Fitness, Motivation, Wellness

20 Reasons to Exercise That Aren’t Weight Loss

closeup of blue sneakers

For the longest time I assumed that if I didn’t go to the gym, I didn’t actually “work out.” After all, if I didn’t go to the gym, then I couldn’t get an intense workout in, which meant I couldn’t burn hundreds of calories … and so on. This was an unsustainable approach that just left me feeling bad about myself when I chose to skip the gym. I’m still a work in progress, but I’m learning to build more of a “get to” approach to fitness and less of a “have to.” Is exercise beneficial for weight control? Strong evidence points to “yes,” but there are so many more reasons to get moving that go beyond numbers on a scale.

Here are just a few (in no particular order) that I’ve been paying closer attention to lately.

1. Better quality of life.
2. Improved thinking and brain health.
3. Stronger bones and muscles.
4. Reduced risk of injury from falls.
5. Ease of everyday tasks like getting in and out of a car or climbing stairs.
6. You don’t need to invest in expensive equipment (I’m looking at you, fitness mirrors).
7. Opportunity to connect with a friend or loved one.
8. Highlight of your dog’s day.
9. Chance to see what your body is capable of.
10. Improved sleep quality.
11. Reduced feelings of anxiety.
12. Reduced blood pressure.
13. Improved bowel movements (someone had to say it).
14. Better mood.
15. Better balance.
16. Lowered risk of heart disease.
17. Opportunity to listen to music, audiobooks or podcasts.
18. Increased energy.
19. Chance to be outdoors.
20. Special time for YOU.

I could go on (and on), but I want to hear from you. What gets you moving and physically active—and why? Share in the comments!

26 thoughts on “20 Reasons to Exercise That Aren’t Weight Loss

  1. I try to get out & walk in my neighborhood about 5 times a week with with my neighbor. Fun to get outdoors in the sunshine. My success story was published in March/April TOPS NEWS page 22. I’m an 18 year KOPS.

  2. I am taking up garden this year. Vegetable raised box and raised garden beds. Also some small flower gardens.

  3. When Covid hit, staying home took all structure went out of my days. Now I catch up with my neighbors at 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. for 1/2 mile walks.

  4. I try to walk daily, for at least an hour.

    Usually make myself go by doing a task done. Ex. Picking up something at grocers

  5. I am on a treadmill for 20 minutes every other day going 1.5 miles an hour for 20 minutes. Then the other days I do a 30 min DVD for Seniors setting mostly in a chair for balance and strength. I may not be losing a lot of weight but I am sure getting stronger everyday with improvement on my balance. Oh by the way, I am 1 year out from 2 broken legs and I have Arizona support boots on both feet. Can I do it? Oh yes I can and I am. Get HEALTHY everyone, it is not always about the WEIGHT! Yes YOU can!

  6. My doctor referred me to Physical Therapy for Sciatic nerve pain. This has been rewarding to a point until, I am so energized that I take early morning strolls in the neighborhood enjoying nature, and has renewed my Y membership for water aerobics.

  7. An evening walk with my hubby allows us to ‘catch UP’. I take my ( grown) kid with me sometimes on speaker phone. I listen to podcasts or audio books while walking as well. I find joy in snapping pictures of nature or simply enjoy quiet.

  8. My latest bone density test showed a loss in density over the last 2 years. I’m of an age where loss of density can become dangerous. So I’m trying to walk more every day, even if it is inside with walking videos, to stop or slow more loss.

  9. I walk every day that i’m not working a 12 hour shift on those days i usually have somewhere between 14000 and 15000 step a day. So on my off days my dog and I walk 4 miles which take us about 1 hour. He enjoys it and so do i best stress reliever for me.

    1. I think we live parallel lives. I also work 12H shifts and easily knockout 14,000 steps. I also walk my dog about 4 miles a day on my days off, only 2 miles when I am working. Walking is when I figure what I need to get done, what can wait, etc.

  10. My husband and I take our little beagle dog for a walk every day and I also go to Y twice a week and walk do exercise class in the pool. I found out i had a damaged heart value from Breast cancer and Dr. said I needed to loose weight. So a friend invited me to join TOPS. TOPS has really helped me. Thank you TOPS

  11. I am doing yoga three times a day for a sciatic nerve as I am wait to get into therapy It is really helping. It has brought me such relief with my ability to move better. I have been doing the stretches posted on your website for happy hips. Thank you for the wonderful, helpful resources you provide.

  12. I like to get out in the backyard and work. I weed, water, plant, clean up, dig holes, dig roots out, mix soil, etc. Our backyard is teeming with flowers and it’s a beautiful and uplifting place to be. I love to buy .99 cent vases and give cut flowers to people like the receptionist at the Drs. office, or the mail lady, or the neighbor or a friend in a nursing home. It makes me feel happy to be able to give. I look forward to working outside.

  13. Water aerobics 3 times a week, help me build up my core and butt muscles as physical therapy for my deteriorating back.

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