Why Should You Even Exercise?
I think one question that precedes all questions is one that I’ve been asking ever since I was able to talk as a child: Why?
Placing myself in the fitness, strength and conditioning, and surrounding myself with rehabilitation professionals is merely an extension of who I am, and it is also takes great amounts of self-awareness on what makes me tick, and what kinds of things I am willing to sacrifice in order to have an outcome.
Dancing is also an extension who I am. Lifting is an extension of who I am.
Even more relevant to how I view life, satisfaction, and happiness involves understanding the question: why should I do (the thing) that takes introspection, work, and maybe even sometimes blood, sweat, and tears?
Now, let’s go full circle and let me ask again:
Why should you even exercise?
Self-Love: Point A to Point A
Some look towards exercise as a self-fulfilling act, in which the only outcome and end goal is their own ego approval. This is totally fine, and loving yourself is something that not many do.
Ask any of my close friends and family members, and you’ll find that I am probably the hardest person on myself, and placing myself first is something that I have to actively do (others do this instinctively).
In order to progress past “Point A” and onto the further points described below, you’ll actually have to accept that you need to pass Point A (loving yourself) in order to do so.
Filling Up Time: Point A to Point D
Others perform the action of exercise as a way to fill up spare time in their lives.
It is just as a filling up time as it is watching Netflix, or going surfing. These are things that do not add productivity to ones life, they merely provide an enjoyable time that can be spent with others, by yourself, or whatever else it may be.
It is just a way to fill in the gaps between Point A and Point D, and they are wandering into exercise perhaps as a form of entertainment.
Again, nothing wrong with this reasoning, and you’ll find that many people do this until some extrinsic motivation turns into intrinsic motivation.
The End Goal – Point A to Point Z
And on the other hand, others look towards exercise in order to survive, in order to improve upon others lives, and even improve another skillset.
For survival purposes, you might need to exhibit greater degrees of fitness than the person you are trying to help save, i.e. military, fire fighters, police, nurses, and down the list you go.
Others develop exercise as a way to improve a skillset, such as an athletic endeavor, or other mental task. For example:
- The skill of baseball can be improved upon with more force production and coordination through exercise.
- I have to wonder why NASCAR drivers exercise when in fact they are just sitting down all day turning left.
- Read this and this to be convinced that sitting down is tough on the body.
- Aerobic exercise can improve upon motoric learning, such as playing chess, learning the guiter, or other motoric skills (not usually associated with exercise).
- So if you play a musical instrument, are you in fact being efficient by not exercising? Or should you exercise to increase your amplitude of learning? Some food for thought.
There is a resiliency that you are trying to improve upon that has a long, long, long, long term plan that including a simple act of exercising every other day (or whatever timeline of exercise is available to you) can help you to help others.
What am I trying to say?
At the end of the day, you don’t need to exercise at all.
In fact, you can do whatever the f*ck you want to do.
When I talk to my accountant, I have no idea what the details and intricacies of all the different forms I have to fill out, I’m simply viewing my accountant as a utilitarian. In other words, I view the pieces of the puzzle as a method towards improving towards the end goal, or my Point Z.
Some people, I don’t know who you are, might enjoy understanding the intricacies of tax forms, and signing on the dotted line, and engaging with your accountant, or maybe even doing your own taxes. I’m not one of those people, and I’m keenly aware of this fact.
Let’s translate this into exercise lingo now.
When I come into the gym, I have one purpose and one purpose only – to improve upon a fitness level, improve my ability to learn a new motoric pattern (learning how to flare, do lunges, or do backflips), or recover from a previous bout of exercise, competition, or whatever else it may be (due to lack of recovery – so I’m aiming to recover).
Doing this provides me the immediate relief that even if I have a “bad day” of exercise, that the next day will be better, the next phase will be improved upon, and my psychological ego will be quelled because I know I have been building a habit for exercise over and over.
Also, I am thinking about what happens when I turn 45, 50, 55, and 60. I have had multiple family members pass around that age due to lack of execution on knowledge that is readily available.
The thought of my mortality is in my head daily.
In fact, I know that the average lifespan of a male Filipino (in the Philippines) is 68. The average lifespan of a male in the US is 78. Combine those two items, and you come up with the number 73 (2016). I can tell you last year that the average lifespan of a male Filipino was 65, and male in the US was 78, with an averaged out age of 71.5 (in 2015).
Call it paranoia. I call it awareness of how many days on average my male Filipino peers (and elders) have left in the world (barring any accidents, catastrophes, etc).
My Point Z is what happens when I am no longer here, and then even beyond.
What will my family remember me as? I hope not as a meathead, but as someone who used exercise as a means towards improving the lives of others, especially my loved ones.
So, let’s ask this question again:
Why should you even exercise?
Keep it funky.