This past weekend it was cold and rainy outside (typical Alabama February). So what did I do? Like any other blogger, I spent the afternoon typing away on my laptop. It wasn’t until about three hours later, however, that I finally got up to stretch. By this point, my head was hurting and my legs were stiff.
To be completely honest, I didn’t want to move. As soon as I got up and walked to the kitchen and back, all I wanted to do was burrow back down and cuddle under the warm blanket. It got me thinking…
Why does being fit matter?
You might be laughing to yourself right now (understandably). Of course being fit matters! The unfortunate truth, though, is that there are times where all of us don’t feel like being active.
Being lazy last weekend and then feeling lousy got me thinking about all the different reasons people try to get fit – for looks, impression, health reasons, and so on.
It got me wondering…is there a single motivator out there that’s any more effective than the rest?
After much thought, I put together a list of some of the most common reasons people get fit, then a summary of what things YOU need to always keep that fire going. Check it out!
Eight Reasons People Get Fit
To Look Good
Volunteering to spend hours in a sweaty gym is not something most happily would do. That is…unless it drastically improved their appearance. Being fit to look good is probably the #1 reason why people sacrifice so much time and effort to stay active and eating healthy.
Whether your goal is to lose weight, gain muscle or tone up – everyone has their vision of what their “perfect body” would be. Our society focuses a lot on this – whether it’s through T.V. shows, advertisements, movies or any other form of entertainment. We are constantly bombarded with the mindset that the more attractive you are, the greater respect and acceptance you will receive.
Be careful! This mindset can have damaging effects over time and can severely hurt your self esteem.
To Impress Someone
Another popular reason for being fit is to impress someone. Has this ever happened to you?
A few summers ago when I first met my husband, I realized how little I had been staying consistently active. Even though I played backyard soccer from time to time, I wasn’t in a good habit of running and working out like I had in the past…
…meeting him changed that! It may sound silly, but sometimes being motivated to impress someone has the potential to boost your level of fitness. Often this is good for short term, however can have a tendency to fade over time.
Read Tips for Long Distance Running for some great ways to give your cardio sessions a boost.
Being fit as a way to socialize more is becoming increasingly popular with the explosion of different group classes. With greater emphasis being placed on finding “workout buddies”, there’s some evidence that working out with a friend may be more beneficial!
Check out The 15 Next Big Fitness Trends for a list of some of the hottest group fitness classes that have caught on recently.
As human beings, we can either be motivated or held back by people. When it comes to fitness, it’s the same way. Finding the right person to share in your fitness journey can be a huge source of motivation. It also keeps you accountable so you don’t fall off the bandwagon.
To Boost Functional Performance
Functional fitness is another increasingly popular reason to stay fit. The reason behind training for functionality (instead of merely looks) is to boost your core stability to improve performance in day to day activities.
Compound exercises that target similar movements you would normally do throughout your day are a prime example. Things like kettlebell swings, variations of squats, bench press, lunges and other exercises that require recruitment from multiple muscle groups for stabilization are going to be your main focus.
Physical and occupational therapy target this almost exclusively, as their main goal is to help people return to their prior level of function. It’s also something that is stressed even more as you age.
To Boost Other Functional Performance
Have you ever thought of exercising to boost your sex life? It’s true! Staying fit and flexible is yet another popular reason why people choose to put in all those long hours in the gym. Another plus? The results are immediate.
According to Fox News Health, just a few benefits exercising and staying active has on your sexual health are:
- Improving blood flow
- Improving endorphin release
- Increases spikes of testosterone
- Improves libido
The next time you feel like skipping a workout or completely throwing your healthy diet out the window, think about how that could impact your sex life. A lot of times, this – just by itself – is a big source of motivation for people.
To Feel Good
What better reason to be fit than to feel good! If this is your main source of motivation for staying active and eating clean, then you are setting yourself up for long-term success!
Being fit to feel good is something that is sometimes forgotten. It’s easy to get caught up in exercising just to look good or impress someone. In fact, some people don’t even try to get fit for themselves at all! They do it just to look like someone else.
If this happens, it’s generally good to take a step back and analyze how being fit makes YOU feel. Because the bottom line is that fitness should ultimately be about you caring for your own body. If you do it for you, then no matter how good or bad your workout was – you will begin to realize that ANY step you take to care for your health only builds you up in the end.
Check out How to Get Out of a Rut in Life
To Boost Confidence
Being fit to boost confidence goes hand in hand with a majority of reasons why people workout. Since exercising and eating clean not only change the way you feel and look, it also changes your mindset.
Lots of people (myself included) find that being healthy and fit boosts their confidence because of its positive effects on the brain. Consistently regulating your hormones to improve your brain’s positive response system builds your self-confidence. This makes you more willing to tackle any challenge that comes your way.
If you think of it as an equation, it would look something like this.
Improved mood + Improved physical appearance + Improved confidence = Improved outlook and quality of life
To Ward Off Disease
One of the final reasons I see people getting fit is to fight off hereditary disease or illness. These people exercise because they don’t want to end up like their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. and suffer from cancer, heart disease or any other form of illness.
Having this motivation is not only very beneficial, but is also very powerful. In my family, almost all of the males on my dad’s side have experienced at least one heart attack during their lifetime. My dad realizes this, and it has been a huge motivator for him to pay more attention to what he eats and how often he exercises.
Being fit to ward off disease is another good motivator that will set you up for success in the long run. Just make sure that you find a way to enjoy the process along the way. It’s no fun being fit if all you’re doing it for is to avoid a consequence.
Does Your Motivation Matter?
You’re probably wondering right now if your motivation even matters. I mean, if you’re eating right and staying active does it even make a difference WHY you do it?
The truth? Yes it does.
Two out of the eight reasons I listed above involve something that can actually be detrimental to your fitness goals in the long run. What is it?
It’s comparing yourself to others. Being fit only to look good or impress someone is a great motivator…however it has the dangerous potential to leave you unsatisfied with where you’re at.
In this article by Louise Green, I thought her points were spot on why comparing yourself to others can make you feel cheated. It starts you down a mindset that can ultimately make you want to give up when you don’t immediately see the results you want.
What I’m trying to get at is being fit should not only be about the looks. Yes, it does improve physical appearance. But more importantly it heals you from the inside out. Realizing and keeping this in mind when you get fit doubles your chances of sticking with it long term.
Because there’s no greater motivation than feeling your best on the inside.
Conclusion – Why Being Fit Matters
To sum everything up, there are a lot of ways people motivate themselves to get fit. For a majority (including myself), they are motivated by a combination of things.
The bottom line is to not merely let physical appearance be your only guide. Sure, fitness is great for losing weight and toning up “problem” areas. However, don’t let that be your only reason to work up a sweat!
Getting fit holds so many more benefits – like improved heart health, mental well-being, sleep habits, hormonal balance and other things that aren’t immediately visible. If you use these things as your core motivation, you might find yourself being active more often.
Because if something makes you feel good – both inside AND out – why wouldn’t you want to do it?
What keeps you motivated to stay active and fit? I’d love to connect with you! Drop a comment below.