Jan
13
2016

Exercising for Yourself

by Mae Williams for Men's Health

Overcoming Exercising Challenges

ASAP Fitness in Rocky River. Photo Courtesy of ASAP Fitness.

People exercise for many different reasons, but you can’t force someone to work out if they don’t want to do it. Working out shouldn’t be a bother, it should be something that your body wants to do. Once you find the inspiration to have a regular workout routine, your body won’t “fight back at you” and it can actually be enjoyable. Exercising is very personal and each person receives different benefits from their workouts.

 Below are just a few benefits of exercising, other than helping with losing weight:  

  • Exercise combats health issues and diseases- It helps to increase high-density lipoprotein or good cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. Regular exercise can prevent and manage strokes, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer and arthritis.
  • Exercise improves the mood- Physical activity stimulates certain brain chemicals that make you feel happier and more relaxed. Also, it helps you to feel better about your appearance, boost the confidence and improve self-esteem. Exercise releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter, which is a necessary trigger for happiness and pleasure.
  • Exercise boosts energy-Regular physical activity improves muscle strength and boosts endurance. It can help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently.
  • Exercise promotes better sleep.
  • Regular exercise can put the “spark” back into your sex life.
  • Exercise eases stress and anxiety levels-Exercise is considered a low level stress. When you work out regularly, your body will get a better handling on the rest of life’s stressors.
  • Exercise helps with cognitive function- Exercise helps boost energy and increase learning ability. Working out between the ages of 25 to 45 helps boost the chemicals in the brain that support and prevent degeneration of the hippocampus, an important part of the brain for memory and learning.
  • Exercise can increase creativity-It has been found that exercise can increase creative output for up to two hours after the work out session.
  • Exercise can help a worker be more productive-Research has shown that workers who take time for exercise on a regular basis during the work day have more energy and are more productive then the co-workers who are not exercising. (We will look into this aspect of exercising in a future blog post.)
  • Stretching and just slow moving helps to keep the tissue and nerves pliable and responsive. Doing exercises from Tai Chi and Body Melting allows the body’s tissues and nerves to be responsive and pliable. After age 45, we should be integrating strength, stretching and slow moving exercise and breathing from our diaphragm into our workout routine. It helps circulation and hydrates muscles that lay dormant from sitting all day at work.

Exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better, gain health benefits and have fun. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more.

Overcoming Personal Exercising Challenges

As shown above, there are many great reasons for exercising, but don’t just take our word for it, Men’s Cuts owner, Mae Williams has had to overcome her own challenges to start exercising. She tells her story below:

 

We take for granted the things we can do, until our bodies give in. It is so easy not to do the right thing and to expect our bodies to be up and running whenever we feel. Over the past 15 years, I was what I would call “skating by”. I went to the gym because my husband would say, “You need to work out to feel better.” Like everyone else, I would say, “Ok try the Y, try some classes, join community rec center,” but I never got results. I just could not stay the course, stay motivated and I had the wrong form. I read magazine and knew what was good. But, actually applying myself was indeed the hardest. I would always find an excuse not to workout. I always wondered why some people got so excited about working out, I never got that high you get from working out.

Having teenagers who are fit and reminding me, “Mom, you need to work out,” did not motivate me. My husband could not motivate me either. I would look at magazines and see these sculpted bodies and just tell myself, well that is good for them, but that isn’t me. For years I got by being a small size and I guess I still am a small size at least that is what I am told. Anyone who is over 50 and a woman will tell you things shift and they shift in places no one else sees. Suddenly my body was shifting and my body was developing more bodily pain.

Anyone who knows me knows I don’t like doctors or pills. I eat fairly healthy. The body pain started after 50 and it was in my spine, in the lower spine. Then I started getting it in my shoulders, then my feet. I can attribute some of the pain from childbearing, not working out and having a weak core. Basically, not doing anything or being responsible for my own body. Yes, admitting to responsibility is tough. I had to decide for myself, not for anyone or anything else that I was going to commit to removing the pain, and owning up to my healthy self.

If men think it is hard to commit to a relationship, I parallel that feeling to working out. It is hard, it requires commitment, and you don’t always get high working out; but the long term effects of no pain far outweighs any drug. I have watched and see friends go into surgery for hips, knees and I do not want to go there. If my body falls apart outside of me being responsible, mentally, I know I did the very best.

People think exercising is expensive. Or you have to have a trainer. I think drugs, the side effects and the surgery is far more expensive, not to mention the time you can’t function because you than have to go to rehab.

WE all have to make decisions as to what is a priority. I have chosen to commit to making myself healthier so that I can have no pain in my spine, feet or shoulders. I also made the conscious choice to go to a gym that is 5 minutes from where I live. Convenience and being able to work out at a time that fits my work and lifestyle was important. I don’t have time to waste. I wanted results and someone who thoroughly understood my needs.

In November 2015, I started training at ASAP.  I was anxious because I did not know what my mind and or body would do. Jacque Tolson, who I train with, has been incredible. I went in there just wanting to feel better because I know looking better would come later. The hardest part was walking into the door the first day and committing my mind and body to do something I was reluctant to do. I am no different than anyone who would prefer to do nothing.

I don’t expect to look buff or sculpted, all I want to be is the person who is healthier and stronger without pain. No drugs, no surgery and with a better sense of body awareness. I am getting the results and I love it.

So many of us lack body awareness, balance and resort to a quick fix like a pill. There is no magic pill getting better. So make yourself a priority, invest in you. Your body will thank you.