When most of us think about exercise, the image of expensive gyms, obsession with body image, burning calories, and confusing machines and equipment come to mind. These preconceived notions of what exercise is, are simply far from reality. This article will discuss the many reasons that YOU can use exercise to improve your health and overall quality of life.
The importance of exercise extends way beyond the calories burned and muscle size, and it can be something that is fun, social, and exciting. The benefits of exercise are numerous and plentiful, ranging from decreasing stress and anxiety, to improving heart health and muscle strength.
A complete exercise program includes cardiovascular health, strength, flexibility, and balance. This will ensure that you have good heart health, strong bones and muscles, a good range of motion, and balance to prevent unnecessary falls and injuries.
A good way to view exercise, is to look at it as an essential nutrient, like a vitamin. It is something you need if you are to live optimally!
How Exercise Benefits You And Why
- Improved Memory: Over and over again, studies have shown that exercise improves memory!
- Reduced Stress: The endorphins released during exercise not only make you happy, but reduce your stress levels as well!
- Reduced Heart Disease: According to the American Heart Association, the leading cause of heart disease is physical inactivity! Prevent heart disease by staying active!
- Reduced Rates Of Cancer: There is a growing amount of evidence linking exercise to the prevention of colon cancer and breast cancer!
- Strengthens Your Immune System: Exercise has been shown to increase white blood cell count, which helps fight off disease! However, excessive exercise, such as running a marathon, can actually weaken the immune system, so do not over-do it!
- Reduced Levels Of Depression: Exercise is one of the best remedies for depression. A study published in 2007 in Psychosomatic Medicine placed sedentary, depressed adults into multiple groups, one of which received antidepressants, while another was placed on an exercise regimen. After 4 months, both groups experienced significant improvements. However, after a year, the antidepressant group relapsed while the exercise group did not!
- Sleep Better: According to the National Sleep Foundation, exercise in the morning and afternoon helps you to sleep better!
What Does It Mean To Exercise?
Exercise can be done anytime and pretty much anywhere. You do not need expensive equipment, trainers, gyms, etc. All you need is yourself and a desire to work hard. Exercise should be challenging, and should push you to improve and overcome obstacles. This is often the most fun part of exercising. If your workout is not challenging you, then you are not going hard enough.
Simply going for a walk outdoors can have life-changing benefits. According to a study conducted by the American Heart Association, moderate-intensity walking showed similar benefits to vigorous running in reducing risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol!
So How Much Should You Be Working Out?
You only need to exercise for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week! That’s right. You read that correctly!
According to the American Heart Association, you can receive all the amazing health benefits of exercise via moderate exercise, such as brisk walking. Simply exercise for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for a total of 150 minutes!
However, maybe you would prefer a little bit more intense of a workout than walking. To receive all the benefits of exercise, 75 minutes of intense exercise is needed.
And, of course, if you would like to exercise more than the recommended amounts, please do so!
Action Plan For Getting More Active
It is important for you to plan your workouts and to limit possible excuses. Think about what type of exercise will make it most likely for you to work out consistently. If you love playing soccer, then maybe joining a soccer team would be the best option. Or maybe you love yoga, so a membership to a yoga studio would be a perfect choice. Or maybe you love nature, so going on hikes in the area would be a good start.
Next, take a look at your schedule and determine when it makes sense for you to work out. Sometimes life can get hectic trying to balance all of your tasks and obligations. Try to choose times throughout the week that will not be stressful, so that you are more likely to stick to your workout plan long-term.”
It might be a good idea to get a workout partner. A recent study published by the Society of Behavioral Medicine, showed that exercising with a partner can greatly improve your motivation and exercise performance!
Finally, plan out what you need to bring. If you want to go to the gym after work, prepare your gym bag and maybe pack a meal from home, thus allowing you to hit the gym right after work.
If you plan on going for a hike before work in the morning, preparing a breakfast and all the things you will need to transition easily between your hike and work.
By creating a plan, and thinking ahead, you can limit the amount of options in your head that tells you why you cannot do it!
Incorporate exercise into your lifestyle by changing your environment and your mindset. Your body loves and craves movement. You will improve your physical health, improve your quality of life, reduce stress and anxiety, improve mental focus and clarity, and feel happy via the release of endorphins.References