It’s easy to fantasize about losing ten pounds of belly fat, overcoming sedentary fatigue or even just being able to unload the groceries from the car without getting winded. But turning that fantasy into reality is a sweaty, uphill battle, and that puts many people off. This is why it’s so important for everyone to understand that fitness requires more than just physical exercise.

Fitness has to become a priority in order for it to be effective. It’s a slippery slope when you skip a class or say you’ll work harder the next time (which is never a good idea as that can lead to injury). A commitment to fitness requires patience and dedication. Here are a few ways to embrace fitness as a state of mind and not just a series of actions.

What’s your motivation?

If your only desire to get fit is to look like one of Hollywood’s “beautiful people,” you’re likely not going to stick with it in the long run. You need to find something more personal to commit to a regular fitness routine. Perhaps what you’re seeking is more self-confidence. Fitness can be the vehicle to achieve your goal.

Dig deep. Find a significant reason you want to be fit and use it. Run with it. Walk with it. Spin with it.

Exercise as a natural pick-me-up

Most everyone has heard that exercising can boost their energy. That fact is usually credited to the release of endorphins during physical activity. While that’s true in part, there’s something much more dramatic happening here. If you are otherwise medically sound, but are often tired and don’t incorporate much physical activity into your day, your fatigue is likely due to physical reconditioning. Without exercise, your body begins functioning at a lower capacity in response and you become tired.

If food is the fuel for your body, exercise is the oil. You need both to function properly. A better understanding of how exercise not only benefits your body, but protects it, can help change your outlook. Exercise shouldn’t be an optional thing you engage in once in a while. You can keep putting gas in your car, but if the oil dries up, things start falling apart.

It’s not all-or-nothing

Engaging in a long lasting fitness routine takes time. Exercising too hard prematurely can be detrimental both physically and mentally. Start out slow. Take a morning walk. Enjoy some peaceful swimming in the ocean. Plant some vegetables and tend them everyday. It’s not always about the end result. Sometimes it’s about enjoying the trip to getting where you want to be.

Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/13/health/endorphins-exercise-cause-happiness/

http://www.naturalnews.com/023305_fatigue_sleep_health.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23783259

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shrink/201411/the-real-reason-we-dont-exercise