Many people see exercise as a chore or something that they must do to lose weight. Only 1 in 5 adults fully meet the physical activity guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities according to the CDC. There are many reasons to consider starting to incorporate an exercise regime into your everyday life besides the benefit of weight loss. It is recommended that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (aka "cardio")and at minimum two days a week of muscle-strengthening training. While it does not matter the type of aerobic physical activity you decide to do, the important thing is that you get started. Start with small little goals, which will eventually add up to a bigger plan.
Physical activity improves heart health by lowering the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The immediate benefits of exercise are improved sleep quality, reduced feelings of anxiety, and reduced blood pressure. For chronic disease prevention, regular exercise decreases the risk of developing dementia (including Alzheimer's) and depression. Evidence demonstrates that exercise also lowers the risk of eight cancers: stomach, lung, esophagus, bladder, breast, and colon! Physical activity benefits everyone regardless of age. Exercise reduces the risk of falling, and improves balance and joint mobility. It also helps prevent weak bones and muscle loss.
Improved Cardiovascular Health:
Regular exercise strengthens the heart and improves circulation, reducing the risk of heart disease.
It helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Exercise plays a crucial role in weight loss and weight maintenance by burning calories and increasing metabolism.
Muscle and Bone Health:
Weight-bearing exercises enhance bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Strength training builds and maintains muscle mass, supporting overall skeletal health.
Enhanced Flexibility and Balance:
Stretching and flexibility exercises improve range of motion and reduce the risk of injuries.
Balance exercises help prevent falls, especially in older adults.
Physical activity stimulates the production of endorphins, reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
It promotes better sleep and boosts overall mood and mental well-being.
Improved Cognitive Function:
Exercise has been linked to better cognitive function, including enhanced memory and concentration.
It may reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases.
Boosted Immune System:
Regular moderate exercise can enhance the immune system, reducing the risk of illnesses and infections.
Regular physical activity can improve the quality and duration of sleep.
Group exercises or team sports provide opportunities for social interaction and can contribute to a sense of community.
Increased Energy Levels:
Regular physical activity boosts energy levels and reduces feelings of fatigue.
Improved Self-Esteem and Body Image:
Achieving fitness goals and feeling physically fit can positively impact self-esteem and body image.
Reduced Risk of Chronic Diseases:
Regular exercise is associated with a lower risk of various chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and metabolic syndrome.
After reading all the benefits of starting an exercise routine, have you considered incorporating it into your everyday lifestyle? If so, first think about what your goals are. Think about what you are trying to accomplish. Are you trying to tone and gain muscle, lose weight, maybe get off your blood pressure medications? I recommend you write down your goals and be very concise on what you're trying to achieve. Set yourself up for success by planning your workouts ahead of time. Find a time that works best for you and stick to it. Think of this as an appointment with yourself for self-care. Exercising is a form of self-care and self-love; it is not a punishment.
I highly recommend having an accountability partner for support. You're likely to work out if you have someone to work out with or check on you frequently regarding your exercise routine. My friends and I often send each other videos or selfies after working out. We also follow each other on our Apple watch to ensure we all close our rings. Accountability matters, and it makes a world of difference. Lastly, consider keeping a journal of your weight, fitness activities, and caloric intake. With apps like myfitnesspal, it is so easy to keep track of all of these metrics.