The benefits of exercising
A body in motion wants to stay in motion. People who exercise regularly notice the difference when they stop exercising for a little while. People who don’t exercise might not understand what they are missing out on. Exercise has proven over and over again how beneficial it is to the mind and body. It helps keep us strong, manage our stress, improve our sleep, boost our immunity, keep us off medications, and manage weight. In addition to the physical benefits, exercise can also add to our social interactions.
Who Exercise Is For?
Exercise is for everyone. I strongly believe that exercise is for every single person, regardless of age, weight, gender, personality, and impairment. Sometimes people will use their differences from others as an excuse as to why they cannot exercise. Some of the things that people commonly say are:
- I can’t do that, because I’m not that type of person
- I am too old to exercise
- Lifting weights is for men
- I am too overweight to workout
- I’m too busy
- Exercising is too hard
- I have XYZ injury and I can’t work out
People will come up with endless reasons as to why they can’t exercise, rather than thinking about all the reasons that they should exercise.
With that being said, certain exercises may have to be avoided based on the individual and their limitations. Injuries need to be taken seriously, however, that does not mean that exercise must cease entirely or indefinitely. Modifications are available and sometimes different exercises are needed altogether. However, just because a person cannot do all exercises, does not mean that they can’t exercise at all.
Daniel Stein and his clients are a perfect example of this idea. Daniel helps people with disabilities. He has started Special Strong, a franchise to help those with special needs find ways to exercise. Daniel has also developed a certification program to help people with conditions such as autism, Asperger’s, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and other disabilities.
What he is doing is inspirational, motivational and a good reminder that what we do is significant in the lives of others. Exercise is important and is for everyone. Just because someone has an impairment does not mean that they cannot exercise, they just may need more assistance and creativity.
I also hear a mindset of thinking certain body types don’t need to work out or that certain body types can’t work out. When I first started working out, I was a very thin young woman. People would ask me why I was going to the gym. They thought that because I was thin, I was healthy. What they didn’t understand is that I was weak and in a lot of pain because of the lack of muscle I had. Working out has changed my life and now everyday activities that were once difficult, are now easy.
I still today hear people say to me that I don’t need to work out because I am in shape. Working out and building muscle has positively changed my life, I am in shape because I work out, not the other way around. My response is always, “everyone needs to workout”
My story relates to using exercise to build physical strength. That may resonate with some, but definitely not all. People have different reasons for engaging in exercise. Those reasons are often unique and personal. One thing that remains universal is that our bodies need to move, they were made for it.
The Social Component
In addition to the variety of health benefits, exercise provides a great way to interact with other people. This is true for children and adults alike. Children exercise together by playing outside, jumping rope, riding bikes, climbing trees, running, and playing sports. Adults find ways to get together by joining clubs, taking classes, attending events, and joining gyms or studios.
Having these spaces available helps people to live a healthier life and also provides them a place to make friends and interact outside of work and family. It provides a connection with other people and an avenue of self-care. There is a reason that there are so many ways to get together to exercise and that is because it is better when other people are around.
Why Exercise Is Better With Others
Exercising with others improves adherence and makes it more fun. When people begin to form friendships and relationships around exercise, they are more likely to show up. Not only are they more likely to come, but the experience becomes more fun. People begin laughing and joking with each other. All of a sudden something that once seemed like a chore is now an experience that people look forward to.
For some, exercising with others can ease the fear of the unknown. If you are brand new to exercise, the most important thing that you can do for yourself is to hire a trainer. Working out is like learning a new skill and with any new skill, you need instruction.
Not all trainers are created equal and you will want to make sure that you find one who’s specialty aligns with your goals. A good trainer will do more than just help you learn the equipment. A good trainer will teach you about proper form, breathing, exercising safely, and how to listen to your body.
As one moves out of the beginner stage, they may want to start looking at small group training. This enhances the experience even more as you will begin to make friends and form relationships with people who are having a similar experience. The accountability that was coming from a trainer, is now multiplied.
Working out is (and should be) somewhat difficult and knowing that other people are having a similar experience can be just the push that you need to get through a tough workout. The reasons that people benefit from working out with others can vary. A lot of it depends on personality. Some people work harder because they have a competitive nature. Others may not feel the need to compete but will be inspired to work harder.
One trap I caution beginners against is going straight to classes or group training. When you skip learning the basics of form and technique, you set yourself up for potential injury. Group classes should be geared more towards intermediate and advanced exercisers, not beginners. If you are new to exercise, find a trainer to help you get the results you are seeking.
Different Ways to Exercise
There are endless possibilities when it comes to exercise. If one avenue is not working for you, you can always try something different. Exercise shouldn’t feel like torture, it should be fun and challenging. One of the things I love the most about exercise is that there are so many different ways to go about it. Here are just a few examples:
- Lifting weights
- Martial arts
How fitness professionals can help
Fitness professionals often teach what they are passionate about. When thinking about where you want to exercise, it is important that you find a place that has people with similar goals and is led by professionals that care about what they are teaching. When you have those key elements, a community is formed. Have a community that is centered around fitness, makes it easier to show up and put in the work.
The benefits of exercise are instrumental not only to our physical well being but our mental and emotional health as well. Everyone should be exercising in a way that they enjoy and that is safe for them. Working with fitness professionals can lead to having a better experience and aid in creating a social component. Having space where you can participate with other people who enjoy working out the same way that you do, creates a wonderful community. Exercise is for everyone.