Aesthetic goals are fun. It’s encouraging to see our bodies change when we’re working so hard to build muscle and lose body fat. However, sometimes these goals come a lot slower than we like. This can be very discouraging, especially if you set out on your fitness journey with the idea of making visible changes. Giirrllll, this is no reason to give up! We NEED to exercise for our general health. Put flat abs and a perky booty in the back of your mind. Let’s discuss the physical changes from exercise you can’t see and the damaging effects that can happen if you don’t get your body moving.
1. Improve posture and reduce pain.
Your mom was onto something when she told you to sit up straight. You may not see or feel it now, but the way we bend our bodies can stick! And who wants a hunch back later in life?! You best believe I’m planning on being the most upright 80 year old woman you’ve ever seen. Nothing ruins a cute outfit like poor posture. It can also result in neck and back pain, limited joint range of motion, increased chance of injury, poor circulation, and can even increase your risk for depression. This is why strengthening your core, back, and hips is so important. These three major muscle groups support your posture. If they’re weak, you’ll slouch.
2. Improve productivity, mood, and energy-levels.
You’re always going to have days where you just don’t feel motivated. We’re human, duh! But, those “bad” days could feel better and become less often if you strength train. Oh yeah, I went there. Resistance training not only reduces feelings of tension, anxiety, and depression, it boosts your productivity, mood, and energy levels! Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues which helps blood circulate through your body more efficiently. This results in higher energy levels and a boat-load of #bossbabe confidence. Who knew you could be anymore productive?!
3. Reduce risk of chronic diseases.
When we’re young, and if you’re lucky, suffering from chronic disease is the last thing on your mind. However, it’s the habits we make now that will affect the way we feel later. I always say, “We don’t stop working out because we age, we age because we stop working out.” Staying active greatly reduces your risk of hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol. It also relieves symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Did I mention how it could potentially prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease too? If that doesn’t make you want to pick up a set of dumbbells, I don’t know what will!
4. Increase bone density.
I was told by a young age to make sure I’m getting in enough Calcium to prevent osteoporosis. However, taking a supplement may not be enough or the most effective way to prevent bone loss! Studies show that weight baring exercise, like strength training, can greatly improve bone size and density, preventing age-related bone loss. Did you know that after menopause, women lose 1-2% of their bone density per year?! Scary right? Whether you’re 18 or 55, pick up those weights ladies!
5. Improve confidence and body image
If you’ve ever lifted weights, hit a new PR, experienced a runner’s high, or got through a really hard workout, you know what I’m talking about when I say that exercise makes you feel like a total #bossbabe! Reaching a fitness goal (this even includes getting to the gym!) can help improve your self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is your confidence in your ability to succeed. The more you exercise, the better it gets, and this translates into the rest of your life. Complete a really hard HIIT routine before work and making that deadline may seem less stressful. Let loose in a ZUMBA class and taking care of your screaming baby may feel less burdening. Try a new weight training routine and resolving an argument with your significant other may feel less intimidating.
Strength training, specifically, can also help your body image. Feeling strong (and yes, noticing new muscles in the mirror) can do wonders on how you feel about yourself. These little wins can help change your view of exercise from a punishment to a reward. And that’s what will keep you going!
What keeps you motivated to exercise? Tell me in the comments below!
Health and happiness,