Going to the gym can be as natural to some as showering or eating. But for most of us, it’s something we try to unearth the energy to do at least once a week, and if we make it happen one Tuesday for 30 minutes, we’re supremely proud of ourselves.
We know the usual reasons for going, but logic and reason go out the door after a long day of work when the couch and TV look so much more inviting.
Despite our natural inclination toward relaxation whenever possible, there are a few good reasons to go to the gym, even when all you want to do is absolutely nothing.
1. Your body will thank you in the long run.
Your body might feel achy and sore immediately after you exercise, and it probably won’t feel too great during the workout, either. But strengthening your body is keeping it in shape to fight off illness and prevent it from becoming flabby and weak.
Exercise doesn’t just strengthen your muscles, it also strengthens your heart and bones, lowers your blood pressure and of course, reduces your body fat.
America may be one of the heftier nations, but go to the gym once in a while and you can stand many shades healthier and slimmer than the rest.
2. It will improve your relationships.
People like sexy — it’s just a fact. We like being around sexy people; we’re impressed by it and respect it. If you’re going to the gym, you’re helping work toward a sexier you.
You’ll feel more confident when you’re talking to a spouse, friend or coworker in that slim, put-together outfit than in your favorite pair of black stretchy pants and oversized top.
You’ll also have more energy to be around people in your life. You’ll want to go out and be social rather than sit around. Exercising gives us a body we can feel attractive in with our spouse or significant other, and the added energy and agility in the sack doesn’t hurt.
3. You’ll feel better.
It’s a good feeling to walk out of the gym — at least a much better feeling than walking in. As Elle Woods famously mentioned, this happy feeling lasts because it causes your body to release those well-known happy chemicals: endorphins.
Endorphins interact with your brain’s receptors to reduce your sense of pain, resulting in a euphoric and uplifting feeling. Why take drugs or drink when your body can create its own chemical concoction of happiness?
4. It will improve your sleep.
Many of us toss and turn, and sometimes result to popping sleep aids or prescription medicine in order to get a good night’s sleep.
Exercise, on the other hand, tires the body naturally, without resorting to diphenhydramine or Xanax.
A result is sounder, deeper sleep. You’ll pass out when you hit the pillow if you’ve had a full day with some added exercise into the mix.
5. You’ll be less stressed.
Sometimes it’s stressful just to even get to the gym.
It can definitely be a process, including putting on gym clothes, getting your gym gear ready (this can range from a lock and headphones to weight lifting apparatus) and, of course, getting your butt to the gym, which may be a few minutes walk or a trip on the bus or train.
For some overweight individuals, or the highly self-critical, being at the gym might feel stressful and embarrassing. It’s hard not to compare yourself to fitter individuals around you.
Despite all of these factors, going to the gym does reduce stress. Overcoming any anxiety about being seen at the gym or not being in shape will be rewarded tenfold when you start feeling fitter, happier, more confident and more in charge of your health as a result.
Stress comes partially from having time on our hands to let our minds bounce from one worry to the next, and it also comes from unhealthy habits that cause physical issues, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Getting to the gym will take away the physical impetus for stress and reduce the time you have to let your mind wander. In turn, you will find a sense of peace and happiness.
6. It gives your self-esteem a boost.
If you’ve put in the work, when beach season rolls around, you’ll be able to sport the sexy bikini while others are wearing the tent-like moo moo, and you’ll feel pretty damn good about it.
Going to the gym may take you one step closer to wearing that pair of jeans from two years ago that you’ve been nostalgically holding onto. Feeling good about how you look shouldn’t be understated.
Confidence is intrinsically connected to how you look, and sadly, in this dog-eat-dog world, we all compare and judge outward as well as inward appearances.
Getting more exercise will help you feel like you can tackle the world a bit more, and it will shine a spotlight on your inner, as well as outer beauty.