Until we learn to love exercise for its own sake, it can be difficult to stay motivated, especially on those cold winter’s mornings. Understanding the reasons behind why you are exercising in the first place, should help keep you going through those times when you moan, “Is this really for me?”
So why do we exercise and why should we keep doing more of it?
1. Burn those calories
As your body becomes more active, so it needs more energy. Your metabolic functions literally burn away the calories you have consumed and, if you’re doing it right, those calories you have stored on the hips too.
2. Feeling good
Physical activity reduces stress and stimulates your endorphins – nature’s pain-killer, relaxant and an all-round feel-good neurotransmitter. It also brings your serotonin and norepinephrine levels back into balance – these are two other neurotransmitters that play a vital role in how you respond to stress and other daily events. Also, once those extra kilos start melting away and your body starts to move well and look good, that’s a tonic in itself.
3. More heart
Your heart is also a muscle and the more you engage in physical exertion, the harder it works and the stronger it gets. This means that as it gets stronger, the easier it is to get vital oxygen and nutrients to anywhere they are required in the body, resulting in better overall health and vitality. Exercise also helps regulate your blood-pressure by increasing the concentration of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol – the “good” cholesterol – and decreasing the concentration of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol – the “bad” cholesterol – in your blood.
4. Better breathing
Oxygen is vital to sustain life and the more you have, the healthier you become. Getting a good, strong flow of oxygen to every cell in your body, ensures all the functions of your body work at optimum levels – detoxing, repairing and growing. What does this mean? If you push the right amount of oxygen through your body, you’ll experience higher energy levels, clearer thinking, strong immune and digestive systems and even better looking hair, skin and nails.
5. Stronger immunity
Exercise isn’t just a prescription for weight-loss; it’s a prescription for longevity too. Improved circulation through regular exercise will boost your lymphatic system. The lymph system is a network of vessels and nodes around the body responsible for defence against infection and disease. A lymphatic system in good condition will ensure regular, natural detoxing of unwanted bacteria and other nasties – and the more you move, the livelier it becomes. If your lymph system becomes sluggish, you may experience chronic fatigue, water retention and a host of other infections.
6. Sleep tight
Have you ever woken up still feeling drained and as though you could still do with a whole weekend in bed? Studies have shown that there is a positive link between being physically active and being able to sleep well. Obesity and excessive stress are known causes of insomnia and fatigue and regular exercise helps combat both.