Monday Motivation

Photo by Leslie Hassler

People are always asking what motivates me to exercise. I’ve offered a variety of reasons in past posts, but today I want to focus on just one. Exercise gives me strength.

In the fitness world, strength typically refers to how much weight you can lift when performing different strength training exercises. No doubt you’ve heard people comparing strength levels based on how much they can bench or press.

However, a broader definition of strength shows it’s also related to a capacity for exertion or endurance. Obviously, increasing that capacity can help in a countless number of activities that take place outside the gym. How easy or difficult is it to carry a few bags of groceries from the store to your car or even all the way home? How about picking up and holding a child? Are you winded after walking up ten flights of stairs, or only one? Incorporating exercise into your daily routine is a surefire way to gain strength and tackle the many facets of your daily routine with greater ease.

Now let’s move beyond the physical. There’s an old equation that goes something like this: a strong body = a strong mind. From a personal perspective, at times when I feel the weight of the world upon my shoulders, there’s nothing like some mind-clearing cardio or punching a speed bag to get some perspective. Some of my biggest moments of clarity have happened with sweat blinding my eyes and the sound of my pounding heartbeat filling my ears.

Instead of sitting around stewing over a problem at work or even worrying about a loved one facing an illness, why not give yourself a chance to really breathe? A long walk or a kickboxing class could offer your mind and spirit the boost of strength they need. The issue or issues you were stressing over will still be there when you’re done. However, based on my experience, a little oxygen can go a long way in helping me focus on how I’m going to handle the situation.

I want to close by sharing a quote I stumbled upon recently that deals with the emotional side of strength:

“Some people believe that holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go – and then do it.” -Ann Landers

Whatever the week has in store for you, I hope you find the strength to know whether to hang in there or simply let go. Whether you hope to make physical or mental gains in the days ahead, a little exercise can go a long way in the journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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About LauraLovesFitness

After spending more than 10 years in the communications industry, this lifetime fitness lover and newly certified fitness professional wants to share my passion for health and well-being with others.

Posted on July 16, 2012, in Fitness, Health and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Great article! People for the near 30 years since i began exercising, have consistently asked me, “How do you do it?”, or “I wish i could get into an exercise routine.”. The fact of the matter is…it is a lifestyle! One must make it a part of their lives and not consider it a seperate entity! Just like water, air and food are necessary to survive, exercise serves the same purpose! It can only boost the power of the mind, body and spirit which will only serve to make a better you who will live longer because of it! hope all is well with you! xo

    • Hey Amy! I’ve missed seeing you on here! Thanks for checking in and reinforcing the fact that we need to move more to feel stronger overall. The connection between the body, mind and spirit is amazing and it’s up to us to get them to work better in sync. Hope you’re enjoying the summer – miss you guys!

  2. Laura, your post resonates with my experience. Whether it’s trail running, spinning, hitting the heavy bag, whatever- it’s as much about my mental health as the physical. I also believe that it’s a reciprocal relationship. That is, being centered and mindful, present in the moment helps sustain my workout. The energy runs both ways, I think.

    Great post. Thanks. Tom

    • Thank you, Tom! It’s amazing how just the “smallest” amount of physical activity can make all the difference. For each of us, the activity we enjoy may vary, but the results really are the same. I had an exceptionally stressful day at the office today, and I couldn’t wait to get to the gym and break a sweat and get my heart pumping. I felt like a new woman when I left! I know I’ll also sleep a lot better tonight than if I had simply stewed over the stress without the outlet. Have a great night!

      • Sleep well.

        And stop by my blog sometime. I’m working on Zen, the Tao, and have written about the connection between mindfulness and exceptional fitness and athletic performance- which you so clearly embody.

        Tom

  3. I love this post, Laura! Some of my greatest ideas come to me when I am working out. That’s why I work out with a pen and notepad just in case genius strikes mid-crunch. The quote is amazing as well. Congrats on turning 1. 🙂

    • Hey lady! Thanks for checking in and for the blog birthday wishes! I LOVE that you keep a pen and notepad with you when you work out – I am going to have to steal that idea! I know my mind is a lot clearer at the gym, so what better place to get things on paper and review later. Hope all is well! Have a great night!

  4. So true Laura. I always said some of my worst days at work have brought on my best days in the gym. And on a parallel note, I notice I am full of more confidence and initiative at work Monday morning after a great weekend in the gym. On the weeks where I missed my weekend workouts I go in so much flatter, which I feel has to do with the confidence one gets (another form of strength) from accomplishing your goals, releasing some stress and feeling good about it.

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