New year is traditionally the time when people decide to start doing some regular exercise.
Gym memberships are taken up, which often cost a lot of money, then not used as the initial enthusiasm disappears.
Here are five very good reasons to stick with the plan to do some regular exercise, this year and into the future.
1. Lose weight
This is possibly what you had in mind when you decided to do some exercise. Losing weight usually makes us look better and feel better about our appearance.
Exercise causes your body to adapt so that it uses nutrients more efficiently, reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Plus the metabolic rate is increased, even when you are resting, which burns more calories.
2. Cardiovascular health
The benefits of exercise on your heart and circulation, reducing the risks of heart attacks and strokes, are many.
The heart muscle gets stronger so that it pumps more blood with each beat and doesn’t have to beat so fast, so it slows down. The network of blood vessels in muscles develops so that circulation improves.
In addition, exercise reduces the levels of “bad” cholesterol in the blood that can clog up your arteries.
3. Musculoskeletal health
Better muscle strength and coordination helps your posture (and with it your self image).
In older people this helps to improve balance and reduce the risk of falling, so it’s never too early or too late to work on this.
Weight bearing exercise increases bone density, which is especially important to help women avoid osteoporosis later in life.
4. Digestive health
Exercise stimulates your digestive system, speeding up the progress of the food through the intestines. In combination with a diet containing sufficient fibre this helps to reduce your risk of constipation, haemorrhoids, appendicitis plus inflammatory bowel diseases and cancer.
5. Psychological benefits
Exercise stimulates the production of several of the brain’s “happy chemicals”, such as serotonin and endorphins, leading the natural high you feel afterwards.
This helps you to be more content, be more motivated and to sleep better, which means you get more done and have more energy (not forgetting suppression of the urge to comfort eat, smoke or drink alcohol).
So let’s go!
We are not designed to be couch potatoes and lead a sedentary lifestyle; we are meant to be physically active and we need to schedule some regular exercise to achieve this.
It’s up to you to decide what kind of exercise you are going to do, but it looks like you should do some. However, if you are not a young person, or you have some health problems, don’t forget to check with your doctor first.