I know I am not alone when I start each January recommitting to exercise. Although I do practice almost daily ansana, it is important for me to make sure I do some cardio and resistance training during the week as well.
For now I want to share some great benefits to exercising regularly. You might already know some or all of these but it helps to see things written out. I like to refer to this list on days I don’t feel like exercising, I am sure at least one of you can relate to that ;) The key with exercise, as with most things in life, is to start small in order to build long-term consistency. Also, get clear on why you want to exercise, what are the benefits you want to receive? Is it to have more energy? Fit into those old jeans? Look younger? Reduce anxiety or depression? I find it helps motivate me to know why I am doing something and what I want to get out of it. This helps me stay on track when I get really busy or just don’t want to do it!
Here we go, 10 really good reasons to exercise:
1. It keeps you YOUNG! Workouts such as brisk walking or cycling boost the amount of oxygen consumed during exercise. Improving your aerobic capacity by just 15-25 percent would be like shaving 10-20 years off of your age. Aerobic exercise many also stimulate the growth of new brain cells in older adults.
2. Reduce infections. Moderate workouts temporarily rev-up the immune system by increasing the aggressiveness or capacity of immune cells. That could be related to why people who exercise on a regular basis catch fewer colds.
3. Prevent heart attacks. Exercise has been shown to raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol and lower blood pressure. New research indicates that it reduces arterial inflammation which is another risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.
4. Ease asthma. New evidence shows that upper-body and breathing exercises can reduce the need to unse and inhaler in mild cases of asthma.
5. Control blood sugar. This is a huge one for many people. Regular exercise helps to maintain a healthy blood-sugar level by increasing the cells sensitivity to insulin and by controlling weight.
6. Get your stress under control. Regular aerobic exercise lowers levels of stress hormones. In some people it can help relieve depression as effectively as antidepressants.
7. Prolong life. Being active cuts the risk of premature death by about 50 percent in men and women.
8. It makes you happy! Exercising causes the body to produce endorphins, chemicals that can help a person to feel more peaceful and happy. It can also have a huge impact on your self-esteem by giving you the feeling of accomplishment.
9. Rest well. Exercising regularly can help many people fall asleep faster and stay in a deep sleep longer. In order to have steady energy throughout the day and mental clarity we need to get good sleep on a regular basis. Typical recommendations for length of time sleeping are anywhere from 8-10 hours, some people need more, sone less.
10. Prevent osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercise (such as walking, jogging, stair climbing, dancing, or lifting weights) strengthens bone formation and helps prevent osteoporosis, bone loss which is mostly seen in women after menopause.
>>sources, Consumer Reports 2010, The Journal of the American Medical Association, and The New England Journal of Medicine.