In casual conversation, a friend asked, “Why do you workout?”

My natural response, “Well, I’ve tried all sorts of workouts. Some with personal trainers, who promised to re-shape my body. I’ve also done at home videos promising to re-shape my body.”

“So, your decision is primarily centered on reshaping your body then?” she interrupted.

“Wait. No. What?”

I had to pause and question if that really was my motivation behind why I workout. After a long thinking session, I came to the conclusion no, that isn’t me.

See, I’m fully aware of the far too many fitness programs pitching that the answer to life is to have the perfect mythical body. I say mythical because the images they are promoting are nothing but manipulated and distorted images of the unreal; Images that are meant to keep you engaged, passing out your hard earned money and reaching for something that in the end is unobtainable.

With that said, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit re-shaping my body wasn’t a reason behind why I workout. However, it is not the only reason, nor is it in my top 5.

My top 5 reasons for working out are:

Reduction in stress and anxiety

When I first started working out, I did so because I had so much going on with me emotionally, and I was disinclined to talk about it. So working out became a form of therapy for me.

Playing on the above, I get to be alone with my thoughts

When I workout, it gives me time to be alone with me and my thoughts. It gives me time to try to get a little clarity on situations.

Like I said, I don’t really like discussing things because I’ve learned people don’t give a shit about how you feel, or they will use the information against you anyway.

When working out, I can put all the crazy emotions I’m feeling into the activity. I get to play out all the different ways a decision could go; Any consequences of the actions I may take, all without input from others who might not have the whole story anyway because I’ve not shared it with them.

It adds years to my life

It’s no secret that people who exercise live longer. Yeah, I said it. Research has shown that you can add up to seven years to your life by exercising a minimum of 150 minutes a week, regardless of what you weigh.

I’d like to have seven additional years to spend with my granddaughter and, hopefully, with the wonderful man who just entered my life.

It adds life to my years

Even better, those extra years I get will be happy ones. A recent study found that people who exercise reported feeling happier, more excited, and had more enthusiasm for life.

All of those are things I wish to have in mine, and I’ve found are true when I workout.

It makes me respect my body

My body is the only body I will ever have, and accepting and respecting what I have has made me appreciate just how incredible this physical vehicle of mine is.

Seriously, the reasons we workout do matter.

The next time you are engaged in your active pursuits, stop for a moment, feel the “why.”

You may be surprised at your reasoning.

Remember, there might be a young girl listening.