Sometimes I wonder why I do it. I mean, I really don’t see the results I think my amount of effort should show.
Why then, have I pulled my sleepy self out of bed and put on workout clothes for the last 30 years? Yep, I’ve worked out for most of my life.
As a teenager, I would get up at 5 am to do the Joanie Greggains television work out. I’ll never forget waiting through those 1980’s Folgers commercials/jingles—“The best part of wakin’ up is Folgers in your cup!” Well, not really when you’re too young to drink coffee, haha.
In college, I would head to the gym after teaching preschool for 7 hours. I mean talk about tired at the end of the day. When I started teaching 1st grade, I would wake up at 5 am and drive to the gym before I started my work day and then take college courses at night.
Heck, during my first pregnancy I even waddled my 9-month pregnant body, that gained 60 pounds and felt like a walking elephant, to the gym. I mean, what was I thinking? I was working out on the elliptical hours before I went into labor with my second child.
And still. Yes still, at 46, I press on. In fact, I just completed my first half-marathon in April.
Believe me. I’m not saying this to brag but instead to point to the fact that often times I get so frustrated with myself that I try so hard and still struggle to just maintain my weight.
I compare myself with all those Instagram workout queens who post every day and wonder if my efforts and results will ever measure up? And sometimes I feel guilty if I see they have just done an awesome workout and I’m still sitting on the couch. Does anyone relate?
Usually when I’m having negative emotions about my results or body type I have to realign my thinking and remember the reasons why I work out AND that my worth is not based on what I look like but on who I am in Christ. I wrote more about that here in this post, Why God Thinks You’re Beautiful.
Exercise shouldn’t be about chasing worth or a number on a scale Click To Tweet but about being healthy both physically and mentally.
I believe when we learn to value ourselves the way God sees us, having what I call Christ-esteem, our workouts can reap the most healthy overall benefits.
I want to share with you the top 5 reasons that have motivated me to work out.
1. Releases Stress
When I work out I feel like I’m able to lay aside the daily tasks of my busy schedule and release negative emotions welling up inside of me.
Exercise boosts your feel-good endorphins.
“Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.”
Sometimes I don’t feel like working out but I always feel so much better when I do. Of course, there are days when you just need to listen to your body. I’ve also found it’s important to give yourself days of rest.
2. It Draws Me Closer To God
Some of my most intimate times with the Lord have been while I was running outside in His beautiful creation listening to worship music. I have felt the Lord speak directly to my heart in ways I know were from Him. You can read about one of those pivotal moments in my life where that happened here. I also love listening to sermons on podcasts while I’m at the gym. Have you ever seen this video? Pretty much sums it up.
3. Helps Me To Be Healthy
There are so many health benefits to exercise. Regular exercise increases confidence and helps you relax. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the many health benefits to exercise are:
Controls weight by burning calories
Combats health conditions and diseases. (working out boosts HDL, the good cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides.)
Promotes Better Sleep
4. Helps Me To Be Disciplined In Other Areas Of My Life
When I’m disciplined in the area of physical fitness it’s easier to carry that discipline over into other areas of my life. I usually feel like I have more energy to get things done after exercise.
5. Provides Community
I joined a running group last spring. Being around like-minded individuals who are working towards the same goals motivates me to do my best and not give up. I also enjoy meeting people in the group fitness classes at the gym. It’s so nice to be greeted by name when I to start a class.
I know that joining a gym is often not in the budget. During the seasons in my life when I couldn’t go to a gym, I would use On Demand workouts or DVDs. Sometimes it’s good to just change up your routine.