After a long day of work, family, and personal commitments, exercise may be the last thing on your mind – not to mention a challenging activity to muster motivation for! However, you’ll benefit across the board by adding exercise to your ever-growing “to-do” list. Very few lifestyle choices are as impactful as physical activity and, despite popular belief, exercise doesn’t necessarily require a significant time commitment or intensity. Both moderate and intense exercise can drastically improve your overall health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just seven hours of activity per week can decrease the risk of premature death by 40%. And to dispel another myth: exercise can be enjoyable!
What are the Benefits of Exercise?
Exercise can improve your cardiovascular system by strengthening your heart, increasing circulation, delivering oxygen and nutrients to tissue, lowering your blood pressure, and improving your cholesterol numbers.
Trust Your Gut.
A healthy gut is a healthy you! The more you move, the better your digestive system performs. Regular activity will improve your metabolism (and help with weight management) and support your gut health.
Take care of your Lungs. Exercise can strengthen your lungs and help your body use oxygen more efficiently.
It’s Not Just Physical: Exercise Can Improve Your Mental Health!
Physical activity can reduce depression and anxiety, produce endorphins, and induce “feel good” emotions. People who exercise have increased self-esteem, better body confidence, and feelings of empowerment.
Regular workouts have many cognitive benefits, including improved motor skill retention a boost to your intelligence, and may delay or slow the progress of Dementia/Alzheimer’s.
The Benefits Keep Coming…Stress Reduction and Relaxation
We have learned that reducing stress can improve health and reduce chronic illness. Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress. The endorphins that are released when exercising are “stress-fighting” hormones. Try some of the following activities to improve your health and reduce stress:
- Aerobic Exercise: Activities such as running, dancing, cycling increase your heart rate. When your heart rate increases, those wonderful endorphins are released, providing a natural way to make you feel good with no side effects. High energy workouts improve your physical and mental health. It is always important to contact your physician before starting a high-intensity exercise program!
- Yoga: This exercise involves movements that help you become more fit and flexible. The breathing and meditation aspects of yoga will improve your mental and spiritual development and is a great activity to relax your mind.
- Team Sports: You get the bonus of doing something with your friends, which also helps to reduce stress. Not only are you enjoying time with others, but you’re also working up a sweat. Exercising with your cronies can motivate you to work a little harder.
- Outdoor Activities: Take it on the road. Cycling and walking/running outside allow you to enjoy nature. And getting out into nature has stress-relieving qualities of its own. Nature is a great place to heal and recharge.
Whether you choose a high-intensity workout or a relaxing walk in nature, the important thing is to increase your activity daily. You will see an improvement in your health, stress levels, and sleep patterns. Remember, you are only one workout away from a good mood!