Why do we even exercise? I mean, why do you exercise? What are your reasons to move?
I’ve been thinking a lot about this question lately and I can come up with a bunch of good reasons to move:
- Because you can
- Because it’s fun
- Because it’s the right thing to do
- Because it’s good for you
- Because it’s good for others
- Because you need to know what you’re capable of
- Because you need to remember you’re alive
- Because life has to win every day, but death only has to win once
- Because it teaches you things about the universe
- Because you can apply what you learn to every aspect of your life
So, maybe get out a scrap of paper and right down your own quick list of reasons to move. It doesn’t have to be the same as mine or resemble my list in any way really, because it’s your list.
And now, I’m going to elaborate a bit on each of my reasons.
MOVE BECAUSE YOU CAN
Why have eyes if not to see? Why have ears if not to hear? Why have a body that is capable of so much splendid movement and expressions of physicality and skill if you’re not going to do anything with it? So run, jump, climb, lift, dance, work, and fight! Don’t let these abilities languish.
MOVE BECAUSE IT’S FUN
Do you remember being a kid on the playground? Nobody had to tell you to get off your butt and play. You ran and threw balls and swung on the swing solely for the joy and pleasure of it. Movement is fun. And if you don’t have any fun movement in your life, go out and find a hobby, sport, or passion that gets you moving.
MOVE BECAUSE IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO
This gets to the question of fitness morality. Why is being fit the morally right thing to do? I think fitness is moral because you’re holding yourself to a higher standard of conduct. You’re being the best person you can be, which makes you of more use to others, and makes you less of a burden on others. This is the right thing to do.
MOVE BECAUSE IT’S GOOD FOR YOU
Want to feel vital and energetic? Want to think more clearly? Get better sleep? Control your weight? Have less doctor visits and lower medical bills? Regular physical activity is good for your heart, and lungs, and muscles, and bones, and skin, and everything really. This is known.
MOVE BECAUSE IT’S GOOD FOR OTHERS
I touched on this a bit in “the right thing to do” above, but fitness doesn’t only make you more useful and less burdensome to others, it also makes you a better example to others. Think about your unhealthy relatives; maybe they’ll be inspired by what you do and want to take better care of themselves. Your children/students/direct-reports will have a better example to aspire to.
MOVE BECAUSE YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT YOU’RE CAPABLE OF
“How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?” Remember that line from Fight Club? I think you need to know the things that you learn about yourself when you run, climb, hike, swim, and lift heavy things. You need to know what you can do and what you can’t. You need to know how powerful you are, for confidence, and for the value of the reality-check you get when you know where the boundary of your capabilities is.
MOVE BECAUSE YOU NEED TO REMEMBER YOU’RE ALIVE
I don’t mean “alive” like you have a pulse and are technically not clinically dead. I mean “alive” like vibrant and exuberant and bursting at the seams with vital energy! Like go to the top of the mountain and shout as loud as you can. You might have a boring life and sit at a computer all day and be utterly unfulfilled, but if you can get back in touch with your primal nature, you can remind yourself of your own power and start to do something about it.
MOVE BECAUSE LIFE HAS TO WIN EVERY DAY, BUT DEATH ONLY HAS TO WIN ONCE
I wish I could take credit for this, but I read it somewhere and can’t get it out of my head now. This is a truism that makes life the most powerful force in existence, perhaps. In defiance of the 2nd law of Thermodynamics (everything falls apart), life just keeps on growing and adapting and surviving. We are life. We have to win every day against a myriad of forces trying to kill us. If it’s not a bad guy with a gun, it’s poverty or obesity or depression. Movement will help you avoid or overcome all of these.
MOVE BECAUSE IT TEACHES YOU THINGS ABOUT THE UNIVERSE
By the time you’ve read this far, I’m sure you’ve learned a couple lessons about the universe already. Exercise and recreation teach you about space and time, about gravity, temperature, and the adaptability of physical organisms. You learn about cause and effect, about accumulated effort and about the cost of errors. And much, much more.
MOVE BECAUSE YOU CAN APPLY WHAT YOU LEARN TO EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR LIFE
This connects to my earlier blog about applied metaphysics. Your movement practice teaches you so many lessons about yourself, about your world, about the long-term effects of habits. Now you can take those lessons and use them to be better at your job, at your art, and to just be a better person.
2 thoughts on “Reasons to Move”
I like all your reasons.
Move in new ways everyday and challenge yourself everyday.