We all know that the benefits of regular exercise are tremendous, but for some reason it rarely happens. Life gets busy, and it can be a juggle between work, social life, housework, and all of life’s messy magic. Actually making time to exercise can seem very low on the priority list.
If you feel like you probably aren’t doing enough exercise, you’re definitely not alone. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 59% of Australian women don’t meet the physical activity guidelines.
That is HUGE! Almost 2 in 3 Australian women aren’t sufficiently active!
As a physiotherapist, I truly believe in the power of exercise. Not only is it supremely good for you, it has the power to transform lives.
Having said that, I’m not unfamiliar with the struggle of trying to fit exercise in to your day. Sometimes, it takes some home truths and some serious motivation to encourage you to lace up those shoes, or roll out that yoga mat. So that’s what I’m hoping to provide you with today.
Here are my top 6 reasons that you should exercise regularly:
1. Regular exercise gives you freedom
By far and away, my favourite reason that you should exercise regularly is for the freedom it gives you.
Regular exercise trains your body to have the mobility it needs to get through each and every day. And even more importantly, it can grant you the power to achieve incredible things.
Not only does regular exercise keep your body fit and strong for things like loading groceries, or shifting furniture, it can also give you the option to undertake amazing feats.
If you’re physically fit, any door is open to you. Want to climb the Himalayas? With a bit of training, you can do it! Want to try skiing? You’ve got the fitness to keep getting up when you fall down.
But probably the biggest thing with freedom, is that you maintain your independence. You don’t need to rely on anyone for anything. You have the strength to take care of yourself.
Think as exercise as an investment for future you, as well as something that helps you live with more freedom right now.
2. Exercise makes you happier
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to boost your happy hormones – endorphins!
Endorphins are hormones stored in the pituitary gland in the brain, and they produce a feeling of euphoria after exercise – often what they call “the runner’s high”.
Pair the endorphin release whilst doing an activity that you love, and you’ll get a double whammy! I am a big believer in doing a type of exercise you love – not one that you hate (running – yuck) – as I believe that if you’re enjoying the type of exercise then you’re more likely to go back for more.
Regular exercise can also help to improve low mood in people with clinical depression and anxiety, as well as prevent symptoms of the two disorders.
2. Exercise improves your sleep
Insomnia is on the rise, just as regular exercise is on the decline. Coincidence?
While research on exercise and sleeping habits is quite limited at this stage, the Sleep Foundation states that small studies conducted over the past 10-15 years show promise.
If you are a regular exerciser and suddenly stop exercising, you are more likely to sleep poorly. If you are an insomniac and exercise, you appear more likely to have a good nights sleep.
For me personally, I know that on the days that I exercise, I DEFINITELY sleep better. I sleep deeper and wake feeling much more refreshed.
Even though the evidence might not be there quite yet, it’s worth a try right?
3. Regular exercise helps prevent and manage pain
You know those endorphins I mentioned earlier? They also have a pain relieving effect, helping to reduce pain.
Not only this, the World Health Organisation endorses exercise in the management of a HUGE range of conditions that cause pain. Some of these include osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s disease and chronic low back pain.
For more complex pain, exercise under the guidance of a health professional can be recommended.
4. Exercise reduces your risk of disease
The World Health Organisation states that physical inactivity is one of the leading causes of death and disease worldwide.
In my role as a physio I work with people who have a range of diseases that can be caused by a lack of regular exercise. Some of these include obesity, diabetes and osteoarthritis. Even though these types of diseases can have a genetic component, regular exercise has been proven to reduce your risk of getting either type.
What’s more, is that exercise is also an effective method of treating the symptoms of all these diseases and disorders. So either way, exercise is a helpful tool.
5. Regular exercise gives you more energy
I don’t know about you guys, but on the days that I exercise in the morning I am bouncing with energy. I show up to work, and I have literally had some of the elderly ask me what I’ve been drinking haha.
Exercising regularly only accentuates this. When I am in a good exercise routine, I feel full of beans almost every day. I not only am more productive at work, but I feel like I’m actually a better person.
So there you have it, my top 5 reasons to start regular exercise. So what are you waiting for? Get going!