Your health is your most important asset, and as you may already know, exercise is so beneficial for your physical, mental and psychological wellbeing. You don’t have to be the fittest, the strongest or the best to reap the benefits. Almost anyone can engage in some form of exercise. Just make sure that your exercise regime lines up with your age, abilities and health status.
Here are 8 of my top reasons to grab your workout gear, lace up those shoes and start exercising:
1 It’s good for your heart and lungs
Sweat a little bit now, and your heart and lungs will thank you for it later! Regular exercise improves your aerobic capacity, which is your heart and lungs’ ability to get oxygen from the air to your tissues. As we age, we lose aerobic power, but regular exercise slows this loss.
Regular exercise also prevents high blood pressure, hypertension and, therefore, heart disease. It widens your arteries, allowing your blood to flow more freely and reducing your blood pressure. Your heart, because it’s also a muscle, gets a workout whenever you do! A stronger heart muscle means it’s better at pumping blood, which also reduces blood pressure.
Although exercise can't change the ageing of your lung tissues, it can improve your breathing. Regular workouts can strengthen your lungs and improve your breathing capacity. Exercise also improves oxygen’s effectiveness in permeating your body’s cells. So while others are huffing and puffing, you won’t have to stop to catch your breath!
2 It prevents disease and chronic conditions
Regular exercise strengthens your immune system – which should be top priority for everyone in the world right now! Your immune system plays a key role in protecting you from infection and other toxins. Exercise also lowers your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and improves your body’s ability to metabolise glucose, which is key in preventing this disease.
Regular physical activity also reduces the risk of the most common chronic illness in older adults - arthritis. Stretching and flexibility training, like yoga or Tai Chi, can increase the range of movement in your joints. Rebounding is also a great option, because it is low-impact, meaning that it won’t strain your joints.
3 It makes you stronger
Exercise strengthens not only your muscles, but also your bones! Regular workouts are key to maintaining your bone density, as our bones become thinner and weaker as we age. Resistance training is particularly helpful in keeping your muscles and bones strong and healthy. Muscle strength also helps you to maintain your aerobic fitness and a health and lean body mass.
4 It supports a healthy weight
Regular exercise can help you lose weight by reducing your body fat, or gain weight by increasing your muscle mass. This is because muscle weighs more than fat!
Overweight people can shed some unwanted kilos through a combination of cardio and weight training, while underweight people can gain weight with, a regular strength-training programme. However, it’s important to consult with a professional regarding your body’s needs in order to determine the best exercise programme for you.
The more you exercise, the faster your metabolism, so it’s easier to keep body fat off once you start exercising regularly.
5 You’ll have more energy
Although in the early morning or late afternoon exercise may feel like the last thing you want to do, once your workouts become a daily part of your routine, they, along with the rest of your daily activities, will become less tiresome.
All your hard work and discipline will eventually pay off. When your body is functioning optimally, you’ll have more oxygen to fuel your body. This means fewer aches and pains, greater strength and less fatigue! All of this means that going about your daily activities will be 10 times easier when you’re fit.
6 It promotes better sleep
Although training right before bed isn’t ideal (as exercise can act as a stimulant), physical exertion throughout the day will definitely help you sleep better. This is because it regulates your body’s circadian rhythms, which improves your sleep quality. Better sleep also greatly improves your overall health, so it’s definitely a win-win situation!
7 It’s great for your mental health
Regular exercise can hugely improve your mood, and even lower your risk of depression. Exercise is actually the top behavioural treatment for depression! The endorphins that kick in about 20 minutes after a good training session are a natural mood booster.
Exercise can also help to ease stress and anxiety. This is also linked to the endorphin release, but also the mindfulness of actually working out, because it refocuses your attention from your daily stresses. Your workout can act as a stress break for your brain – a good sweat session can help you gain a fresh perspective.
The right kind of exercise for you can be incredibly fun! Exercise may seem difficult and boring if you haven’t found the right kind of exercise for your personality. However, it’s actually possible to enjoy yourself while your body works hard. Once you get to that point, exercise will enrich your quality of life, increase your self-confidence and make you happier overall.
To find out which type of exercise suits you best, I suggest taking a DNA Sport Test as your result can help you determine the best way to maximise sporting potential, prevent injury and optimise recovery to reach peak levels of conditioning.
8 It improves cognition
Exercise can boost your memory and lower your risk of developing dementia. Regular physical activity benefits the neurons in the memory areas of your brain. The good news is that you don’t even have to exert yourself that much to boost your memory – a moderate walk does wonders! The improved blood flow throughout your body as a result of regular exercise, also lowers your chances of developing dementia due to cardiovascular illness. It's truly a win-win!