Regular exercise is an essential pillar of a healthy lifestyle. Whether you are trying to lose weight, improve your overall health, or just feel better, regular exercise can help you achieve your goals and more. In this article, we will explore the benefits of regular exercise and how it can positively impact your physical and mental health.
Physical Health Benefits
There are a number of benefits to regular exercising. We shall see some of them in this section.
1. Weight Management.
Engaging in regular exercises can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight by burning off excess calories in the fat stores of the body during certain High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and when you add other types of exercises like weight lifting, you will also be increasing your lean muscle mass. This means you can lose weight and gain muscle mass just by exercising regularly. Having more muscle mass has also been linked to longevity and increased agility in old age. Exercising will also boost your metabolism, which will help you expend more calories throughout the day. This very benefit of exercising is highly sought after especially by many during summer.
2. Reduced Risk of Chronic Diseases.
Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, hypertension, and certain types of cancer. The risk for some types of cancer such as colon cancer, prostate, and breast cancer has been seen to be reduced by exercising. It can also help manage symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
3. Improved Cardiovascular Health.
Regular exercise can improve cardiovascular health by strengthening the heart muscle and reducing the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other cardiovascular diseases. The process of raising heart rates during exercises trains the heart muscles to be stronger and more efficient in their role to power the circulation of blood around the body. This delivers oxygen faster, enhances nutrient absorption, and works to get rid of every plaque that may be obstructing the arteries.
4. Increased Strength and Endurance.
Regular exercise can help you build strength and endurance. This is a very commendable benefit of exercising. It strengthens you and makes you less feeble in body and mind. You will see yourself grow in strength, and you can now do the things you once were unable to physically do. Exercising will improve your ability to perform daily activities and reduce the risk of injuries.
Exercise Benefits in Mental Health
1. Reduced Stress and Anxiety
Regular exercise has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels by releasing endorphins, which are natural mood-boosting chemicals in the brain. It is safe to recommend exercises for a person suffering from any form of mental health or depression.
2. Improved Sleep Quality
I used to struggle with sleep at some point in my adult life until I started exercising. Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. It can also improve the quality of your sleep, which can leave you feeling more refreshed and energized during the day. You will feel less cranky and tired upon waking up in the morning.
3. Improved Cognitive Function
Regular exercise can improve cognitive function by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Studies have revealed how exercising can improve attention span, memory, and decision-making abilities.
4. Improved Mood.
The principle of exercising improving your mood is very fascinating. Exercise releases endorphins which are a sensory hormone made in the brain, and inversely reduces levels of cortisol, another hormone that is associated with stress.
Tips for Getting Started with Regular Exercise
1. Choose an activity that you enjoy.
Whether it's walking, running, swimming, or cycling, choose an activity that you enjoy and that fits your lifestyle. You can also decide to play your favourite sport instead of just watching it. You can join a dance or Zumba class too. It works magic.
2. Start slow.
If you have never engaged in any form of exercise before, or it has been a while since you exercised, I will recommend that you start slowly. Take a lesson, or a movement at a time. Don’t be afraid or shy to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts as you are confident in your progress over time.
3. Set realistic goals.
Set realistic goals for yourself and track your progress. You can start by exercising three times a week. Pick days that will be very convenient for you, and show up for yourself. This can help you stay motivated, be at your own pace, and be focused.
4. Make exercising a habit.
The success and benefits of exercising will only come when you have made it a habit. No one wins an Olympics just by training once. Neither does anyone become so good at playing a musical instrument after a 1-hour class regardless of how intense it is. You need consistency. That is what births the habit. Make exercise a regular part of your routine by scheduling it into your calendar and always show up when the reminder pops. Stick to the plan.
Regular exercise has numerous physical and mental health benefits, including weight management, reduced risk of chronic diseases, improved cardiovascular health, reduced stress and anxiety, improved sleep, improved cognitive function, and improved mood. One of the fastest ways to improve your overall well-being and health is to make exercising a major part of you, and a core of your lifestyle. Remember to choose an activity you enjoy. A sport you love or a favourite dance class. Start slow, set realistic goals, and make it a habit.