Fitness quotes abound, for good reason! These short, pithy phrases help us stay motivated when the sweat is pouring and we want to quit! They also help us stay motivated when we aren’t getting results as quickly as we’d like. Some fitness quotes are more powerful than others. Here are some that are spot on target, along with the advice they offer. Keep them in mind when you’re tempted to skip a workout!
“If it Doesn’t Challenge You, It Doesn’t Change You”
You’re heard this one before, but what does it mean? If you keep doing the same exercise at the same intensity over and over, your body adapts and stops changing. We know that muscles grow and strengthen in response to progressive overload. Unless you increase the stress you place on your muscles over time, your fitness gains will stall. The same is true of cardiovascular exercise. If you run or cycle at the same pace and never push yourself, you plateau and stop making fitness gains. To avoid getting into a fitness rut, remind yourself that getting fitter involves a challenge.
On the other hand, don’t do an intense workout every time you train. You need rest and recovery time as well. Limit your challenging workouts to no more than twice a week. Exercise is about balance. If you do an especially tough workout, you may need a little more recovery time. Listen to your body. Come to think of it, that quote belongs on the list too!
“Do Something Today Your Future Self Will Thank You For”
Let’s not forget the powerful, long-term health benefits that exercise offers. Exercise benefits almost every organ in your body. You hear the most about the heart health benefits of aerobic exercise, but working out directly enhances brain, pancreas, and immune health as well. Plus, it aids other organs indirectly by controlling body weight.
Here’s an organ you might not realize is positively affected by exercise. It’s your kidneys! The Women’s Health Initiative that followed 85,000 women over 50 found that more frequent exercise was linked with a lower risk of developing painful kidney stones. Plus, exercise aids in blood pressure and blood sugar control and that helps preserve kidney health. So, exercise is friendly to all of your organs!
Exercise is also an investment in your future health. It lowers the risk of the leading lifespan shorteners, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some forms of cancer. So, exercise adds years to your life, but it also adds life to your years, as staying fit and functional helps you enjoy life to its fullest at all ages.
“Use It or Lose It”
This spot-on quote applies to your muscles. If you don’t challenge your muscles, particularly the large muscles in your lower body, you lose strength, muscle size, and functionality as you age. Muscle size peaks by the mid-’30s. If you don’t strength train, you’ll+ lose around 4% of your muscle mass every 10 years after age 30. Over time, this leads to sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle combined with gains in body fat.
With the aging population, sarcopenia is becoming an epidemic. Not only does it reduce functionality, but it’s also bad for your metabolic health. Research shows sarcopenia is linked with a higher risk of metabolic syndrome, a precursor to type 2 diabetes. The best way to avoid sarcopenia is to weight train! That’s why “use it or lose it” should be embedded in your brain, especially when you feel too lazy to exercise.
“Strive for Progress, Not Perfection”
The desire for perfection can get in the way of doing anything at all. Perfection is paralyzing. It makes you second guess your abilities and compare yourself to others. You’re on your own health and fitness course and it’s different from everyone else’s. Learn from others, but don’t measure yourself against them. Your goal isn’t to be the strongest but to be stronger than you were six months ago. Celebrate small strength gains as they come and know you’re on a lifelong journey to be the strongest and fittest you can be, not to live up to some outside standard. You’re also not on a strict timetable. Forget perfection! It doesn’t exist.
“Nothing Will Work Unless You Do”
You can read all of the fitness books and magazines on the market and be no closer to being fitter or healthier. They say that knowledge is power, but the real power comes from taking action. You must step up to the plate and take the first step to get the ball rolling. Society promotes a “quick fix” approach to getting fit and healthy. Unfortunately, quick fixes don’t deliver long term. You can’t swallow a pill and hope to sustainably lose weight, just as the latest fad fitness gadget won’t get you in shape for the long haul. It takes a plan, focus, and, yes, you have to put in the work.
“You’re Only One Workout Away from a Good Mood”
Exercise is a mood elevator. A workout has immediate positive benefits for your mood. You’ve heard about endorphins, chemicals released during exercise that may be responsible for the runner’s high, but exercise also boosts the release of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), a protein linked with improvements in mood. Simply getting the blood pumping and doing something positive for your health can be a mood lifter too. You’ve probably come home from work tired and in a down mood, but once you launch into a workout, you feel reinvigorated and the stress melts away. That’s the power of moving your body! The times you feel the most stressed are when you need a workout the most, along with a good night’s sleep, of course!
The Bottom Line
If you could add another quote to the list, it might be “exercise is good medicine.” That’s because it is! Take advantage of it and use these quotes to help you stay motivated on your journey to health and fitness.
Nutrients. 2018 Mar; 10(3): 364.
Proc Nutr Soc. 2015 Nov;74(4):405-12.