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Happy because they are fit? Or fit because they are happy?

The good old chicken or the egg question… are people who are fit and healthy that way because they are happy, positive, naturally motivated people? Or could it be that they are happy, positive, and motivated because they are fit – they regularly exercise and they eat healthy and nutritious food.

It would be very easy to assume that someone who is at their ideal body weight, feels fit, and are confident with their body shape would OF COURSE be happy. How could they not be right?

If you have ever fallen into that pattern of thinking “I’ll only ever be happy once I’m at my goal weight,” you might be right… but probably not for the reasons that you think.

1: The cycle

Taking positive action and getting positive results causes a positive association to that healthy behaviour, similar to the way that rewards work with kids, motivating them to repeat the behaviour that got them the reward.

Lets use the example of eating healthy food and exercising- payoffs such as having more energy, being able to get through a group exercise session with ease and feel good afterwards, or fitting into clothes that make you feel confident can all act as motivators to prompt you to continue with your healthy behaviours and find even more opportunities to be healthy.

2: Avoiding the negatives of being unhealthy

When you feel great, and your self confidence is at an all time high, the last thing you would want is for anything to jeopardise that feeling. You don’t want injury or illness to get in the way of living your life how you want to live it.

Unhealthy behaviours can put you at risk of developing lifestyle related diseases, injury, and drops in energy levels. Of course occasional indulgences aren’t the be all and end all- it’s all about balance, and tipping the scales towards more healthy than unhealthy behaviours.

3: More motivated to be active

When you’ve pushed past the early stages of getting fit where every day your muscles are aching, during exercise you are out of breath, and you wonder how anyone on earth can actually enjoy this torture named working out, something kind of wonderful happens.

Your muscles adapt, get stronger, and your lung capacity grows so you have endurance you never realised you were capable of. You start to notice that about half way through a session you feel that surge of endorphins and mighty are actually enjoying yourself. After a workout you notice your energy is much higher throughout the day, you can think more clearly, and you handle problems with greater ease.

Regular exercise also improves quality of sleep, so that you wake up more refreshed and ready to tackle anything life throws at you. What does this translate to? It becomes a whole lot easier to get up in the morning when you aren’t fatigued down to your bones and crying out for 5 more minutes sleep because you tossed and turned all night. Much more likely you’ll lace up those running shoes in this mindset than in one of complete exhaustion.

4: The steps to get motivated

The best steps to take are the literal ones. Get up at work and walk to your colleague instead of calling, take a stroll to the shops instead of driving and skip the escalators for the stairs. Strap on a pedometer and set your daily step goal.

Small changes might not seem to be doing much in the scheme of things, but what you are aiming for is that snowball effect. The more healthy choices you make, the more you want to take. And the more you tilt towards positive action, the more benefits you will enjoy.

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