Healthy Exercise Goals

Happy healthy womanThis post was written by guest blogger Maria Ginsbourg.

A while back, at a college gym, a trainer asked me what my fitness goal was. I told him I wanted to be healthy when I’m eighty years old. He cocked his eyebrow.

“So you want to lose weight?”

“No. I just want to be healthy.”

“So toning?”

He didn’t get it, and I’m not surprised. Our culture is obsessed with appearances. Popular men’ s magazines say Get Ripped. Women’s magazines say Lose Weight. Considering the myriad of benefits that exercise offers, focusing on appearances seems a little – dare I say it – superficial. After all, if ‘Getting Ripped’ or “Losing Weight” are our only goals, then what stops us from trying fad diets, extreme workouts, and magic pills?

What if our exercise goals went a little deeper?

If you’re exercising to feel good, you might soon notice that you have more energy, that you sleep better, that you feel better and that food tastes better.  If you exercise for your long-term health, you won’t be tempted by fad diets or extreme work outs, and you won’t ‘forget’ to stretch. Furthermore, you won’t measure your progress solely by pounds shed or pant sizes dropped because you will know that the benefits of exercise can’t always be seen or numbered.
Here are some of the ‘invisible’  and ‘hard to measure’ benefits of exercising:

Live Longer and Healthier

  • Reduce the risk of breast cancer.
  • Reduce the risk of heart-attacks
  • Offset osteoporosis, a bone disorder that affects many older women.
  • Reduce the risk of diabetes
  • Prevent falls by improving your sense of balance

Have a Stronger Mind & Spirit

  • Improve your mood
  • Deal with stress better
  • Manage depression
  • Improve mental concentration
  • Sleep better

Be healthier now

  • Increase your energy (get more done with less fatigue)
  • Strengthen your immune system
  • Increase fertility

Improve your relationships

  • Exercising with your partner or your friends can make you feel more connected

Some people say it doesn’t matter why you exercise as long as you do it. I believe that if people exercise for the right reasons, they’re more likely to have fun, stay safe and stick to their exercise regimen.