Your initial answer to why you should exercise would probably be because you want to lose weight, look good, and feel better about yourself. While this is a common goal, there are far more benefits from exercising which go beyond looking good.
The human body is a mechanism that is constructed for exercise. The fact is that your body is constructed for rigorous exercise. Your body will continue to adapt over periods of time to the stresses that exercising will place on it. This will result in you getting stronger and fitter beyond what you may even think possible at the present time.
Weight loss is a great side effect of a good exercise programme. Other major benefits will include:
An increase in life expectancy due to the numerous health benefits that exercise will provide.
Exercising will reduce the risks of various cancers, heart diseases, and osteoporosis.
Exercise will increase your metabolic rate, allowing you to burn calories more effectively.
Exercise lowers the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes.
Exercising increases your energy levels and your ability to do things for longer without getting tired.
Exercising strengthens your heart so it does not have to work as hard to pump blood through your body.
Exercising increases your lung capacity leading to greater oxygen intake. The more oxygen you can get into your body the more energetic you will feel.
Exercising increases your confidence and gives you a much better self image.
Exercising gives you the ability to be able to cope better with stress, anxiety, or depression.
Regular exercise helps you to sleep better.
As you can see there are many benefits to be gained from exercise apart from weight loss. Now if you put all these benefits together what have you got?
You have a stronger, fitter, healthier, and more energetic person who not only looks good but feels good. This is how most people want to be but very few people actually achieve this goal.
The hardest part of any exercise programme is taking the first step. People that have become used to a lifestyle based on little or no exercise and a diet of poor nutrition have become comfortable with that lifestyle.
They probably know that it is not a healthy lifestyle and a part of them wants to make changes. The problem is because people have been living in a certain way for a certain period of time, that lifestyle has become a habit. A habit that is often very difficult to change.
Often when people try to make changes they want and expect to see results very quickly. Your body is not constructed to change very quickly, so when people do not see the results that they want, they usually tend to give up. Mentally and physically it just is not possible to treat your body in a certain way for a long period of time, and then expect it to adapt to something new in just a few weeks or months.
If you change your diet by making a large reduction in calories and start working out in the gym four or five times a week, you are setting yourself up for failure. You are trying to make your body do something which is alien to it and something it is not used to.
The results that such a change would bring would include sore muscles that would ache every time you moved, cravings for the foods that you are trying to give up, and your mind constantly screaming at you telling you that it is too hard. This will eventually result in you giving up with the thought that you are not capable of doing it.
You must remember that if you have not exercised in a long time, you must ease yourself into it slowly. You must allow your body the time it will need to adapt to the changes that you are trying to make.
You must also think about your perceptions of society. Forget all the images you see in magazines and television adverts of fit men and women showing of their 6 packs and lean bodies. Most of these people have great genetics, and have been exercising for a long time to get their bodies into the shape that they are in.
Then there are the celebrities who some people aspire to mimic. These celebrities have the money to hire personal trainers, they have the money to equip their homes with top class gym equipment, and they have the opportunity to feed themselves with the best food money can buy. If all this fails they then have the money to pay to have the fat sucked out of them through medical procedures.
You and these people have nothing in common. These people live in a different world to the rest of us, a world that you can not hope to compete in. your focus should be on what you can do about yourself, and what you can do to improve yourself. Do not feel bad because you can not do 50 push ups and a 100 sit ups.
It's obvious that you are not going to manage that if your lifestyle been one of little or no activity for a number of years. It does not matter what you can do today. The point is that once you start doing something you will begin to improve and continue doing so on a weekly basis. It will only be a matter of time before you can manage to do 50 push ups and a 100 sit ups.
The thing is not to give up. Keep doing your exercises and keep adding a bit more over periods of time and the improvements will come. The improvements can not fail to come, simply because your body is an entity that is made to adapt. This is a biological fact which can not be denied.
Many people think that they are too old to begin exercising. This idea is one of the biggest myths that you will ever hear. Age is no barrier to exercise, no matter how old you are you are capable of making improvements.
The only difference between a 25 year old an a 50 year old will be the types of exercises that each can do. A 50 year olds body may have had more wear and tear than a 25 year old. There may be joint problems or certain aches and pains that will not allow the 50 year old to perform the same exercises that a 25 year old can do.
However this does not need to be an obstacle because all that a 50 year old can do is to pick exercises that will avoid putting excessive strain on weaker areas. There are hundreds and hundreds of ways to get fitter; it is just a question of finding what is going to suit you.
When you are young you can get away with putting your body through an unhealthy lifestyle to a certain degree. Your body will be able to cope with almost anything that you throw at it because your muscles and your organs are still young and strong.
When you start getting older you naturally begin to lose muscle as each year goes by. Your muscles and tissues became less pliable, your metabolism slows down, and you are more prone to putting on weight. However there are ways to combat this deterioration through diet and exercise.
When many people reach their forties they often think that physically their best years are behind them, and begin to wind down. Thoughts of 'I'm too old to exercise now' or 'I can not do the things that I used to' begin to fester. So they begin to take things easy, begin to gain weight, become weaker, lose flexibility and lose their fitness in general.
The fact is that it's even more important to exercise when you are older. Naturally your body begins to slow down and you stop doing anything that may help you to reverse the situation. Exercising and having a good diet can slow down this deterioration to a large degree. Today there are people in their sixties and seventies who are still running marathons and keeping themselves alert, active, and fit.
It does not make any difference as to who you are or how old you are, the fact remains that eating well and exercising can substantially improve the quality of your life.
At the end of the day you have two choices:
The first choice is to begin exercising and become more active. Do not worry about what you are capable of at this moment. It does not matter, the real point is to make a start and that if you keep going you will get better and better. The longer you continue exercising the fitter you will get and the more weight you will lose. That will be the consequences of choice number one.
The second choice is to do nothing and stay as you are. The only problem with this choice is that you will not stay as you are for long. You will gradually get worse, you will continue to put on weight, and you will continue to lose your health. The heavier and unhealthier you get, the harder your heart will have to work to keep you alive. On top of all this your self image and confidence will continue to erode. There is more than a strong possibility that you will be forced to take all sorts of medication when you are in your forties or fifties. Medication for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cholesterol levels and various other ailments.
Your skeletal frame will have been weakened because of all the weight you have had to carry for all those years. Your joints would have worn away resulting in constant pain. All these problems will restrict you in what you can or can not do.
This may come across as a shock tactic as to what may happen if you do not lose weight. Make no mistake; many of the problems that have been mentioned will be unavoidable if lifestyle changes are not made.
If you think that this situation sounds bad, think again, it can be worse. There will be many people who will not even reach their fifties. Cancer and heart diseases are rife in people with weight related problems. If by chance people survive cancers and heart attacks, many are left weak and often have to live on permanent medication. The quality of life that people in these situations will have is blatantly obvious. These are the consequences of choice number two.
These are the two choices open to you and ultimately the decision as to which choice you make will be yours. It will all depend on what you want for yourself; also think of what the impact of your choice will be on the people that are close to you.