Most people have their reasons for exercise; to lose weight, to train for a sport, to be social. I have my own reasons for hauling my ass to the gym, which I’ve listed below in the order in which I find them important. (Fun fact: I still wear kids’ tennis shoes because I have small feet.)
1. Mental health
The number one reason I exercise is because the endorphins I get from working out offer temporary relief from my anxiety symptoms. After I do cardio, I’m less stressed, better focused and generally much more at ease with whatever is happening in my life. I was a swimmer for seven years as a kid, and it definitely helped me with every other aspect of my life. Back then, I swam about 10 hours a week, and I don’t remember every having anxiety symptoms more than once or twice a month; in fact, I didn’t even know there was anything wrong. Since I stopped exercising so much, I’ve felt more irritable, on edge and unable to focus on important tasks, so I make sure to exercise a few times a week, especially if I’m having a stressful day.
2. Physical health
In addition to mental health problems, I suffer from a chronic autoimmune disorder. While working out doesn’t help me directly like medication, it’s important to me to keep the rest of my body as healthy as possible. The exact amount of calories I burn doesn’t matter to me as much as the feeling I get after I exercise; the feeling that I’ve done something to make myself stronger and healthier. Because lots of autoimmune conditions are associated with shortened life expectancy, I consider exercise a vital part of making sure I live to meet my grandchildren.
Let’s be honest; pretty soon I’m going to be on my own and need to do certain things for myself; lift boxes, move furniture, open bottles of vanilla extract… I routinely have my brother or my dad open things for me, but soon enough I’m going to be living with another teenage girl, and eventually alone. I need to be able to move my own couch the next time I drop my keys behind it.
I know I said I don’t care about the exact number of calories I burn, and that’s true. But I love to eat food, and an excess of caloric intake is bad, even if those calories are healthy. Because all my favorite foods are high calorie (think avocados, fish and almond butter) it’s nice to have a way to make sure I’m not overdoing it too much. I’m good at eating until I’m full, but I would rather eat more than eat less, even if it means doing some cardio once in a while.
Trying somethin’ new
I hope you guys enjoyed post! I’m trying to vary it up a little bit, since I won’t be able to cook something new for y’all every week while in college. Topics like exercise, mental health, stress management and vacations will be showing up more and more as I transition the blog into one that is more lifestyle oriented. I know this was a little different than usual, but I really do want to be able to be sustainable throughout my college career. Thanks for reading!