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