We are practically hounded on a daily basis to get in better shape. Whether it’s the media, our spouse or our doctor telling us to get off the couch and break a sweat, the message is repetitive, but it’s delivered in our best interest. Because exercising regularly is one of the best things you can do.
It’s the best thing for your mood, the best thing for your heart and the best thing for your muscles and bones. Your energy levels, immunity, gut and skin – yep, it’s the best thing for them too. Exercise is about so much more than burning fat or building lean muscle. It’s about being a better version of yourself. Here are ten good reasons to exercise regularly.
Regular exercise has a powerful impact on your happiness and sense of wellbeing by ramping up your production of endorphins. Working up a sweat doesn’t just make you feel better about yourself: it can actually help to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. For a mood-boosting workout, download Adrian James High Intensity Interval Training and exercise yourself happy!
Closely related to the effect exercise exerts on your mood is the effect it has on your anxiety levels. As your endorphins increase, the worrisome thoughts that had been preoccupying you begin to diminish. When you exercise, you refocus your attention from your daily problems to the workout itself as you find yourself ‘in the zone’. When you return to these daily problems, you’ll approach them with renewed energy and a fresh outlook that may even help you resolve them altogether.
Besides mood and anxiety, what about IQ, mental clarity, willpower and memory? It turns out exercise can help with all of the above. Again, the improved flow of oxygen and blood is key, since getting these essential ‘nutrients’ to the brain helps preserve a healthy cell count and enhance executive function. Studies indicate that physically fit people also enjoy greater focus, cognitive flexibility and improved emotional regulation. Hitting the treadmill might not get you on Mastermind, but it’ll give your brain a nice boost.
Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress. As well as releasing those feel-good endorphins, exercise lowers your body’s stress hormones, such as cortisol, and the benefits are greatest when you exercise regularly. Since stress is also increasingly linked to chronic disease, exercise is a great way of lightening the load. With any luck, the only thing you’ll stress about is missing your next workout.
Instead of leaving you feeling sluggish, exercise has actually been shown to increase energy levels. That’s why your stamina improves as your fitness does; all those lung-busting gym workouts boost your endurance, adding more fuel to your tank. Some people daydream about what they would do if they only had more energy. By following a vigorous exercise routine, pretty soon you won’t have to dream it – you can do it.
Aids weight loss
Unless you’re blessed with a lightning-quick metabolism, you’ll need to exercise to maintain a healthy weight. Exercise actually increases your metabolic rate, helping you burn more calories at rest and shift unwanted body fat. It’s probably unnecessary to reiterate the health risks of being overweight, so let’s just say exercise is a sure-fire way to make your dream body a reality. Of course, you don’t want to lose muscle while you torch fat – so maintaining your protein intake is a must. To stay on track, gulp down a Health Whey protein shake after every session.
Believe it or not, frequent exercise can actually help to keep your skin healthy. This is due to the way in which physical exertion increases blood flow, an essential conduit to the process of cellular rejuvenation in the dermis. Improved blood flow means better oxygenation, which means waste products are more likely to be flushed from working cells. Exercise regularly and you won’t have to reach for the anti-aging serum.
You can do more to maintain your bones than drink milk. Just as physical activity is a building block for developing healthy bones as a kid, remaining fit and flexible as you age is vital for preserving skeletal integrity. After all, bone loss is an inevitable part of the ageing process, which starts to occur around your mid-thirties. With a combination of cardiovascular and weight training – not to mention everyday activities like climbing stairs or carrying groceries – you’ll keep your bones strong, with attendant benefits to posture, sleep and balance.
Numerous studies come to the same conclusion: people sleep far better if they exercise regularly. This includes the time it takes to fall asleep, as well as sleep duration. What’s more, those who work out get less sleepy during the day than their sedentary counterparts. In other words, tiredness rears its head when your head hits the pillow, just as it’s supposed to. Catch the workout bug and you’ll also catch a whole lot more Z’s.
Improved sex life
If you can’t appreciate why improving your fitness levels might improve your sex life, you’re doing it all wrong…literally. Setting that aside, studies show that exercise can actually boost sex drive and enhance flexibility. What’s more, body confidence comes as a package deal when you lose weight or gain muscle – yet another factor to rev your engine.
Whatever your motivation for exercising, there’s a science-based reason to back it up. Choose your goal, find your focus and get out there and make it happen.