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Published February 20, 2014, 03:51 PM

Holt: Need a reason to exercise? Here are 20

I’ve been exercising regularly for over a month. Yay! But I’ve only lost 2 pounds. Boo!

By: Meredith Holt, INFORUM

I’ve been exercising regularly for over a month. Yay! But I’ve only lost 2 pounds. Boo!

Maybe my body’s readjusting. Maybe my metabolism and hormones are out of whack. Maybe I’m not restricting my intake enough.

Regardless, I have to remind myself that exercise in and of itself is a goal worth celebrating.

Each workout gives me a sense of accomplishment. Afterward, I know I did something for myself. No matter how hard I pushed, I pushed.

Hopefully, with many more months of reaching my fitness goals, I’ll see the results I want – and need. But if the numbers on the scale continue to be stubborn, I’ll still enjoy the myriad other benefits.

Yes, I exercise to lose weight, but I also do it:

• To burn fat. And I’ve got plenty to burn. Bring the marshmallows, we’re having a bonfire!

• To strengthen my heart, muscles and bones.

• To improve my circulation and reduce my blood pressure.

• To reduce my risk of heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer. How much exercise I get is one of the few things I have control over.

• To increase my energy and endurance.

• To improve my flexibility, balance and coordination.

• To improve my posture. I’ve noticed that I’ve been walking a little taller since I’ve been back in the gym.

• To help manage chronic pain.

• To boost my immune system.

• To live longer. I have many more stories to tell and much more love to give, and if I don’t take care of myself, I won’t be able to do either.

Exercise isn’t just for my body. For my brain, I do it:

• To “get out of my head.” After staring at a computer screen all day, it feels good to do something physical.

• To reduce stress. Frustrated or angry? Take it out on the treadmill.

• To boost my mood.

• To ease tension and help me relax.

• To help me sleep better.

• To alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Because endorphins.

• To boost my productivity.

• To improve my memory, focus and attention.

• To help prevent cognitive decline.

• To give me confidence.

If I need a reason to go to the gym that has nothing to do with weight loss, there are 20.

Not to mention the social aspect. And I can laugh at “Bad Ink” on the bike.

Why do you exercise? Email me at mholt@forumcomm.com with what keeps you moving.

Forum reporter Meredith Holt lost over 100 pounds between 2010 and 2012. She will share stories of her weight-loss journey in her column, which runs the first and third Friday of each month in SheSays. Readers can reach her at (701) 241-5590.