Finding motivation to workout when weight loss isn’t a goal, it’s pretty hard.
Weight loss is a very common goal among exercisers. People are either working out to lose weight, or working to maintain the weight that they’ve lost. These are perfectly valid reasons, and I have a lot of respect for the badass people who decide to make a lifestyle change, it’s not easy. These kinds of transformation stories get a lot of airtime with TV shows, weight loss products, magazines, books… the list goes on. What about people who aren’t overweight? They don’t get the same kind of, ‘push’ let’s say, to get to the gym, even though the benefits of regular exercise extend way beyond weight loss.
So, three reasons to workout that aren’t weight loss:
1. Take Care of What You Have
Have you ever heard the joke (and I use the term loosely) “be true to your teeth and they’ll never be false to you”? Basically meaning take care of the teeth you have so you don’t end up with a set of dentures. That applies to your entire body.
As we age, we start to lose muscle and bone tissue, and health issues compound. Even if you don’t have weight to lose, your cardiovascular system can still benefit from some conditioning that could save you a lot of grief in your golden years. The same goes for muscles and bones. Using resistance training now to build strong muscles and bones will set you up to live a more active and independent life as you age. And, this is a big one for women especially, reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
Take advantage of the strength and energy you have now to make sure you’re living your best life years down the road.
That’s all well and good, but what can workout do for you now, not in 20+ years?
2. Exercise to change your body composition
You might not have weight to lose, but you can always swap a bit of fat out for some sexy muscle. Your weight might not change, or you might even gain weight in the form of lean muscle, but you’ll look stronger and more “toned”. Resistance training in particular is good for this. Muscle is the body’s fat burning machine because it requires a lot of energy to maintain.
So by building muscle, you’ll change the shape and look of your body, and you’ll also burn more calories just sitting around being muscular. As an added bonus, workout provides an instant shot of endorphin that reduce stress and anxiety and leave you feeling pretty damn good.
3. Give Cancer the Finger
Needless to say, this one hits close to home for me, as I’m sure it does for many people. It seems like almost everyone knows someone who has or had cancer. It’s not cool, and I’m not okay with it. Fortunately, exercise is linked to a reduced risk of cancer morbidity and mortality pretty significantly. That means exercise can reduce the risk of cancer and can reduce the risk of mortality for those who have already been diagnosed.
Studies have shown that there is a does-response relationship between exercise and cancer risk. So, the more active you are, the less at risk you seem to be. “Our findings based on the general population showed that individuals undergoing the highest levels of physical activity had a 17% reduction in cancer mortality…Cancer survivors undertaking the highest level of physical activity had a 22% reduction in cancer mortality” (Li T, et al).
The inverse relationship between regular exercise seems to benefit the general population and survivors significantly, which is awesome and definitely something to take advantage of!
Li T, Wei S, Shi Y, et al. Br J Sports Med; 2016;50:339-345