Exercise - Love it or hate it?
If, like me you are not a natural sporty type, you may find it hard to summon the motivation needed to exercise. You know you need to do something, you know its good for you, but.....There are always a list of buts that stop you, some urgent messages to be sent, or calls to make, kids to see to, housework needing attention. In fact just about anything and everything takes priority over the dreaded exercise.
However, as we are told exercise is actually good for us and in more ways than one. Here are a few reasons you may want to put the excuses aside and take the plunge.
IT BOOSTS YOUR MOOD, AND COMBATS DEPRESSION
When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals such as endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine, which all work together to positively affect your mood and improve anxiety levels. In our current situation, this has never been more important.
IT HELPS MANAGE WEIGHT LOSS
Exercise burns calories. Your metabolic rate increases with physical activity and continues to be elevated for some hours after - meaning you continue to burn calories even when you’re not active. You will also build muscle mass which burns more calories than fat.
IT HELPS REDUCE STRESS
Regular exercise decreases the amount of cortisol in your bloodstream (its much higher when we are stressed), leading to a reduction in symptoms of stress.
IT IMPROVES SLEEP PATTERNS
Regular exercise may help promote better quality of sleep by strengthening circadian rhythms, promoting daytime alertness and helping to bring on sleepiness at night.
IT IMPROVES SELF ESTEEM
Creating an exercise plan and sticking to it can give you a sense of achievement. As you progress and notice physical changes you may also start to feel pride in your progress and hopefully your appearance.
IT BOOSTS PRODUCTIVITY
Studies have shown that that exercising releases more of the chemical compounds used in brain activity and cognition, which helps you to focus and concentrate.
IT FIGHTS DEMENTIA
Exercise leads to an increased blood flow to the heart which in turn can cause an increase in blood flow to the brain, improving cognitive function.
IT IMPROVES SKIN TONE AND CLARITY
By increasing blood flow, exercise helps nourish skin cells and keep them vital, whilst also helping to carry away waste products, including free radicals, from working cells.
IT HELPS REDUCE THE RISK OF MAJOR ILLNESSES
Regular exercise enhances the immune system and decreases the risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, strokes, diabetes and cancer by up to 50%.
IT LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE AND CHOLESTEROL LEVELS
Exercise reduces LDL cholesterol, the kind that clogs arteries. It also reduces your blood pressure, relieving stress on your heart.
IT STRENGTHENS BONES
Exercise, particularly weight bearing exercise, together with a healthy calcium intake, can keep your bones healthy and reduce risk of osteoporosis and other arthritic conditions as you grow older.
IT IMPROVES YOUR SEX LIFE
This reason seems to be two-fold: psychologically you feel better about yourself and more inclined towards sex, and physically, being fit improves libido, blood circulation and sexual functioning.
IT HELPS MANAGE CHRONIC PAIN
Certain muscular exercises can help reduce symptoms and long-term pains by strengthening the muscles around the affected area. Be sure to seek advice before embarking on new exercise plans if you have existing physical conditions.
IT IMPROVES DIGESTION
Exercise improves blood flow throughout the body, which includes your digestive system. Keep your body moving with regular exercise, and you can keep your digestive tract moving, too.
IT IMPROVES YOUR EATING HABITS
You'll find the effort to keep your body fit has an impact on the way you eat. Why would you go to the trouble of exercising if you are going to undo it all with unhealthy food choices?