How Fitness Leads to Kindness

There’s so much external pressure to be thin and look a certain way in today’s culture. We all know the shape that fashion magazines, movies, and other media promote as beautiful and desirable. You shouldn’t lose heart in the face of such standards, however, because the truth is that each of us has to seek improved health and a better quality of life for our own reasons.

I’d like to share the five simple reasons I used as motivation to get (and stay) healthy in body and mind. Whether your goal is to lose a little weight, lose a lot of weight, feel more fit, or simply maintain good health, my hope is that these will help you, too:

  1. Fit feels better. You’ll feel more energetic when you stick to a regular exercise routine, and some doctors theorize that it could also boost your immune system. Just remember to listen to your body and not overdo it, because too much exercise can wear the body down and increase your risk of injury.
  2. Fit equals a decreased cancer risk. Believe it or not, certain cancers are greatly affected by regular physical activity. A recent review conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that people who are physically active have a significantly lower risk of developing colon cancer. The research also suggests that teenagers and young adults who exercise regularly may have a decreased chance of getting breast cancer later in life.
  3. Fit people tend to have less depression. Regardless of your age or fitness level, studies show that exercise benefits the mind. When you do something as simple as take a walk, your stress melts away and your brain releases endorphins, which create feelings of happiness and glee. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day can change your physical and mental states.
  4. Fit people feel better about themselves. I can recount so many times when I haven’t been able to do things I wanted to because of my appearance. The amazing thing is, since my journey to fitness began, my self-esteem and self-image have actually increased and improved. If you take steps toward better physical fitness, you’ll boost your self-confidence and perception of your attractiveness and self-worth. Bring on the love!
  5. Fit people inspire others. Getting and staying healthy has many benefits, not the least of which is inspiring those around you to join the fitness train. Everything seems better with a friend, and exercise and fitness are no different. Working out with the right buddy is just better than going at it alone.

These are just five reasons to work on being healthy in body and mind. Of course, the obvious benefit of exercise and healthy eating is weight loss, but getting fit is an all-around winning choice for everyone. Working out has positive effects beyond what other people see, and when you are inwardly motivated, the results are most apparent to you, not to everyone else.

Image source: Flickr