We are constantly told that exercise is “good” for us, but have you ever stopped and asked yourself why? Aside from the obvious physical benefits what else are we gaining from our daily activities?
1. Weight management
When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories, but don’t be fooled into thinking you have to slog away for hours in the gym to reap weight-loss benefits. If you can’t do an actual workout, there are plenty of opportunities for everyone to get more active throughout the day; take the stairs instead of the elevator (we’ve all heard it a thousand times but it does work!), get off the tube one stop early and walk the rest of the way or simply make more of a workout of your household chores like cleaning or gardening.
2. Combat health conditions and diseases
Regular exercise can help prevent or manage various health conditions including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular diseases, stroke and type 2 diabetes; talk about motivation to get moving more!
3. Improve mood
Everyone has a day or time when they can feel stressed, angry, sad, lonely, bored, anxious or tired and at this time we look for something to lift our spirits and honestly how many of us have reached for food, cigarettes or alcohol as comfort. But did you know that physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem. So next time you feel the bad mood rising take yourself along to a kickboxing class and punch it out rather than reaching for the cookies!
4. Boost energy
Research shows exercise has a direct impact on energy levels, I know when you are feeling tired the last thing on your mind is joining in a fun packed Zumba class, but it really will make you feel more alive. The surge of blood around the body transports oxygen to the brain to make you feel mentally alert, while better conditioned muscles require less effort to perform physical tasks and in time as the body becomes stronger so too does the immune system reducing the risk of illness.
5. Better sleep
Aerobic exercise can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep helping you wake up feeling restored. As we now know physical activity can help fight anxiety and depression which can sometimes be the underlying cause of sleep problems, so being too tired to exercise is no longer an excuse for by passing the gym on the way home!
6. Exercise can be fun
Exercise gives you the chance to meet new people or spend time with family and friends, so work out what activities you enjoy and encourage others to join you to see the amazing benefits and make it a lifestyle change.