Updated: May 25, 2022
If you're like most people, you know that exercise is important, but it's not always easy to make it a priority. Here are reasons why you should make time for exercise – and why it's worth it.
Breaking the mental barriers
You know, we all have those days. We say, “I'm so tired. I'm too stressed out. It's cold and wet outside! The sofa just feels so good.” Personally, I've never been somebody who loves to exercise. I'm not the person who loves to get up at five o'clock in the morning to get that workout.
I can't tell you how much I envy people who love that. However, I know that it is important. We all know it's tough to get started. It's not easy to always just throw on your workout clothes and start to tackle your wellness goals. But I can guarantee you, no one is in great shape or even fit without some work. Remember, I never said this was going to be easy, but I promise you the changes you're making will absolutely be worth it.
You know, our inner couch potato is oftentimes our worst enemy. We subconsciously can waste a lot of time and energy just trying to figure out how to get out and work out. Question for you though: has it ever occurred to you that we make it into something much worse than it actually is?
It's not about running a marathon three times a week or preparing for a bodyweight training competition. We're talking about 20 to 50 minutes of active movement. It doesn't have to be every day. It's time to break those mental barriers down and get started.
Movement and exercise are important. Here’s why…
1. Exercise makes you happier.
When we think about feeling better and lifting our mood, we all want the best way to get there. It doesn't matter if the movement you do is mild, moderate, or even vigorous. Exercising gives people more pleasant feelings than those who don't engage in physical activity. This is why one of the underlying lifestyle changes required for patients who suffer from depression is exercise.
When you're exercising, the brain recognizes this as a moment of stress. To protect you from stress, the brain releases a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). You're going to hear a lot about BDNF in the coming years as science continues to develop and reach into the traditional medical world.
This compound has a really protective and reparative effect and it helps our memory as well as setting a reset switch. It's the reason why you feel happy and relaxed after exercising. Exercise also stimulates the digestive tract in which digestion improves, your gut bacteria thrive and our gut neurotransmitters also release those feel-good hormones.
2. Exercise and movement improve mood and mental health.
Exercise truly is one of the most underutilized antidepressants. It can help you ward off things like depression, anxiety, and a negative mood. It also aids in improving your self-esteem.
Doing just 30 minutes or more of exercise a day for three to five days a week can significantly improve depression and anxiety. We've seen this in study after study. We also know that smaller amounts of physical activity, as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time, can also make a difference.
Remember when you exercise, you increase those feel-good hormones, those endorphins and dopamine, adrenaline, and even the hormones in your endocannabinoid system. These are all brain chemicals associated with feelings of happiness, contentment, confidence, feeling capable, feeling less anxiety and stress, and even less physical pain.
3. Exercise helps you sleep better.
In terms of sleep, our biological clock sure makes our body run smoothly. We have the daytime switch and we have different metabolic processes that happen at nighttime. If you can't sleep, and instead you're constantly tossing and turning, exercise can help you sleep better.
In addition to that, physical activity helps reset those circadian rhythms, which are crucial for triggering the heal and repair response. The most important thing to keep in mind about exercise, and is really important is, it can be even more effective when done throughout the day, especially in the morning. Exercising later in the day can activate your sympathetic nervous system which can keep you awake. Be careful with exercising at a later time in the day.
Insomnia is a lot more common than you might think. Millions of people suffer from sleep problems. Many of the cases have a simple solution: physical activity. The effects of exercise on sleep may not be immediate, but they will come. One of the recent studies shows that it can take up to four months to have that really strong and positive effect on sleep. But how fantastic is it that we can do that! And it is highly effective.
4. Exercise gives you energy.
This might be surprising to some people to know that exercise can boost your energy levels. If you have a tendency to feel tired, try to get up and move. According to some different studies, we have low-intensity exercise can boost energy levels by 20%. A study on fatigue and exercise recently showed that people who do low-intensity exercise when they're tired reported a steady increase in energy over the six weeks of the experiment.
Whenever you get that midday lull, drink that water, get up and go for a brief brisk walk for five minutes. you'll find out that your energy through the rest of the afternoon is significantly less.
5. Exercise increases productivity.
Daily physical exercise is a benefit that will definitely increase your productivity levels. Not only energy but productivity as well. In 2011, we had a study that showed us that employees who take that time for exercise and movement have higher productivity levels than those who are more sedentary. I think it's great knowing that getting up and doing some movement can help you think and feel better: stimulating energy, stimulating creativity, and more efficient working.
6. Exercise can help skin health
At Vitality, we treat people from the inside out and the outside in. It's not unusual for someone to come in with skin concerns. We find that these are tied to some internal issues. Our skin can show who we are. Are we struggling with detoxification? Do we have accelerated oxidative stress and signs of early aging?
Our skin will show these issues whether it's through wrinkles, collagen loss, sagging skin, or these new age spots popping up. Moderate and frequent exercise can actually raise your body's output of the natural antioxidants, which can help protect yourself. Exercise can promote skin cell adaptation and induce that blood flow circulation that can really help delay skin aging.
7. Exercise can make you less susceptible to disease.
This is certainly one that's on the forefront of most people's minds right now. Not only can exercise make you stronger, but it also helps fortify your immune system, keeping disease away. Science is not entirely sure how this all happens, but we know it's well documented that it does happen.
We know that physical activity can prevent the appearance of future cancers, especially significant in the risk reduction of breast cancer. Some people think that exercise flushes out the bad cells from the body or helps get rid of the bad bacteria that triggered inflammatory reactions. Others say that a reduction in stress-related hormones, like cortisol, lowers your risk of disease progression.
No matter what the mechanism is, we know it's very clear that regular physical. Activity can actually prevent disease and benefit the appearance of other conditions. So don't delay. When we're talking about your wellness journey, getting movement and exercise in your life can help you on that spectrum of wellness.
8. Exercise improves memory.
You've probably felt this, how physical activity can boost your memory. If you're constantly having difficulty remembering where you left your keys or struggling to recall names, then the physical activity can be a really nice boost for you. You'll notice a change in mental alertness and foggy thinking, to name just a couple of things.
A study in 2014 actually found that aerobic exercise like running or swimming can increase the size of your hippocampus. Now we learned about the hippocampus when we were studying the different hormones of the brain and our sex hormones. The hippocampus again is that neurologic center and it's responsible for memory and learning.
Interestingly, in women, a reduction in the size of the hippocampus is recognized as a risk factor for dementia. Try to get out there, get some exercise. We love to increase the size of your hippocampus. Think about protecting our brain because as you know, we only get one shot at it.
9. Exercise makes your bones stronger
This is crucial as we get older. It's a significant component of powerful and strong bones. There's an enhanced effect when you're young and it's a requisite and keeping those bones strong throughout life. Bones are living tissue and just like a muscle they're constantly remodeling and getting stronger or weaker. Our activity is what stimulates those changes.
Bones and muscles respond to vibration, pressure, and weight-bearing. You've probably heard of vibration plates and we know that weight-bearing exercise is what it takes to keep those bones strong. Our bones adapt to our everyday activities to meet the body's demands.
If you don't exercise, they also adapt and become weaker. Be very careful in how you choose to be active. Without proper weight-bearing activity, you're at a high risk for osteopenia which is thin bones, and osteoporosis, which is fragile bones in the future.
10. Exercise gives you some assistance in quitting smoking.
It's interesting. A lot of people don't know that exercise can help decrease the severity of nicotine withdrawal symptoms. That's just with a moderate level of exercise. It seems to activate a receptor in our brain called the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. This receptor is responsible for the signals that calm, heal, and repair, which is crucial to our wellness journey.
11. Exercise help decrease the risk of heart disease.
Hopefully you're, you're hearing enough things that you can really feel inside of you, how crucial it is that we move, that we exercise, knowing that heart disease is one of the top reasons for death worldwide. We are also made aware that we can change that course. Knowing that one of the leading tips you can get for preventing heart diseases is exercise, that should be enough momentum right there to get us moving.
There was a really impressive systematic review of 305 different medical studies. They analyze the participation of almost 350,000 participants. They found that there were no real differences between the people who took medications for heart disease and pre-diabetes prevention compared to those who practice daily physical activity.
For those of you who want to get off your medications or those of you who never want to be on medication, Think how powerful that is, that daily physical exercise is as effective as people who took their medicine. In fact, for people who've already suffered things like a stroke, physical activity was more effective than drug treatments in that category as well. Exercise is the key. I can't stress enough how important exercise is.
12. Exercise can reduce blood sugar levels.
One way we can work on our blood sugar levels is by making ourselves more sensitive to glucose. Simply by exercising, your cells are actually able to see the glucose floating by and use it more easily.
That is why those people who have diabetes or pre-diabetes are told to exercise at least three to five times a week. Physical activity can make a difference for people who are suffering from obesity and insulin resistance or any other metabolic process. And this is not about weight loss.
It is about making your body more sensitive to sugar so it doesn't cause that strong, intense, inflammatory reaction. Then we'll see those gradual natural changes that happen. Simply put exercise is a must. Now, especially in cases where people have issues with diabetes or high insulin levels, exercise and movement are actually what will determine if you stay in good health, or if you fall into the diseases that later can ruin your body. These diseases can wreak havoc with your circulation, causing vision loss and blindness, and nerve damage. We even see amputations and of course, the worst outcome would be death. Start moving your body. It's not only life-changing but also life-saving.
13. Exercise promotes sexual activity.
We know that exercise can boost the sex drive or libido. It does this simply because it stimulates the production of sex hormones several hours after physical activity. One study actually found that the normal routine of a six-minute walk around the house, helps men decrease their erectile dysfunction by 71%. That's tremendous.
Another study with a group of women in their forties observed that they experienced orgasms more frequently when they incorporated strenuous exercises like sprints, boot camp programs, and weight training into their lifestyles.
What's more important really is that by engaging in physical activity, you can protect the heart system. You can improve your circulation, tone your muscles, enhance your flexibility and all of these things of course will go towards improving your sex life.
14. Exercise helps you live a longer, healthier life.
That's all that we're looking for. We're not just looking to live long. We want to live long and healthy. New research was published in 2012 that studied more than 650,000 people and found that 150 minutes of moderate exercise increases your lifespan by three to four years. This was also true for people who are overweight and obese. Again, it's not what your weight is. It's more of what your physical activity is. Any exercise helps them live longer.
In contrast to that, a sedentary lifestyle decreases your lifespan by up to 7.2 years. As mentioned before, it's not just about living longer, it's about living longer and healthier and getting the most out of your life,
Having your body perform like it has the possibility to. All these are in your control. Your body was made to do great things and it can do things that most people have a hard time even wrapping their head around. Simply by adding exercise and movements, your daily life can impact how you feel, how you look, how you perform in your daily activities, and how long you live. Go ahead and get started.
How to get started, and get going?
It truly can change your life. Remember every day is different. Sometimes you may feel totally motivated. You will feel like you could run an ultra marathon and on other days you might just want to stay home on the sofa. That's totally normal. Just don't forget that it's about finding the right balance between exercise and recovery.
Think about why you want to get moving. Print out a list of your physical goals, and what you want your wellness to look like, and post it somewhere where you always look. Keep your eyes on the prize, train your motivation, like a muscle, and you can do it.
Some practical tips about how to motivate yourself. These are just some quick tips that you can really use to begin that habit:
1. Put your workout clothes on.
Don't think about it. Just get dressed. It's the best way to get motivated to work out. You're not going to just plop yourself on the couch after having put your training clothes on. Find something that fits you and makes you feel good when you wear it.
2. Write down how you feel after your workout.
Keep a little journal and write down how you're feeling after training. If you record your workouts, there are a lot of different apps that can do that for you like Fitbits. You can add a note to each activity and that way you can go back and take a look at those awesome feeling when you're just not in the mood.
You'll probably find yourself writing things down, like: ”I felt really good!” or “I'm so happy I finished a workout!” or “I have so much energy and even I feel so strong!” Write down how you feel after that.
3. Variety, variety, variety.
Don't do the same workout all the time. Instead, mix it up. You can go for a run, a walk, or a bike ride. You can do some weight training, or you can do some resistance band training. You can do some high-intensity interval training. Use different exercise app programs. This is a great way to make your workout routine more fun so that you'll stick to it for the long term.
4. Put your workouts on your calendar.
If you put your workouts in your calendar, you can't make excuses. Think of them as appointments and as time for yourself because planning helps you get motivated and motivation is what will keep and sustain us through these new habits.
5. Surround yourself with motivation.
It's also going to be important to hang around or be supported by people that make you feel capable of reaching these goals. It can be helpful to write down your goals and motivational quotes where you can see them every day. Make sure you have that texting buddy or that call buddy, who's going to encourage you when you do your exercises.
6. Everything's easier in a group.
Working out in a group is something that can make a huge difference. It's so great to combine exercise with social time. Your friends can motivate you and help you push through a goal. The internet has made goodness exercising in a group, something we can do, even in the comfort of our own home.
Many of those different programs and those apps have group classes. It’s time to get your friends on board, whether they're near or far, and get yourself moving.
If you’re like most people and think you can be in great shape without any effort or that being fit just comes naturally to some lucky folks, we have news for you - it doesn’t. And that’s okay! You don’t need to feel bad about yourself; everyone has to start somewhere. The important thing is that you do start and that you keep going.
If 14 Whys Exercise is a Must sounds like something you might want to try (and it really is worth it), please head over to our website and schedule a free discovery call with one of our health coaches. They will help you develop a program tailored specifically for your needs and goals. We hope to see you soon!
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DISCLAIMER: The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional