In the words of the great Tom Jones, “Exercise. What is it good for? Absolutely everything.” That’s how it goes right? Sometimes I muddle my words up when there’s hip thrusting involved. So this post is about hip thrusting. No, exercise. It’s about exercise. How good is exercise. Seriously?!
So good, I made it my goal for January. Which, by the way, I achieved (phew)!
I know I’m a health professional and I’m meant to have the benefits of exercise down pat – I talk to clients about that all the time. And I’m confident talking about it, because the evidence is so clear.
But the actual benefits day to day is what really rocks my socks.
Sure I could tell you about the clinical stuff – like it reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease, helps boost the “healthy” cholesterol in your body and lowers triglyceride (unhealthy type of blood fat), lowers blood pressure, helps you sleep better, helps prevent or manage diabetes and lower average blood glucose level regardless of your weight….
….helps prevent or manage stroke, metabolic syndrome, certain types of cancer, arthritis and falls, improve your balance, maintain strong healthy bones and keep your joints well nourished and supple….but you’re probably not as interested in the clinical stuff…so I won’t even mention it…
Again, it’s the benefits you notice straight away in day to day life that keeps me wanting more. I’ve been walking around in a bit of a fog the last few weeks after moving house two weeks ago and have had serious blog block as a result. I’ve also not been to the gym at all this past week…until yesterday morning before work. And it was ace. Like really ace. Why was it so ace? Some of the benefits below might help explain:
- Makes you feel good – regular exercise boosts production of feel-good chemicals in the brain, including serotonin and endorphins, as well as improving sleep and increasing energy. Everyone feels better with some good sleep and an energy boost! Some more good news is that regular exercise can significantly reduce mild to moderate depression and help manage anxiety.
- Helps you look good! – Once you’re past the waddle stage post squat/lunge workout, the confident posture and knowing your muscles are toned, strong and capable is totally worth not being able to sit down for a little bit. I don’t just mean you physically look good, but feeling fitter and stronger and knowing you’re doing something to improve your health is a great colour on you, and other people will notice too.
- Be great at your job – Have you ever looked around the workplace and noticed that often the most physically active of your colleagues are also the most highly functioning? The ones that ride to work, get out for a walk in their lunch break or play sport after work are usually the high performers too. According to the World Health Organisation, workplace physical activity programs can increase productivity by up to 52%! Regular physical activity could be the key to the next promotion!
- Stress relief – this is great if every now and then you want to mentally roundhouse kick an annoying colleague (be honest, we all get annoyed at our peers sometimes….)
- Have fun and be social – Whether it’s catching up with old friends or making new ones, exercise can be a great way to stay socially connected, and potentially meet your next great love! I have a friend who met her current boyfriend at Touch Footy, and I love that story. They met over his forward pass at her (sport related pun intended, and unashamedly smug about it).
- Boost creativity – Philosopher and author Henry Thoreau famously claimed that his thoughts began to flow “the moment my legs begin to move”, and he’s not alone. Research has shown that regular exercise can increase creativity. This is great news for any budding artists, writers and fellow bloggers. It certainly helped lift my blog fog!
- Improve memory – I forget why. Jokes! Studies show that regular aerobic exercise (the kind that makes you huff and puff) actually increases the part of the brain involved in memory and learning. I think this might be one of my fave benefits….as someone who forgets where their keys/handbag/wallet is on a regular basis (too regular)
OK, so we’ve well and truly established why we should exercise. It’s a no-brainer right? It’s the doing part that can trip us up. So let’s move on to the what, when and how.……