The Hidden Benefits of Staying Active

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It’s spring in Michigan but summer is just around the corner. Many of us have spent the entire winter season practically hibernating, with comfort foods and frequent naps beneath a heated blanket. That said, it’s time for us to get back into a more active routine and find the right motivation to encourage us to do it in a positive, healthy, and genuinely enjoyable way. Below are some of the less mentioned perks of staying active!

Before we get into it, I want to address the controversial idea of a “healthy body.” According to the CDC, the average woman is a size 14, and the average man has a 40 in waist, or between a large or x-large in most pants. “Healthy” does not meet fitting within the current pop culture norm; it means feeling your absolute best. “Healthy” looks different for everyone and we should celebrate that. So if you’re getting ready to pursue a healthier lifestyle, don’t be discouraged and manipulated by Instagram models, weird juice cleanses, suspicious fat-burner supplements, or plastic celebrities. Focus on living your best life, whatever that means to you!

  1. You get to listen to your music without people interrupting you.

Get yourself some loud headphones and turn your favorite tunes up! Music is a great way to help you forget about the fact that you’re exercising and pumps you up to push yourself even harder. Whether you use Apple Music, Spotify, or Soundcloud, there’s a perfect workout playlist just waiting for you to click play.

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2. You can actually put your activewear to use, rather than just wearing it because it’s comfy.

Yoga pants and joggers are certainly comfy enough to lounge and binge watch shows in, but we all know that they weren’t originally created for that purpose. You already have a closet full of athleisure, so put it to good use!

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3. You’ll be stronger so that you can win impromptu drunk arm wrestling matches.

Being more active strengthens your muscles so that you can finally smash your opponents when you start arm wrestling at the next house party.

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4. You can burn off your extra energy so that you can finally zen out later.

My favorite thing about exercising is that it helps me forget about my stress for an hour or so. If I feel stuck in a project or assignment, taking a break to exercise helps me to come back to the work with fresh ideas. Once your head is clearer and you complete your work faster, you’ll be able to sleep better!

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5. When you get to enjoy less healthy delicacies, like pizza, doughnuts or ice cream, you won’t feel guilty because you’ll just burn it off later.

Being healthy doesn’t mean eating junk food every day. It also doesn’t mean denying yourself happiness by enjoying a treat with friends! And when you bite into that delicious, cheesy Cottage Inn pizza at 2:00 am, you don’t have to worry because your healthy body can metabolize anything now.

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6. You’ll just be happier.

Ever heard of a “runner’s high?” Exercise increases your endorphins or brain chemicals that induce euphoria, according to Melissa Conrad Stoppler, MD. Staying active will quite simply make you happier. I’m not sure if there’s a better time to be happy than summer in Michigan!

 

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Lauren Utykanski enjoys blueberry green tea, the farmer’s market and traveling. They told

her Olympic dog walking doesn’t exist yet, so instead, she decided to study professional

writing with a minor in museum studies. Keep up with her on Instagram at @laurenuty.

Tags: body image, college, exercise, fitness, working out