…..that have absolutely nothing to do with your bathroom scale! That’s right. There are so many more reasons to exercise than just losing weight. In fact, for many people, these other reasons are far more important than weight. Many people still believe the only reason to exercise is to lose weight. Therefore, if a person can maintain their weight without exercise, they mistakenly believe there’s no need for it. Still others are overweight and have no desire to exercise because they’ve come to accept their weight because exercise is just too much work just to shed pounds. While exercise does help you shed excess weight, it can do so much more.
Contrary to what some people believe, there are many more benefits to exercise than just losing weight. Furthermore, even those without a weight problem need to exercise regularly. Cardiovascular exercise strengthens the heart and lungs, which we all have, regardless of whether we are trim or not-so-trim. Resistance training strengthens our muscles and bones. We all lose muscle and bone mass as we age unless we do something to stop it, so even if a person is at a healthy weight, they need to exercise regularly to strengthen their muscles and bones. Flexibility and brain health are also important for everyone. Continue reading to find out how exercise helps with overall well-being, and feel free to share this article with anyone you feel might benefit from this information.
A common complaint I hear from people is that they don’t have the energy to exercise. Confused expressions follow as I explain that exercise increases the amount of energy you have. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true. The first step is always the hardest, so begin today to lay out your clothes and shoes for the gym, and plan it into your schedule. You’ll never have time; you must MAKE time. One of my favorite quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson applies here, “Do the thing, and you will have the power.” You must do it to find out for yourself. Want more power? You must exercise to get it. Aaaaaand GO!
Ever feel stressed out? Join the club. Stress is a normal part of life from which none of us are exempt. Exercise to the rescue! Exercise elevates your mood by causing the body to release endorphins which are the body’s natural pain killers. It also reduces the body’s level of stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. While there are so many things that are out of our control which contribute to stress in our lives, our ability to exercise is within our control.
Start thinking today how you will incorporate exercise into your schedule. Remember, it doesn’t have to be all at once. You can spread it out over the course of your day. You may also have to be flexible during your week knowing that you may not be able to exercise at the same time every day. Look at your schedule each week, and make sure you have your workouts planned, even if that means getting up extra early. If you manage your schedule in such a way that includes regular exercise, you will be able to better manage your stress.
Exercise improves sleep because it reduces tension and anxiety. We’ve all had those nights when we just couldn’t turn our brains off. Exercise can help with this. Not only does exercise cause the body to release feel good and anti-stress hormones that help the body to relax in preparation for sleep, it also makes the body tired. Our bodies have a natural rhythm, and physical work helps to keep it in balance. So if you want to have a great night’s sleep, make sure you have a great day at the gym.
Are you having more of those moments when you walk into a room and forget why you’re there? Again, exercise can help with that. Exercise boosts your brain power and memory. Exercise causes the release of a protein known as brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which enhances mental ability and alleviates depression and anxiety. Exercise also improves blood flow in the brain and increases resistance to injury. It also helps an area of the brain responsible for memory called the hippocampus which changes as we age. However, studies show that people who exercise regularly have less brain tissue loss than sedentary individuals and perform better on cognitive and memory tests. No matter our age, I think we can all agree that this is one benefit of exercise that we all want. Now where’d I put my keys…….
Exercise improves strength, flexibility, and coordination. No matter how old you are, you can get stronger, more flexible, and improve your coordination. These things only diminish with age if you stop doing the things that improve them. These things are action dependent, not age dependent. As the saying goes, “Age is just a number!” Keep working every day toward becoming stronger, more flexible, and more coordinated. Never stop moving!
I don’t know about you, but a rocking chair has never been part of my plan for getting older. I plan to work and travel until I drop, and I know I need to be healthy to make my dream a reality. Exercise helps us to live stronger, longer because it also decreases our risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, etc. While many people are living longer as a result of modern drugs and procedures, they are not necessarily living stronger, better lives. In many cases, they are prolonging lives plagued with sickness and disease and living on the sidelines, not being able to fully participate. Daily exercise, along with a healthy diet, can keep those lifestyle diseases at bay. Many people have, with their doctor’s supervision, successfully reversed their chronic diseases, get off medications, and live a better life without dependency on prescription drugs. Diet and exercise are the best medicines. Have you had a healthy dose today?
It’s never too late to start exercising regularly, and there is no age at which you should stop. Exercise should be a regular part of everyone’s daily routine, even if they are slim and trim. The rules are the same for all of us. We all need to eat right, and we all need daily exercise. As this article has expressed, exercise is not just about the number on the scale. There are so many other things at play in the body that regular exercise can improve. We all need to be getting 150 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise each week along with 2-3 days of resistance training and incorporating flexibility into those workouts. As I said earlier, no one has the time. We must make time. Do it for you. Do it so you can live your best life possible. Do it to be stronger, smarter, and happier. Commit to change, Challenge mind and body. Create a new paradigm. Conquer ANYTHING!