By Mike Bento, Personal Trainer
The Clubs at Charles River Park
I like to think of fitness as a risk management tool. What you do today can have an impact on both your current state and on your future. Developing a healthy lifestyle can help lower your blood pressure, reduces your risk of having a stroke, and can help protect against developing cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. But there’s an emotional component to fitness as well.
As your fitness level increases, daily activities become easier; you find you want to do more. And more than that, you start to feel good. Your mood improves, you have more energy (especially at the end of the day and the end of the week) and your sleep gets better. All of these “extra” benefits are just as important as actually working out because they help you stay consistent. Sticking with it is crucial—to really see results and get the full benefit of your routine you have to make exercise a habit.
But just as there are emotional factors that can help you build momentum, there are others that can be obstacles to beginning (or staying with) your fitness routine. For some people, it’s fear of change. If you’ve never really exercised before, starting a fitness program can mean moving outside your comfort zone. Change can be difficult or even scary. It doesn’t happen overnight; it takes time and reinforcement, but it does get easier as you go along and start seeing results. Maybe it’s your clothes feeling a little looser, your waist getting a little smaller, or just someone commenting that you’ve lost weight. Or maybe you notice your blood sugars are easier to control, or you’ve lowered your blood pressure. And maybe it’s that you just feel better. Any or all of these things can be the right motivation to keep doing what you’re doing.
At the end of the day, you are the only person who can do this for yourself. It’s one thing in your life that you have complete control over. And that can be very empowering.
Photo Credit: Christa Richert