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Need Motivation to Work Out Today? Exercise Could Save Your Life

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Working out is hard work. Even when we learn to like (or love) exercise, we all have those days when working out feels like a punishment.

We'd rather be in bed than at a 6 a.m. Spinning class.

We'd rather be at the movies than on a 5 mile run on Saturday afternoon.

And we'd certainly rather be doing anything else except crunches.

Thankfully, we usually fight the temptation to skip our workouts. For one woman in Britain, dedicated workouts saved her life!

After a paragliding accident in Spain, Peggy Williams was lucky to be alive.

Though her liver and pancreas were torn and her body bruised and scraped, doctors said her well-toned abs and overall fitness level prevented more serious injury.

According to ABC News:
"Dr. Lisa Callahan, medical director of the Women's Sports Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, said the stronger your "musculoskeletal system" is, the more your internal organs will be protected.

But in general, healthy people like Williams are better able to recover from serious injuries because their heart rates tend to be lower, which reduces the risk of internal bleeding. They can heal faster too because their bodies are better at processing oxygen."

I don't know about you, but I think that's reason enough to squeeze in a workout today!

When we embrace a healthy lifestyle, we often focus on the aesthetic advantages of exercise: a slimmer, more toned body, a more defined waist, smaller clothes. However, exercise benefits us in ways we'll never see.

While I first started working out to lose a few pounds and firm up, those are secondary motivations now. For me, exercise helps me keep general anxiety in check and relieves stress.

Why do you exercise? Do you think more about the internal or external benefits of working out?

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I have a family history of severe depression. I experienced it for myself about 10 years ago and I felt like the treatment almost killed me. I cannot tolerate antidepressants at all. Suffice it to say, I would rather have been depressed. When I was finally able to pry myself out of my doctors hands and say enough, I knew I had to do something else. I don't want to live feeling drugged or worse, feeling nothing at all. I don' t mean to demean any medications. They help a lot of people, just not me. Now I use exercise as an antidepressant. If I miss a few days I get depressed. I go for 6 workouts a week each workout lasting 1-2 hours. I like to sweat and feel like I have been working really hard. Some of my classes almost feel like group therapy. We have so much fun. Report
What started out as a weight loss reason for my exercise has now turned into a need for my well being. I get upset if it rains and I can't get out for a walk, or if my knee feels wonky and I need to rest up another day before I run. I love what exercise does for keeping my stress in check and keeping me happier than I've ever been. Being able to bounc back from injury and potentially save my life is a bonus! Report
I've never thought about it that way before. All the more reason to amp up the exercise! Report
I used to be. . . lets just say "more fit" than I am now. Reading this made me realize how happy I was then. I was happy because I felt better about myself, I was way healthier, and I got to the point where I needed exercise everyday to help me feel better. I want to be like that agian. I got married about six months ago and ever since then my health habits have changed a little bit. I went from working part time to full time and lost all motivation to keep up with my old habits. I want to get back there again. I started spark three days ago and I want to stick with it this time forever! Small simple steps will get me there. Report
After reading this, feel like a wake-up call. I didn't realize that build muscle also can help in accidents - prevent from worse things, help to recover, etc. No more slacking off from strength trainings! Report
I enjoy working out as it is a stress management tool I use. It also makes me more aware of my food consumption. I sleep better, look better and feel better; whoo, hoo! Report
I have never had any of the health test done.cholestrol.sugar,etc. My mom died at the age of 55 and I am closing on that age really quick.I want to see my 18 month old grand daughter grow up,be at her wedding , see her graduate and if I don't change I won't be there for any of it.Praise the Lord for Spark for showing me how to change. Report
That makes me stop and think about any excuse I may conjure up! Report
Great article and one more reason to move! I am motivated because both of my parents had major cardiac issues at the age of 55. Dad passed away immediately with his and mom suffered with hers for 32 additional years along with other medical problems. As I am fast approaching this age and being the oldest child I workout to change this hereditary trend. We all have to have a motivating factor. Again, thank you for this article. Report
Because I was tired of getting out of breath by walking up one flight of stairs. I definitely feel the benefits of my workouts. Report
I started exercise to lose weight but now I exercise coz it helps me destress! I can smile more nowadays facing the same issues! Report
My goal is both. But most of all, I want to be healthy in a way that the doctor sees healthy. My looks are secondary. I want my health to be the goal, not my looks, which is what it started out to be. Yes, I want to look nicer etc., but moreso, I want to be healthier. Report
I know it can relieve some of my stress. Report
great article and another good reason to continuing with my exercise Report
Doing it for the internal health benefits, but the external benefits sure add an added plus. Report
Exercising really lifts my mood for the day, especially a workout that's challenging and really makes me sweat. Report
I wish I could get into better habits of working out. I get up motivated, and then something goes off...I'm glad this woman stayed motivated! Report
I always feel better after a work out it is just starting the work out that is the hard part.. It is getting to be summer and i swim a lot and that is a great way to get in a work out and it's fun to paly and swim with my kids.. wish summer lasted a little longer.. we have are own pool so we do not have to leave home to swim !!! Report
Great article. I think everyone is looking for external results. However, I have first noticed the internal changes in myself. My attitude towards lots of things is more positive, I feel more rested even though I go to sleep at the same time but get up earlier, I fall asleep easier, I think I am subcontiously aware of what is healthy to eat verses really thinking about it, and I feel my core tightened and walking taller.
Thanks SP! :) Report
I am new in spark. I have tried all my after kids life to keep my weight down. I am 5'3" and weigh 210 lbs. I ride motorcycles and a year and a half ago a lady in a 80's lincoln (big car) made a left turn from the right lane while I was next to her, she hit me about 45 mph. She really slammed me good. the whole right side of my body slammed her car and I went flying over her hood and slammed on the ground on my back. well all of my fat saved me. (and the helmet) not one broke bone or internal bleeding. Alot of pulled muscles and car rash. But still I am tired of having the big bellly and not being able to wear the clothes that I want. I live in the country on a major highway and cant get out to town to health centers so I bought a ball that is helping alot and I do alot of raking the yard (2 ac) The raking is going good because the wild hogs keep rooting it up. So I do have a hard time getting motivated but I am working an that. I stopped the party life a year ago ,so one thing at a time for me. I am sure that I will get going on my next life change, my health!! Report
Most days I work out because it helps me to feel good about myself and I want to look good in my clothes. However, I am learning to love it for the health benefits as well. I am a firm believer that it doesn't matter what gets you going, as long as you get going and keep going. Report
I've been exercising consistently (4-5 days a week) since I had my first child. My late husband and I began walking together through our neighborhood (a pretty hilly area) soon after we married. After the children were born, I joined a gym and was there at 5am Monday - Friday (including holidays). After my husband passed, I began running. I ran until I blew out my knee a few years ago...Now, I "power walk". I've noticed (as well as my staff) that if a few days past without me having an opportunity to "sweat out my stress" -- my staff calls it SOS, my demeanor is not as pleasant as it normally is. In essence, some days my staff insist that I leave and visit the nearest hiking trail. When I return...that's when they ask for special favors. Report
I'd totally rather run 5 miles on a Saturday than sit in the movies......but I'm just weird that way..... Report
Thanks for the great article. I know I need to exercise to lose weight and gain muscle mass. However, I love the way it makes me feel as well. It is great when I can walk up and down stairs or around a mall without huffing and puffing. Report
The older I get, the more clear the connection of excersise and health are... and the faster I lose my muscle when I stop for any reason.
My older body is so happy with me for losing the weight- and I really feel it. 100 pounds down- yup, I can feel it! Report
I do still have some weight to lose, which I was motivated to start losing more for health reasons than aesthetic reasons. However, I agree with you - my day to day motivation now is more to control anxiety and stress.

And I am convinced that my strong, toned leg muscles protected my ankle and knee from a much more serious injury than I ended up with when I was in a bad bike wreck a month ago. Report
I don't care to think of the things I USED to do. I want to think and live in the present! Report
Something similar happened to a friend of ours. She is a professional dancer and broke her neck in an accident. Doctors said if not for her (extremely high) level of fitness and strength she would have died or been permanently paralyzed. Instead she made a full recovery and is dancing again. Report
Paragliding is something I will never do. Report
wow we don't know what we have until is gone or taken away....big motivation story for me.. thanx Report
Of course, my primary reason for working out is looking better & losing weight. But it is also a huge help with anxiety. And after reading this, there is even more incentive! Thanks! Report
Definitely internal for me. I never quite feel that I look as good as I should be and feel overweight. However it helps me to relax and feel better after a rough day at work. It is just my way to channel negative energy into something positive. Report
This is a wonderful story and reason to get up and workout. Stronger muscles helps protect your organs. Great! And thanks for sharing. Report
it makes me feel great! Report
I know that I generally think of exercise as a way to look better, but I do know that I am the healthiest I have ever been. I don't know why I sat on the couch so long. Report
I broke my leg 14 years ago, when I was physically fit and the Dr. told me It was good that I was in shape because the break and torn ligaments could have been worse and I healed faster. I take extra Vitamin C daily which also helps healing. Report
I have definitely thought about this aspect of exercising and is part of the reason I know I will be a lifetime exerciser. Breast cancer runs in my family and I just have this weird feeling I'm going to get it, and when I do, I want to be able to beat it with flying colors because of my fitness level! Report
I definitly exercise for both inside health and outside looks - - - I feel so much healthier now that I have lost almost 30 lbs. I needed it for health and well being... Thanks SP. Report
Exercise is my new obession according to my three grown children. Well I am healthier and now more fit than many people in my area of the south. That is a great feeling. Report
I had a similar experience-good muscle tone in my arm likely saved me from losing the use of it after doctors left a tourniquet on it for 5 hours. I had (and have) some nerve damage, but muscles protected the nerves that wrap around the arm bone. I do, however, have a lovely dent in my upper arm and what looks like one of those tattoos athletes have around their biceps. Thank goodness I didn't have a career as a swimsuit model :). Yet another good reason to exercise. Report
It reminds me of the Bruce Lee story, where the doctors told him he could not walk or move again, but he did! OK I guess I'll go today :D Report
I'm reminded everyday why I chose to exercise. Just seeing what my family goes through is scary enough. Report
I'd never thought about this! Report
I definitely think about the internal benefits of exercise. During my first pregnancy 4 years ago I had preeclampsia and major back problems that made it painful to walk more than a few blocks at a time. Between delivering that baby and one that I just had 3 weeks ago I started exercising regularly, including running a half-marathon and dropped about 20 pounds. During this second pregnancy I had no blood pressure issues, no back problems, and a much easier delivery. I believe my fitness level contributed to all of those things not occuring during my second pregnancy. Yes, dropping 20 pounds was nice, but not having to worry about my baby while I was pregnant was a much bigger reward for my hard work. Report
Thanks for the extra motivation to work out! I started working out for aesthetic reasons too, but now nothing is better than exercise to destress and boost my mood! If I go more than a day or two without exercise, I feel "off." Report
I exercise for alot of reasons...get in shape, build muscle, fight disease, to feel good, to feel good about myself, I want to be around in 40-50 years, etc. Report
For me it is an outlet for stress. When I am stressed or angry or depressed, and I work out, my mood is consistently elevated, the anger disipates and my stress is relieved. Report
I agree that exercise is really good for a person but there are some benefits to perhaps being a bit overweight - I remember reading one article years ago about a girl who was run over on purpose by some really angry man (wanted to get revenge over a breakup). The doctors said her life was saved because the ground was muddy and that being overweight gave her extra padding for when the car went over her. Report
Never gave thought to the fact of being fit saving you life in this way. WOW! Report
I started on my weight loss journey by walking 10 minutes or so on the treadmill and gradually built up. Then I added the recumbent stepper, etc and realized that I really like to exercise. My body may not agree with that sentiment all the time! But I have found that if I miss a day of exercising, I feel like something is off. I also like the commraderie since I joined a gym, we all help support each other in our weight loss efforts. Kim Report
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