So many things come to mind when I think about fitness and nutrition. When we constantly hear about what to eat, what not to eat, how to exercise and how not to exercise, where is one to begin? Even as a personal trainer, all these shoulds and should-nots sometimes make me want to throw my hands up in the air and say, “Enough with all this health stuff!”
One thing that helps me navigate through this gigantic sea of advice on fitness and nutrition is remembering why it’s inherently good for me to exercise and eat well. I regularly ask myself, “How will this make me a better person? How will this make me more me?” Our bodies are unique and powerful gifts that we must care for, nurture and cherish. When we do this, we are better able to care for, nurture and cherish others. In other words, we become a gift that keeps on giving.
Aside from helping our hearts and controlling unnecessary weight gain, exercise helps us fulfill our daily responsibilities with more calm, focus, and determination. This is because exercise positively affects our mood, energy level, awareness, and sense of well being. Research shows that exercise causes new stem cells to grow in the brain, enhancing learning and mental capabilities. The result: we function better! Exercise also stimulates the nervous system and sets off pleasure chemicals like serotonin and dopamine that make us feel soothed and happy, which is why it’s often prescribed as a treatment for depression. Overall, when you exercise, you perform better, feel better, and are able to be better for others!
I don’t know about you, but I love receiving presents that have been wrapped with care. The paper, ribbon, and bow almost make me want to leave the gift unopened! Even though I end up unwrapping it, I appreciate the outward actions of love that went into preparing it. That is how I view the body and the role of fitness in my life. Exercise is a tool to help each person look, feel, and be at her best. In this way, exercise takes on a much deeper meaning. It’s not just about a woman’s exterior; it also becomes about her interior self. I want my physical body to reflect who I am on the inside: a strong woman, willing and able to help my family, friends and colleagues around me. What if gyms tried selling memberships that focused on serving others more than our desires to look a certain way?
Finding a healthy lifestyle plan helps you to thrive as the unique, individual woman you are. So, until next time, happy healthy living―or should I say, happy wrapping that beautiful, wonderful gift of yours in a bit of exercise and healthy eating.
Photo via flickr user adria.richards