3 Reasons To Keep Working Out Even When You Don’t Want To
July 11, 2013 2 Comments
One of my friends recently said that although everyone else in her family regularly hits the gym, after dealing with a day’s worth of Texas heat, she is just too tired to work out. “I simply don’t have the energy or desire,” she said. Although there are lots of folks who would agree with her (I used to be one of them) now I know that her response is exactly why she should begin a fitness regimen!
As we age, our bodies start to betray us. Our joints ache and our muscles cramp up, and truth be told, most of us simply don’t feel good. Particularly for those of us who have sedentary jobs, our backs can fatigue easily whenever we are hunched over a computer all day and this can lead to discomfort, or worse, chronic pain.
I complained about some of those things before I returned to the gym, but the workouts have really brought my body back into balance. First of all, while exercises like abdominal crunches and waist twists help break down fat stored around our midsection, they also help strengthen our core muscles so that they don’t fatigue as quickly and we feel less tired and have more energy.
Michael Kelly, MHSc, the medical director of LifeBridge Health and Fitness Center in Maryland and a certified neuromuscular therapist, says that a lot of back pain is due to postural alignment problems. “If you catch it soon enough and correct the problem with exercise and strengthening,” he told WebMD, “you can avoid future pain.”
I’ve really noticed how this has improved my own back problems. Now when I pack up and leave the office at the end of the day, my back isn’t so tight and I feel more vibrant so I actually want to return to the gym rather than go home and take a nap.
Cardio exercises like aerobics, walking on a treadmill or elliptical machine or riding a stationary bike also help increase the oxygen levels in our bloodstream, stretch our lungs and improve our respiratory function.
According to the folks at Livestrong, the Ohio State Medical Center says that rather than avoid exercise, asthmatics typically experience improved airway function when they workout regularly because the breathing muscles are strengthened.
As someone who suffers from asthma, I’ve really noticed how this works. When the heat or allergens get to me on a particularly hot day and I feel like I am gasping for air like a fish on land, I workout and afterward I feel so much better because my lungs are opened up and I can breathe much easier.
Finally, working out fuels us and helps banish the blues. Why is this so effective? According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise releases neurotransmitters and endorphins in our brains that make us feel better, reduces immune system chemicals that worsen depression and increases body temperature which helps calm nerves. Other benefits include boosted confidence, distraction from worry and stress, socialization and a healthier way to cope with life’s problems.
Working in the media, particularly on days when tragedy strikes and I spend the day reporting horrific news stories, it is easy to feel drained at day’s end. However, if I force myself to hit the gym following an intense day at work, by the end of my workout I feel so much better emotionally, as if a weight has been lifted and I can keep on going. Sure, the world hasn’t magically improved over the course of an hour, but my outlook is brighter and I feel ready to tackle the next big story.
So if you’re like my friend and think that it is just too taxing to go to the gym, remember these three benefits and ask yourself if you can afford not to work out. The perks to exercise will rejuvenate you, stripping away the years so you feel younger and are ready to conquer the world.