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Shallow Reasons I Workout
Vanity Can Be Healthy

Shallow Reasons I Workout
Sun's Out, Guns Out!

You've heard it before, exercise is good for you. You feel better and live longer. Blah, blah, blah. Who cares! You don't have to workout because it's the best thing for you. There are lots of superficial reasons to move your body. Here are a few of my favorites.

Reunions are awesome when you look better than you did. It doesn't matter if it's high school, college or a family reunion. Think about walking into a room of people after 5, 10 or 20 years and looking better than the last time you saw them. Not many people get in better shape as they age, but regular exercise can help you do just that. When people start talking, and they will, just smile because that means all the hard work paid off.

People who exercise regularly, fall asleep quicker and get better rest than non-exercisers. By taking time for the gym, I'm also buying myself some extra quality shut-eye. In the morning after a good nights sleep, I think better. But more importantly, I look better without bags under my eyes.

Exercise increased my confidence, and that's a typical reaction. When I was young I was extremely shy. Working out helped me come out of my shell. I felt good about the progress I was making and less awkward when talking to other people. You may not see immediate results, but you will gain confidence as you make it a regular thing. 

Imagine running into an old flame, an ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend, former co-worker or old neighbor. Think about the people that used to be part of your life, that now you just bump into on random occasions. Wouldn't you feel great if they did a double-take and commented how good you look? You don't have to do anything to impress them, but it sure would feel good if they noticed a change, wouldn't it?

Then there's Halloween. In Key West it's warm, so it's nice to wear costumes that aren't too hot. But costumes that breath often don't leave much to the imagination. Knowing that I might be more "exposed" than in regular clothing, I workout to look good in the pictures. When you're in shape, there are also a lot more options that fit the way they're supposed to.

Speaking of clothes, by maintaining a healthy weight I have a much bigger selection of what to wear. People who keep putting on a couple pounds a year, constantly have to buy new clothes that fit. All those "slim" clothes get pushed to the back of the closet and eventually tossed. Keep trim and the new clothes only add to your wardrobe, giving you more choices when you want to go out.

How people treat me is a big reason to keep exercising. Fit People are perceived by others to be smarter, harder workers and richer than those who are overweight. That perception often leads to better job offers, promotions and other advancement opportunities. It's not the exercise that gets you ahead, but the results of that exercise grant you more access. It may not be fair, but in a rigged system, I'm happy to put those advantages to work in my favor.

Exercise makes you happier. When you workout, your body releases chemicals that relieve stress and improve your mood. Intense exercise can help you get over sad periods quicker and get you to a place of joy. I like being happy, so I keep working out to prolong the feelings.

There are plenty of health-related reasons to workout, but it's hard to get excited about preventing something. I find it more motivating to think about how I'm going to look when I see my family over the holidays than how another five reps will reduce my risk of a heart attack. Whatever keeps you motivated is what you should focus on, until it stops working.

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.