As a running coach, I see a lot of people who are motivated to start running during the holidays or New Year because they want to lose weight. They think that losing the pounds will improve their lives significantly.

While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be in a healthy weight range, depending primarily on the goal of “looking good” is not a good way to adopt and stick with a healthy lifestyle. If you’re unrealistically motivated by your looks, you may never feel like you look good enough, which will leave you discouraged even after losing the weight. Or, equally upsetting, you’ll fall back into old patterns once you do reach your desired weight.

Part of the reason I decided to become a running coach is because, when I was first establishing a fitness routine in college, I fell into this trap of working out for my looks. But I didn’t see dramatic results in my health until I really connected with my body, respected it, and found deeper reasons to stick with healthy living. So now I’ve made it my mission to help people master fitness in a way that doesn’t focus on toning your butt or developing beach-ready abs.

Here are some of the reasons I encourage my clients to exercise regularly.

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