Five Reasons to Exercise
Stephen Schlange
Marcell Scott works his biceps at H.I.T. Fitness, his training studio in Spokane.

Sometimes getting motivated to exercise is almost more difficult than actually doing a workout. So, to help keep you pumped up, we asked regional health and fitness experts what works for them or the people they help.

Some of the health benefits are obvious and well-documented. Other reasons are a little less so — but still important. Dr. Anna Barber, a family practice doctor in Spokane, pointed out how you’ll have more energy and avoid serious diseases, but she also listed the importance of “doing an activity you enjoy and spending quality time with those you love by exercising.”

For Dr. Peter Rinaldi, it’s gone beyond advice for his patients: At 64, he’s thinking a lot about his own reasons for staying active. “I exercise to improve my strength, my mobility and my balance.”

As a fitness specialist for Spokane Public Schools, Jim Guest has to convince young people of the need to develop good habits for life. “To get kids’ attention, I point out athletes or fitness professionals who are on TV. I’ll ask, ‘Have you noticed how good most of those people look?’ and ‘Do you think it has helped their confidence?’

“Also, I’ll ask the kids to take a deep breath after they get back to their classroom — breathe in and out for 15 seconds, then relax their muscles, just to see how good they feel after a good workout.”

So read on for tips to keep you focused on getting the exercise your body needs.

Aleisha Colvin

YMCA of the Inland Northwest Health and Wellness Director

  1. BOOST YOUR MOOD Exercise is a natural mood elevator and stress reducer. It can help you sleep better and feel more energetic as you take on the New Year.

  2. BOOST YOUR BRAIN Regular exercise stimulates brain cells and strengthens connections between existing cells. This can lead to enhanced memory and may delay cognitive impairment and dementia.

  3. STAY HEALTHY Regular exercise builds your resistance to illnesses like flu and the common cold by strengthening your immune system and keeping you healthy year-round.

  4. LIVE LONGER Exercise is your first line of defense against cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of colon and breast cancer. Regular exercise reduces your risk for developing these life-threatening diseases.

  5. HAVE FUN! Whether a class like Zumba or an adventurous winter activity like snow shoeing or skating — try something new! You can meet new people and accomplish new things by challenging yourself.

Trainers and Therapists U-District Physical Therapy

  1. So you don’t have to lie on the bed to button your jeans.

  2. To join a real social network and meet new friends.

  3. To look good naked.

  4. So you don’t feel guilty eating ice cream while watching The Biggest Loser.

  5. To prevent injury — so you don’t have to rehab at U-District Physical Therapy.

WSU Researchers

The Nutrition and Exercise Physiology Program, Washington State University Spokane

  1. We were made to exercise! Our bodies were adapted for exercise throughout human history, whether to flee a predator or for daily activities such as the harvesting of food; thus exercise is required in order to maintain human health. - Dr. Kay Meier

  2. Aerobic exercise stimulates the body to produce numerous factors critical for maintenance of brain function, cellular healing, muscle strength and protecting the body from premature aging. - Dr. Bruce Becker

  3. Exercise is the most effective method for the prevention and treatment of heart attack and diabetes. - Dr. Sue Marsh

  4. Regardless of whether you’re working out at the gym or learning how to cross-country ski, exercise can be a great way to socialize and meet new people. - Dr. Kay Meier

  5. A little goes a long way. Several short bouts of aerobic exercise - walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, etc., for about 10 minutes at a time, done two or three times a day - can achieve similar health benefits as continuous exercise done for 20 to 30 minutes a day. - Dr. Carolyn Johnson

Dr. Katherine R. Tuttle

Executive Director for Research, Providence Medical Research Center

  1. For clarity of thought and time for reflection.

  2. For calmness and happiness.

  3. For youthfulness and regeneration.

  4. To preserve and restore your health.

  5. For more energy and better stamina.

Inland Northwest Health Services

Collected by INHS, a local umbrella organization working to improve health care outcomes

  1. To prevent injury and illness. -  St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute

  2. To decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke. - Northwest MedStar

  3. To limit the chances of becoming someone with type 2 diabetes. - CHER Diabetes Center

  4. To reduce your stress level. - health@work

  5. To improve productivity and focus on your job. - Inland Northwest Health Services (INHS)

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About The Author

Anne McGregor

Anne McGregor is a contributor to the Inlander and the editor of InHealth. She is married to Inlander editor/publisher Ted S. McGregor, Jr.