Here it is, January. Countless people make a New Year’s Resolution to start exercising, but why? You can lose weight with dieting alone. Surgery can change how you look. The doctor can give you pills to feel better. So really, exercise is optional. Is it necessary?
I think the best reasons to start exercising are to get your body functioning better and performing better. The other things that people strive for (e.g., weight loss, appearance, feeling good, etc.) are side benefits to having a body that functions well and can do all the things you want to do. Exercising is something no one else can do for you. Exercise is essential to maintaining or improving your fitness.
Think about the possibilities for the years ahead in terms of the quality of your life. People who are fit can usually lead an active life – living independently, playing golf and tennis, travelling, volunteering, helping family, etc. People that don’t exercise will most likely decline in physical ability. This can lead to using: canes, walkers, wheel chairs, in-home care, assisted living, and nursing homes.
This is the year the oldest Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) turn 70. Most of them will be retiring, collecting Social Security, and tapping their 401Ks and IRAs. Life expectancy for 70 year olds is approximately 15 years for women and 13 years for men. For them, fitness becomes a major factor in how they will spend their later years.
How do you plan to spend your time in retirement? Do you have a ‘bucket list’ to work on? Does your current fitness support the kind of activities you have planned? If it does, congratulations – keep doing what you are doing. If not, stop and consider where you are headed. There’s no time like the present to begin building a better self for the future.
So if you made a New Year’s Resolution to start exercising, focus on the very real benefits of functioning better and performing better. Make a commitment to improving your fitness. With consistent exercise, you will see improvement. Exercise will help in losing weight. As your fitness improves, you will likely look and feel better. In time, you will probably be able to do all the things you want to do. Overall, you can expect to experience a better quality of life.