Depending on your personality and approach to it, exercise is likely to inspire one of two responses:
- Enthusiasm – not only about exercising but also about how you feel afterwards; or
- Reluctance – to get off the couch, possibly accompanied by quite loud moans.
If you fall into camp number 1, you’ll be happy to hear that you’re totally on the right track. If you fall into camp number 2 though, it may be time to reconsider your attitude. There are so many benefits to exercise; we almost can’t afford not to do it:
- It gets your heart and lungs working, and boosts physical energy as more oxygen is delivered around the body.
- It stabilises cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, helps you sleep better and decreases the risk of many other health problems.
- It promotes the production of endorphins, the ‘feel good’ hormone, so you feel happier, more relaxed and better about yourself in general.
- It gives your mind a time-out as you concentrate on physical activity, which reduces stress and promotes creativity.
OK, but I don’t like gyms
Even if you’re not particularly athletic or co-ordinated, or the gym really isn’t for you, there is such a myriad of options out there that you’re bound to find something you enjoy. Here are some alternative ways to get your body moving:
- Take a walk in nature. A stroll through a forest, park or green belt also gets you out into the (hopefully) fresh air, breathing in all that wonderful energy from nature.
- Dance your heart out. Join a zumba or funk class; boogie the night away at a club or dance in the privacy of your bedroom, preferably singing at the same time.
- Take to the pole. A pole workout is so much more than a tease, it’s great fun, sweat-inducing and builds great overall strength as well as confidence!
- Do mini-exercise sessions. Walk wherever it’s safe and feasible to do so, rather than driving or taking public transport, and take the stairs rather than the lift.
How much exercise do I need?
For general fitness, aim for about 30 minutes of some kind of exercise each day. If you want to lose weight or train for something specific, you may need to do more and possibly also consider consulting an expert on the best way to go about it. The important thing though is to get moving!
Image credit 1 – zumba: Edson Hong via Flickr
Image credit 2 – girl in park: Alex Groundwater via Flickr