With New Year’s resolutions being planned, most of us are adding exercise to the list of things to do. While “weight loss” tends to be a front-runner and a major reason why most make their way back to the gym, it is not a good enough reason to exercise.

Exercise has many incredible benefits. The problem with using “weight loss” as our main motivation is that if we don’t see the result of the scale dropping, we tend to get discouraged and give up. If you have read any of my articles or watched my vlogs on “weight loss,” you know I’m not a fan of that term anyway. Fat loss is a much better measurement to pay attention to.

The Best Reasons to Exercise … And None of Them Are About Weight Loss

So, what ARE the best reasons to exercise?

1. Because it feels good. Exercise releases endorphins, which make us feel good. In the beginning, you might not enjoy being sore and moving muscles that are stiff and tight because they are doing something new, but eventually you learn to look forward to the pump, the burn and the build.

2. Because muscle is a natural fat burner. Muscle boosts your metabolism, which in turn can help burn fat. And while cardio can temporarily bump up your calorie burn, muscle metabolism happens around the clock.

3. Because it builds confidence and self-esteem. Not just because of the physique you’re building, but because knowing how to use the gym does build confidence. Knowing you are actively improving yourself makes you proud and feel worthy.

4. Because it helps reduce stress. Exercise gives you an outlet for frustration, a chance to get out some physical aggression if necessary. But it also improves your overall sense of well-being. Exercise is known as a natural anti-depressant.

5. Because it produces physical changes. While nutrition determines size, exercise determines shape. You can build muscle in specific places, which will provide tone and shape. It improves your insides as well. It can help reduce chronic pain, make us look and feel younger, and strengthen our heart and bones.

While “losing weight” may be a worthy goal with exercise providing the vehicle, learning to enjoy exercise for the sake of exercising will keep you motivated for a lifetime. Remember that you are the only one that can keep yourself motivated.

Struggling to get out the door? Try these tips:

• Start with where you are.
• Find activities you enjoy.
• Learn the right way: take a class, pay a professional, do valid research.
• Find a workout buddy.
• Buy new equipment or workout clothes you feel good in.
• Surround yourself with people who are where you want to be.
• Schedule your workouts like a meeting or doctor’s appointment. Don’t schedule over it!