated to lift weights because I didn’t want to look stupid, clumsy and dumb amongst people who were super fit and knew what they were doing. But, nevertheless, I was open to trying anything to help with my mental health so my friend gave me a 12 week weight training program. At first I was a little skeptical. I didn’t know if it was something I can do for 1 week let alone 12. But here I am at week 9 and feeling like a completely different person!
My life has literally changed since I started incorporating weights into my workout routine. I quickly learned that in order to lose weight, speed up your metabolism and truly shape your body, you have to lift weights. I still do cardio but not nearly as much as before. I do about 20 minutes of cardio after my weight training workouts.
If you knew me before, I absolutely dreaded any form of exercise. Now, exercise is a huge part of my life. I commit to going to the gym the same way I commit to all my other responsibilities in life.
But let’s be real, I have days where I feel lazy and unmotivated AF! I’m still human. But, what I tell myself in those moments is that I MUST exercise in order to accomplish other things. I MUST move my body if I want everything else to fall into place. I have to give myself a little pep talk and remind myself of how EMPOWERING it is to work out and how AMAZING I will feel afterwards. Then, I get off my butt and JUST DO IT!
Here, I share with you 10 ways I benefit from exercise (and none of it has anything to do with losing weight).
10 Reasons Why I Exercise
- It gives me a clearer head.
I used to just go with the motion and go about my days with a fog hanging over my head all day. But not anymore! I see and think more clearly when I’ve exercised. I’m more alert and find that I am more assertive when dealing with others or in certain situations where decisions have to be made.
- I’m more patient with my kids (and other humans for that matter).
I am able to relax and breathe through stressful situations or when I encounter a rude or frustrating person.
- I’m happier and in a better mood.
Those endorphins are real, people! There have been times where I’ve had to drag my lazy butt to the gym in the worst mood ever and let me tell you, sweating it out and lifting weights works miracles for turning that frown upside down!
- I see myself getting more toned and looking leaner.
Notice I didn’t mention anything about my weight. I refuse to weight myself because I find that it completely messes with my head. Instead, I gauge my progress on how certain clothes fit on my body (hello skinny jeans!), how I look in pictures and how I feel when I see the person looking back at me in the mirror. People making comments about how happy and healthy I look is a huge indicator for me as well. Not that I care about what people think but because its nice to be recognized for the hard work that I’m doing to improve myself.
- I feel better about myself and more confident.
And people, let me tell you, a confident woman can achieve anything! I’m not even talking just physical confidence, but when I push my body to its limits, it makes me feel like Wonder Woman. It gives me the confidence to achieve other goals I have and nothing is too out of reach or impossible to get. It’s the best feeling in the world!
- I have a better outlook on life.
I see the world through a much better lens. Because I am putting myself first and making my health and happiness a priority, I have so much more appreciation for life. I value things, people and the world more because I have gained perspective and know how incredibly blessed and lucky I am. When I don’t exercise, I find myself more bitter, holding resentments and getting angry over the slightest things. But when I do exercise, on a consistent basis, life is just so much better!
- My time exercising allows me to focus on myself and myself only.
Every minute of my every day belongs to catering to other people. Whether its my kids, my husband, volunteer work, my blog, household work, etc…the list goes on. Spending time at the gym exercising is the one time I make sure I give myself. I deserve it and you do too.
- Sweating it out has improved my skin.
I have a glow I didn’t have before. I used to get major breakouts and discoloration on my skin and spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars on skin care products in hopes of making it go away. But let me tell you, you have to take care of your body from the inside out! A good diet full of fruits and vegetables along with drinking tons of water and a consistent exercise routine was the only thing that really improved my skin. I love the feeling of sweating out all the toxins from the day! No amount of products can replace the effects of how you take care of your body.
- Exercising makes me eat healthier.
I am much more aware of what I eat before and after a workout. None wants to eat like crap after a good workout. It just doesn’t feel right eating unhealthy after sweating it out. Exercise has made me so much more aware of the foods I eat. I’ve also learned through trial and error what type of foods give me energy for the gym and what foods suck the life out of me. Eating clean, nutritious and whole foods takes my workouts from 50% to 120%! It makes a world of difference what you feed your body before and after a workout.
- Exercise is cheaper than therapy.
I wholeheartedly believe in therapy. And this is not to say that you should not go to therapy and exercise instead. But, I will say that exercise comes at a close (and cheaper) second to a therapy session. The amount of pent up frustration and bad energy that you can release with an hour of intense workout is amazing.
Exercise is something I HAVE to do. For my physical health, my energy levels, my confidence, my self-esteem and most importantly, my mental health.
If I can do this, you can too! And you don’t need a gym necessarily. Just a couple of hand weights and a mat for at home workouts or just get outside and run!