How Important is Working Out?

Sarah Jeffries, Staff Writer

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Exercise is something that everybody needs once in awhile; whether it be taking a walk, riding your bike, or actually going to the gym to lift weights or run on the treadmill, your body needs to move around to stay healthy and support your mental and physical health. Although exercise is vital for a healthy lifestyle, it can be really hard to get exercise, or know how to exercise effectively and do what is right for your body. This bears the question: How important is exercise, really? And, why is it so hard to get effective workouts in?

In short, exercise is very important. Those who live a sedentary lifestyle are put at risk for health problems like obesity, diabetes, heart problems, and much more. Of course, it’s not just exercise that contributes to these illnesses; it’s your diet as well. Eating foods high in fat, sodium, or sugar consistently can also lead to these problems. Although exercise is very important, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. You need to support your body when you are active (and when you aren’t) with nourishing foods that will help fuel your body and set you up for success with whatever activity you are doing, such as a sport, running, etc. Eating enough protein to support your muscles and carbohydrates to keep up your energy can be the deciding factor on whether or not you will have a good workout.

Having a successful workout also depends on how you approach exercising. Factors such as when you exercise, where you exercise, and how you exercise differ from person to person, and the truth is, there is no one way that everyone should work out. When deciding how you should exercise, you need to think of a few things; things like how much time you are willing to set aside to exercise (the recommended amount is an hour a day, but it isn’t an exact science; if you are living a semi-active lifestyle, you shouldn’t stress about getting exactly an hour a day), how in shape you are already (this could help you decide the type of exercise; if you want more intense, or if you are more of a beginner and want something light like yoga or riding a bike), and what you want to get out of the work out. With social media taking over the world, working out is stereotypically done for weight loss, or to look better, rather than working out to feel good or for function. Working out can be a good way to lose weight if you are overweight – but losing weight shouldn’t be the only goal of working out.

Doing a sport can be a great way to get enough exercise while participating in something that you enjoy. It is important to do something that you somewhat enjoy, or at least do it with a friend to make it more interesting, so that exercise doesn’t become a chore. The need to exercise shouldn’t run your life either. Sure, keeping up with workouts is important, but it shouldn’t distract you from living your life. There is a fine line between staying in shape and obsessive exercising. There is actually such a thing as exercising too much! It can increase your probability of getting hurt, cause excessive tiredness, constant sore limbs and muscles, and it can actually cause things like depression. If you’ve exercised right, you should feel tired afterwards, but you should still be able to go about your normal day-to-day activities.

Being healthy isn’t a chore – it’s a way of life. Do what is right for your body, mind, and schedule, and exercise as you see fit. After all, exercising should be a stress-reliever, not a stress-inducer.     

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