Why Is Exercise So Important?

It might be easy to tell ourselves or others, “there’s just not enough time in my life for exercise”. I get it. Like so many of you, I juggle working full-time, kids’ schedules, meetings, grocery shopping, laundry, a 4:30pm dinner before two practices, and the list goes on.   It’s challenging and seems insurmountable to fit one more item on your “To Do” list.  But then I remember this excerpt from author, Iain Thomas:

“And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, “This is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!’ And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, ‘No. THIS is what’s important.’”

I’m sure you would give this same advice to your loved ones, right? So, consider yourself. YOU are important. YOUR heart health is important. YOU deserve some exercise in your life!

WHY exercise is so important: 

Health Benefits Of Exercise Infographic


If you don’t make a change, things will remain the same

I often think of the word ‘Inertia’, in the law of Physics, a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force.

This law of physics couldn’t be more factual when discussing our physical fitness. The “a tendency to do nothing or remain unchanged” can especially hang in the air. Unless that state is changed by an external force (our own decisions and actions), nothing will change or improve.

The benefits of exercise are immeasurable

They truly are! Take a moment and look at the benefits of exercising regularly. There is not one prescription drug on the market that can have as positive of an effect on preventing and improving health conditions that exercise can.

Regular exercise can prevent or treat dozens of diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, obesity and some cancers. It can also protect your joints, prevent falls and injuries and increase bone strength. In addition, it’s important to avoid inactivity or the amount of time spent sitting. Limiting sitting to less than six to eight hours a day is optimal. Regular exercise makes our activities of daily living much easier and provides us the ability to thrive!

We will THRIVE instead of simply survive

When we set aside a plan to exercise daily, we will reap many benefits and thrive in life, as opposed to simply try to survive. I love Arianna Huffington’s description in her book “Thrive” regarding how seriously we take the battery power sign on our smart phones. If it’s nearing “low power mode” we become a bit frantic as we search for the nearest power source to refuel and recharge.  However, in life, we rarely pause to recognize when our bodies are operating on “low power mode” and need to recharge.

If we took time to build strength, endurance and flexibility in our physical selves, the benefits spill over into other areas of our life, including our relationships, our careers, our outlook on life and even sleep patterns.

I could spend days here discussing how daily exercise improves our well-being and boosts our ability to thrive in life! You will find yourself more productive in your daily life. And your emotional health will receive a boost. Have you met a miserable individual that exercises regularly? I challenge you to find one….they are hard to find.

Ways to Start or Get Back into Exercise

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends exercising at least 150 minutes a week. Yet many of us still struggle to make this a part of our lives. Here are some ways to start an exercise routine or to get back into a routine if you have gotten off track.

Write Down Your “Why?”

Ask yourself “Why is it important to me that I start to exercise?” Are you out of breath after walking up a flight or two of stairs? Are your pants fitting more snug than previously?  Did your doctor recommend necessary health improvements that can be obtained through exercise? Or do you just want to have more energy, improve sleep quality or just feel better overall?

Having a “why” is the first intention in initiating an exercise program. Writing it down in a journal or in your “notes” in a mobile device helps you set up a foundation for staying focused on your goal. It provides the motivation to get off the couch and take the first steps toward moving more.

Take your “Why” to another level by professing it to a peer, family member, or friend; someone you know who will encourage and support you and hold you accountable. If you have a “why” you have a reason to get started.

Start by Taking “Small Steps”

Keep it simple and obtainable at first. Start with a ten-minute walk every day at a routine time that works for you. Then eventually add on more minutes. Another great way to start is by seeking the help of a professional at a fitness club, like Universal. A  personal trainer might also help, they can map out a plan to get you started on the right path with some cardio, strength and stretch workouts that are realistic for you to follow.

Find a pal, start moving and have fun with it. Make a commitment to it for one month. You’ll be happy with the difference it makes in your life!

Beginners Workout Guide for New Year’s Resolutioners

How to Stay Motivated with Your Fitness & Health Goals

Are you still feeling like it’s a “New Year, New You!”? For many people, the new year included a resolution… commit to a diet, determine an exercise regimen and much more. The hope for many is that by Spring, they will feel and look their best. Does this ring a bell? Regardless of what has you motivated to take charge of your health in 2018, starting and sticking to your plan can be challenging. This is why we put together some tips to help you stay motivated and meet your goals this year!

  1. Set Realistic Goals for Yourself

    Don’t reach for the stars, yet. Begin with short term, realistic goals. With exercise, start at a slow, comfortable pace. As you become more conditioned and comfortable in your workouts, up the ante and adjust goals accordingly. If weight loss is a goal for you, start by looking to lose 1-2 pounds/week. By starting small and setting realistic goals, you are setting yourself up for success.

  2. Hold Yourself Accountable

    Meeting with a fitness or wellness coach is a great idea for those who need guidance and support. Better determine your fitness short term and long term goals with a professional. Professional wellness coaches are trained to outline the best fitness plan for each and every client.

  3. Try A Group Fitness Class with A Gym Buddy

    Need a little motivation to get on track and stick to your plan? Go to a group fitness class! Better yet, go to a class with a friend! Be accountable to a buddy. Tap into the support of others and experience the motivation found in group fitness classes.  Group classes are also a benefit because if you are ever confused with a workout technique, a fitness instructor leading the class can provide alternative methods of training to help those who are just beginning their fitness journeys.

  4. Hire A Fitness Trainer at Your Local Gym

    To get started and stay motivated, you may want to hire a personal trainer to help you reach your fitness goals. Trainers are certified to help clients exercise safely. Personal Trainers are professionally taught how to best outline workout regimens for people who are just stepping into a healthier lifestyle or for those who are in need to meeting their personal fitness goals.

  5. Fit Workouts into Your Busy Day

    When your schedule does not allow you to get to the gym, you can incorporate a few simple workouts into your day anywhere you are. Using your own body weight creates a total-body workout for any ability level. Examples include:

  • Push-ups (advanced: with single leg raise)
  • Plank (advanced: side plank with raised top leg)
  • Squats (advanced: squat jumps)
  • Alternating Lunges (advanced: add a plyo jump)
  • Bent knee crunch (advanced: supine reverse crunch)

If you are at all in need of keeping to your New Year’s Resolution this year, we are happy to help you here at Universal! At Universal Athletic Club, our members’ success is our #1 priority. With a little bit of guidance, and a lot of encouragement, you too can start and stay committed to meeting your health and fitness goals in 2018!

15 Ways to get motivated to exercise

If you’re making a commitment to live healthier, congratulations! There are many ways to keep yourself motivated to exercise and make healthy choices. Here are my top 15 recommendations to stay on track:

  1. Read success stories of others.  Reading testimonials about the success of others can be very inspirational; you might be able to relate to many of their real-life challenges and triumphs.
  1. Envision how you are going to look and feel. Picture a “fitter you” to help inspire your next workout. What’s your favorite outfit that you wish you would feel fantastic in? How happy would you feel being able to physically keep up with your kids or grandkids?
  1. Set realistic on-going goals.Setting realistic, achievable goals is very motivating. It could be anything from losing a few pounds, being able to walk a mile around the track, or running your first 5K.how-to-set-your-intentions-001
  1. Seek the help of a fitness coach or trainer. Working with a trainer will give you the education, support, and motivation you need.
  1. Keep an exercise log. This will help you set goals, see your progress, and have a sense of accomplishment.
  1. Don’t do it alone. Recruit a friend or two to exercise with you for extra encouragement. In return, you’ll help motivate them.
  1. Take Group Training or Team Training classes. The benefits of getting involved in a group fitness or training program  are incredible! From BODYPUMP to Aqua Fitness, or from Boxing to Yoga, the energy from the instructors and other class participants is contagious!
  1. Remember how amazing you feel! There is nothing like the feeling after a great workout. The sense of accomplishment and the “high” you’ll feel will keep you going all day. Remember that great feeling for the next time!
  1. Release your stress. All wound up from life’s daily ups and downs? There is nothing better at getting rid of stress  than physical activity.
  1. Make exercise convenient. If you are going to have trouble making a class on a certain day or time, try a virtual fitness class at a time that works with your schedule.
  1. If guilt works, then use it! If you feel sluggish due to a missed workout, turn that negative into a positive and use it as a motivator to make exercise a priority the next day!
  1. Think about how much better you’ll sleep. Forget buying that new pillow or mattress; numerous studies have proven regular exercise improves your sleep quality .  Link to a sleep study
  1. Vary your workout routine. You know the saying “variety is the spice of life?” The same holds true when it comes to an exercise program. Mix it up with different kinds of activities or programs so that you’re always challenging your mind and body. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!
  1. Reward yourself. You’ve worked hard, so treat yourself to a massage, a new outfit, or something else you’ve always thought about, like personal training sessions  (link to new PT page you created. Make sure that your reward is something that will keep you on track, not set you back!
  1. Celebrate your success! There is nothing better than achieving goals that you set for yourself, whether big or small. So “bask in the glory” and use this positive feeling to keep you active and healthy all year long!

Let us help you get motivated to exercise in a way that works for you! Contact Us to get started on your plan to success.


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Balancing Act – Kids, Work, Family, School – oh yeah – and ME!

I bet you are waiting for the secret to balancing your life, wishing there was a magic recipe, but the truth is there isn’t one!  The bottom line? You must make the decision to add YOU, and your health, to the list of “Things to Do.” This decision does not come easily for many. Trust me; I get it. It takes determination, hard work, dedication, and organization. But it’s important to create balance; you are worth it!

Being a single mom is a lot of work. I have days, just like everyone else, that I just don’t feel like prioritizing myself. However, the difference between not allowing myself to creep up to 217 pounds (like I did in 2004) and now is the fact that I made the choice to put myself on my own “To Do” list. I now have the tools to get me through those days.

Everyone is different and, ultimately, the key to success is finding the tools that work best for you. Here are a few tips that may help get you started:

Start by really getting to know yourself and how you relate to exercise. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What motivates me?
  • What exercises do I like to do?
  • What exercises are the most fun?

Don’t just think about your answers, write them down so you can see them on paper. Seeing your written responses can make a huge difference.

Make friends and surround yourself with positive people (this is my favorite one!)
When I first became a member at Universal years ago, it was amazing how many friends I met in the classes. Even more amazing is how many of them would hold me accountable for being in class.

I remember a Monday night that I just didn’t feel like going to Zumba. I started thinking about all my friends dancing and sweating and having fun. Yes, the class would still go on with or without me, but I found myself not wanting to miss out on all the fun I knew everyone would be having. I “dragged” myself to that class…and guess what? I wound up having a blast and feeling really good about it!

I tell myself all I have to do is commit to 15 minutes. If I still am not feeling it, then I give myself permission to go home. But most days I end up staying for my full workout.

Most importantly, exercise has to be a priority, and it has to be scheduled, just like any other appointment. 
You need to think of regular exercise the same way you think about brushing your teeth or going to work. You might not FEEL like doing it beforehand, but you’ll sure feel better afterwards!

My kids need me to be healthy and strong so I can love them for many years and take care of them both physically and emotionally. Keeping up with my children and their needs is a priority! For me, my children’s health and well-being is a huge motivating factor in my choice to be strong and healthy.

I remember a friend asked me recently, “How do you find time to work out as often as you do?” I responded by honestly saying that there’s no way I would have the energy to do things that need to be done if I didn’t exercise. Exercise gives me peace of mind and clears my head so I can take on life’s many challenges and get through my day. I mean every word of that!

Remember, you are certainly not alone. If you need some guidance or direction to make this important lifestyle change, you have an entire staff of Universal Fitness Coaches, Trainers and Lifestyle Consultants to help you. We’re here to help you can accomplish anything that you set your mind and heart on!  Make time for you by taking some of the many classes included in your club membership, or contact us for questions about putting together a workout or wellness program just for you!