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Wellness Wednesday

20 Reasons to Exercise That Aren’t Weight Loss

closeup of blue sneakers

NUIIKO/ISTOCK

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!

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