Whether the idea of working up a sweat is your idea of heaven or hell, there’s no hiding from the fact that the benefits of exercise can lead to a happier, healthier you! So, if you need some encouragement to dig out your running shoes or to sign up for that class you’ve always wanted to try, check out these ways exercise can help you feel oh-so-fabulous.
1. Exercise supports your overall health
According to the NHS, regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing long term chronic conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even some cancers. Unfortunately, nowadays, it is all too easy to spend hours sitting down scrolling through your phone, relying on public transport or driving instead of walking, and taking part in little to no exercise. But, if you want to support your overall health – remember, moving is essential! Now, where did I put that gym pass…
2. Exercise may boost your mood
We all know that exercise is good for our bodies, but did you know it can help support our mental health? When you move and increase your heart rate, your brain will release endorphins – chemicals also known as the happy hormone. Endorphins will lift your mood, leaving you feeling great! The benefits of exercise for your mind don’t stop there, though, it can also help relieve tension, bring stress levels down, enhance your sense of wellbeing and provide a well-needed distraction if your mind is prone to wandering.
3. Exercise may help control your weight
Probably one of the most common reasons people exercise is to help manage their weight. You burn calories when you hit the gym or pound the pavement (or participate in any physical activity) and the more intense the activity, the more calories you will burn. If you are trying to lose weight, set yourself specific goals, schedule your workouts and if possible, team up with a buddy to keep each other motivated.
4. Exercise may put the spark back into the bedroom
Have things got a little *ahem* stale between sheets lately? Upping your exercise game may help give you the boost you need to spice things up. Regular movement throughout the day can help improve your energy levels and increase your confidence, which may lead to better sex life. But that’s not all, it is also thought that men who exercise on the regs are less likely to experience erection problems. So, hand’s up – who’s going to get physical, so they can get physical? *wink wink*
5. Exercise may help you sleep better at night
There is little in comparison to the feeling of a good night’s sleep! But if you are struggling to snooze, you may find regular movement throughout the day helps you reach the land of nod quicker. Try not to participate in too vigorous movement close to your bedtime though, if you want to exercise in the evening, try a gentler approach such as yoga or an evening walk.
How much exercise do I need to do?
So, now you know some of the many benefits of exercise, just how much should you be doing? The NHS suggests, to stay healthy, that adults should try and be active every day and aim to do at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week. That’s just over 20 minutes a day. You can do anything from brisk walking to HIIT classes, swimming or even dancing!
Getting into an exercise routine is easier said than done, we know! But we hope you’d now agree that it is one of the best things you can do for yourself. So, to get yourself started, here are a few things to consider:
Start slowly and progress at your own pace
- Everyone’s fitness levels will differ from the next. Consider your fitness goals and create a balanced routine around what you want to achieve.
Build activity in your daily routine
- Finding time to exercise is one of the most common barriers, so work it into your daily life. For example, go for a walk at lunch, take the stairs instead of the lift, or you can even watch your favourite TV programme while on a treadmill instead of the sofa!
Mix up your activities
- Performing the same exercises day after day will soon become boring and your motivation will nosedive. Mix low-intensity workouts with other activities that’ll work different areas of your body, such as swimming or strength training.
Listen to your body
- Don’t think you need to rush out of the gate at full speed to reach your set goals! Slow and steady wins the race to improve your physical health, so remember to let your body recover and enjoy your rest days.
Monitor your progress
- Whatever your exercise goals are, whether it’s to boost your mood or trim your waistline, it’s a great idea to record your progress in any form that you’re comfortable with. Try taking pics or keeping a journal, so you can track your achievements and celebrate each milestone you make!