The article, entitled “The Worst Reasons To Work Out” discusses some of the common reasons people work out, and the pitfalls of using those things as motivation. It says that while all reasons for working out have merit, some are just better, more positive, and more motivating than others. The goals you set and the reasons why you work out may even set the tone for the rest of your life, and of course the better and more empowering the reasons you choose, the better your entire lifestyle may be.
According to the article, here are some of the top reasons people exercise that may seem positive at first glance, but can actually be unhealthy or destructive:
- Because you feel fat – Using the gym as punishment or to undo the damage from the night before is a slippery slope. While exercise can help you get back on track, it shouldn’t be used as a form of torture to undo your wrongs. You should merely let the past go and move on with healthier habits. Instead, exercise to feel strong and energetic.
- To eat whatever you want – When your sole motivation for working out is to offset your regular diet of junk food, you won’t get anywhere. Working out can contribute to a healthy, balanced life and allow you indulge from time to time, but it can’t undo many of the negative health effects of a regularly poor diet. Instead, exercise to indulge occasionally in your favorite treats.
- To run away from your problems – Using exercise as a way to escape from the stresses of life isn’t the answer. Exercise can be a worthwhile stress reducer, but it won’t solve everything alone. We often need to face our problems head on in order to overcome them. Instead, exercise to be better equipped to handle problems as they arise.
- To energize when you’re lacking sleep – Using workouts to get going when you’re not getting enough rest in the first place can end up doing more harm than good. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you can actually be working against yourself by exercising: when your body isn’t getting the rest it needs to recover, you can overtrain and gain weight, in addition to experiencing other negative health effects. Instead, exercise to improve your overall health, including the quality of your sleep.
- To get skinny – Using exercise as nothing more than a means to fit into a certain size will only solve part of the problem. Exercising is not a temporary fix that can be stopped once you reach your goal weight. Every body comes in different shapes and sizes, and whether we all fit into the same pants or not, we all need exercise to maintain our general health and well-being. Instead, exercise (at any weight) because it’s good for you.
I’ll admit it, sometimes I work out because I’m feeling heavy, I want to be able to fit into a special pair of jeans, or I want to look decent in my bathing suit. But honestly, the days when I have the best workouts are the days that I do it simply because it makes me feel good. The days where I work out because I truly know that it’s one of the best things I can do for myself are the days that I get the most effective workouts of all. And that’s not to say that wanting to look good isn’t great motivation, or that looking good and feeling good don’t often go hand in hand, but some motivations just work better than others.
Through my healthier living journey, I’ve definitely learned to turn some of those negative motivations around. Often, we may think that people only work out to look like body builders or to get skinny, but in reality, people should work out because it makes them healthier. I know I may never look good in a certain dress or fit into a certain size, but I’ve tried to let go of all of that in favor of my health. And through the power of positive thinking, that mindset is totally attainable for anyone.