Y Get Fit: No more excuses: Time to make exercise a priority

Have you ever had a day when you wanted to work out, but you came up with an excuse not to? Have you ever said to yourself that you will start eating healthier “tomorrow”? Have you felt so tired after work that you didn’t want to hit the gym? Well, I HAVE.

My husband and I try to hit the running trails together, and he and I motivate each other. As I can imagine, you are assuming we motivate each other to run faster, push our limits, continue sweating, and build our conditioning stamina while we conquer a 10-mile run ending with Euclid hill. However, it is the other way around! After a few minutes of running, we will look at each other and one of us will say, “Hey, let’s enjoy the weather.” Sounds like fun. “Let’s walk down Front Street and grab a bite to eat.” Yes, this is so much better!

In our society, there are so many fun activities to surround ourselves with: fairs and festivals, new restaurants, football games and tailgate parties, social events and dinners with friends. There seems to be something fun for everyone. I am reminded of the game we play to pass the time while driving long distances in a car. The game is “Would you rather?” “Would you rather run a 5K or eat a cheeseburger at McDonald’s?” Quick, what is your answer?

Sure, we can come up with motivation NOT to work out. We can say we want to be at home more, focus on work more, and enjoy all the fun activities our society and our town has to offer.

However, for every reason and excuse we have to start working out “tomorrow,” we can find twice as many benefits to start a workout program TODAY!

Many people take pills to feel better and energy drinks to increase energy. However, the answer to all of our health woes is to exercise. The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. And the benefits of exercise are yours for the taking, regardless of your age or physical ability.

Exercise controls weight as it helps prevent excess weight gain. Physical activity burns calories.

Exercise combats health conditions and diseases such as heart disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis, and falls.

Exercise improves mood. Physical activity stimulates brain chemicals that leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.

Exercise improves self-esteem.

Exercise boosts energy. When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy.

Exercise promotes better sleep. Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deeper

So, I must ask myself, “How can I skip regular exercise?” It just doesn’t make sense. The long-term positive effects of exercise far outweigh the excuses to skip the gym.

Next, I have to ask myself, “What motivates me?” I have come to the conclusion that running long distances with my husband is off the table. It simply does not end with a high-calorie burn workout! My most positive workouts have been with friends. I enjoy working out with groups of people. I take fitness classes, and people hold me accountable.

At the Marietta Family YMCA, there are many fitness classes to choose from. Spinning is one of my favorites. They also have kickboxing classes, cardio classes, ab classes, and others for strength training and toning. People love to dance in zumba. Medicine ball, yoga, pilates, boot camp?there are so many. One new class is INSANITY, and it is a great workout! The Biggest Winner is fitness challenge that focuses on weight loss, motivation, creating fitness goals, and working through the program with a team of people who hold you accountable. Friends are motivators.

Therefore, when I ask myself “What motivates me?” my answer is friends. I’m so glad I found so many at the YMCA … because my husband just wasn’t getting the job done.

Kerry Jean Waddle has a M.A. in Health and Wellness, a B.A. in Physical Education and Health Education, has ACE (American Council on Exercise) Personal Training and Group Fitness Instructor Certifications, and is a YMCA personal trainer.