Everyone knows what they do and how they do it. But how many people know WHY they do it? I recently read an article from the Harvard Medical School asking the question, “What’s the one prescription that can lower your risk for 5 major diseases?”1 If you answered exercise, you are correct! Exercise has the power to keep you from developing high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and some forms of cancer. In fact, exercise can lower your risk of heart disease as effectively as medications!1 It can also help ease arthritis pain, sharpen your memory, trim your waistline, and preserve your independence. So why isn’t everyone exercising?1

This is where I jump in. According to the Harvard Medical report, most people don’t know where to start. I disagree, most people know they should drink more water, eat less food, walk more often, get plenty of rest and have positive emotions. This is essentially a behavioral issue, meaning people don’t know WHY to do it! This is biological, not just because I say so. The cerebral cortex of our brains plays a role in our thoughts, language, movement, reasoning and perception.2 However, the limbic system of our brain lacks language; it is the core of our emotions and memory.2 I am telling you this because your emotions are what drive you to do what you do each day. The joy you get when you play cards, bingo and other games is WHY you play. The excitement or belief about certain TV programs is WHY you watch TV. The reward and purpose of volunteering and helping others is WHY you volunteer. When it comes to exercise, eating healthy and having self-discipline, the WHY has to become much bigger!

Just like raising a child or running a business, you have to make hard and unpopular decisions in order for them to be successful. You do it because you are passionate about it and see the valued outcome you’re looking for. Passion is an emotion, hence the limbic system. With the holidays approaching, it is not easy saying no to a platter of goods or going for a walk down the hall. However, try once for yourself. WHY, because you love who you are, what you’ve done and the impact and legacy you will leave for others!

Kaleb Roudabush, NSCA-CPT

Wellness Coordinator

  1. Elson, M.D., L. E. (Ed.). (2015, September 6). What’s the one prescription that can lower your risk for 5 major diseases — with NO side effects? . Harvard Health Publiccations.
  2. Chudler, E. H. (n.d.). Neuroscience for kids. Retrieved from http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/nsdivide.html