Benefits of Exercise (and weight loss isn’t one of them)
This time of year gym memberships sky-rocket and exercise classes are packed out with people who are eager to lose the pounds they put on over Christmas. But looking at exercise as just a means to lose weight is really short sighted as weight loss is just an added bonus if it happens.
Exercise is a big part of my life and I try to do some form every day, whether it be yoga, core work, walking, hiking, dance, weights etc. I know some people can see it as a chore and just do it in a bid to lose weight, but they are missing the big picture and the amazing thing they are doing for their body.
It has always without fail helped me through tough times in my life whether I was grieving my Dad’s death, dealing with a broken relationship, coping with exam stress or coming to terms with having an autoimmune disease. I find it a huge help in combating stress, lifting my mood and creating overall feelings of welling being and happiness along with feeling physically fit and flexible.
Here are just some of the amazing benefits of regular exercise that can have you healthy, happy and glowing .
- Exercise keeps your body fit and able now and for the future. It also increases longevity so not only will you have a longer life but your quality of life will be better.
- It improves oxygen to the cells
- It lowers blood pressure
- It strengthens your heart and bones cutting the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis
- It boosts your immune system
- It can manage and prevent a wide range of concerns such as stroke, Type 2 diabetes and cancer to name a few
- It improves muscle strength
- When you have improved oxygen to the cells and improved muscle strength, you have more energy and endurance. So those days that you are fatigued and tired doing some exercise will give you a boost.
- It improves your sleep quality, helping you to fall asleep faster and deepening your sleep (just don’t work out too close to bed time as you may be still buzzed and energised to fall asleep). On the flip side it can also give you a boost that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning and do things.
- It boosts your mood. Exercise releases the happy hormones endorphins and dopamine which improve overall mood. Studies have even shown that exercise can even alleviate symptoms among the clinically depressed (in some cases being just as effective as anti-depressant pills).
- It eases anxiety. When people with anxiety exercise the immediate mood boost they get is followed by longer-term relief which calms people down and thus easing anxiety.
- It releases stress. Working up a sweat can help manage stress as concentrations of norepinephrine, the chemical that can moderate the brains response to stress, increase. So exercise can reduce stress and boost the body’s ability to deal with existing tension.
- Exercise is said to improve brain function, memory, productivity and creativity. As we get older our brain begins a cognitive decline. Exercise boosts the chemicals in the brain that support and prevent degeneration of the hippocampus which is important for brain function, learning and memory. Also it is reported that creativity is boosted for up to two hours after exercise.
- Exercise and physical activity can be a fun way to spend some time bringing joy into your life. Not only does it give you a chance to relax, it could give you the opportunity to get out and connect with nature, it could help you connect with friends and family in a fun social setting or it may even mean engaging in something that makes you happy. I always leave my Zumba class with a huge grin on my face!
- It improves body image which in turn boosts confidence and self-esteem. Regardless of weight, size, gender, or age, exercise can quickly elevate a person’s perception of his or her attractiveness and self-worth. Whether that’s because of increased endurance, feeling fit, getting toned, increasing flexibility or strength…
- It has anti-aging effects from the improved oxygen to the cells and increased blood flow to the skin.
- It’s a great way to rid your body of toxins. When you work up a sweat, it helps to clear your skin by releasing toxins that clog your pores and cause pimples. Exercising increases the blood flow to your skin, in turn increasing the sweat glands’ ability to release toxins. So exercise literally can make your skin glow!!
So what are you waiting for? Go grab your trainers and get moving and get a healthy, happy, glow!!!