Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Real Reason to Exercise

Before I go into the specific topics about health, nutrition, and exercise, I would like to share one of my philosophies with you. If you keep this in mind, you’ll always be able to figure out whether what you are doing (or not doing!) is right for you.

You may have several reasons for wanting to exercise. Perhaps you want to look better. Or maybe you want to be healthier. Or, you might even have a specific goal like bench pressing a certain amount or running faster than a certain time. While these are reasonable and even commendable goals, I think the best and most fundamental reason to exercise is the following:

Exercise so that you are enabled to do the things you need and want to do in life.

This basic reason is essential to our survival as living beings. If we aren’t able to perform when we need to, we’ll wither or die. It’s that simple. So, whatever your other reasons are for working out, if what you are or aren’t doing is threatening your well-being in the short- and long-terms, then you should reconsider your exercise regimen.

If you are the active type, consider whether you are over-exercising, especially if you have an injury. Is that extra set of reps going to be more effective than giving your body more time to rest and recover? Is training or playing through an injury worth the risk of it evolving into a debilitating chronic injury? You don’t want to make myopic decisions which disable you from staying active and performing optimally in the long-term.

Similarly, if you are the sedentary type, consider the degenerating quality of life you will face if you keep neglecting your body and putting off exercise. When your health goes down the drain, you won’t be able to focus on work or the activities you currently enjoy. So ask yourself, “Is watching an extra few minutes of TV each day instead of getting up out of your chair worth a lifetime of suffering?”

Once you look at your choices from this viewpoint, it becomes a lot easier to figure out which course of action is in your best interest. As we become busier and busier, remember to take a step back periodically and review your routine through this lens. This will help you stay on course toward your goals, and most importantly, give you the best chance of staying healthy.

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