If you are reading this, you already know that exercise is important and something that you should probably be doing more of. However, even the most ardent exerciser sometimes loses motivation for working out.
When it comes to working out, it’s all too easy to focus on the here and now and forget about the many long-term benefits of regular exercise so, in an effort to keep you motivated over the coming weeks and months, here are TEN ways in which working out will change your life!
1. Your mood will improve
Many people struggle through life feeling like the weight of the world is on their shoulders. Exercise, because it increases feel-good endorphin production, helps alleviate stress, improves sleep and improves self-image, can help lift your mood and keep depression from your door.
2. Your bones will thank you
As we age, our bones become less dense and more brittle – a process called osteopenia. In some cases, osteopenia and lead to osteoporosis which is characterized by porous, weak bones that are prone to fracture. Exercise can slow down and even reverse osteopenia and osteoporosis which is vital if you want to remain active and live independently in your golden years.
3. More muscle, more strength
Exercise strengthens your muscles and slows age-related muscle loss. Weak, small muscles make even everyday tasks such as walking more difficult than they should be. If you increase muscle strength, you will be far better equipped to perform even strenuous tasks like taking out the garbage or doing jobs around your house. Lack of strength could mean that you are unable to generate enough force to get out of bed or out of your chair. Regular workouts will ensure you have the muscle power you need to live an independent and productive life.
4. Increased energy levels
It’s one of life’s ironies that working out increases your energy levels and yet, many people say they don’t have the energy to work out! Being fit and healthy means that your body will function optimally and also you’ll have muscle power and stamina in reserve for when the going gets tough. For example, if you walk three miles a day, you’ll find walking around the grocery store easy. Likewise, if you can lift 50 lbs. in the gym, carrying your groceries or a suitcase will present no real challenge.
5. You’ll develop a “can do” attitude
When you start exercising and are unfit, the whole process of working out can feel daunting. But, little by little, your body adapts and soon you are able to do things that, previously, you thought were impossible. As a result, instead of barriers, you’ll see challenges to be overcome, instead of obstacles, you’ll see opportunities to test your mettle. Exercise really does help you to develop a “can do” attitude.
6. Your memory will improve
Research suggests that regular exercisers have better memory and experience less age-related memory loss compared to non-exercisers. Exercise is a skill and skills have to be learnt. Just like your muscles, your brain works on a “use it or lose it” principle and anything that stimulates new memories is going to help strengthen your grey-matter. And all that freshly oxygenated blood pumping around your body won’t hurt either!
7. Less stress
Of all the diseases that plague modern man, a large percentage can be traced back to an inability to cope with stress. Stress elevates your blood pressure, increases blood glucose, interferes with sleep, causes muscle tension, encourages bad habits like smoking or drinking…stress is a major health risk. However, exercise is a great stress reliever and can help stop stress in its tracks. Less stress means better health – period.
8. Fewer days off work
Exercisers are generally healthier than non-exercisers and this is reflected in the average number of sick days that exercisers and no-exercisers take. Personally, I can count the number of times I have been ill in the last ten years on the fingers of one hand and I put this down to the combination of regular exercise and a healthy diet. Even during cold and flu season, I normally escape unscathed. Who wants to waste their days feeling Ill? I know I don’t and regular exercise means you won’t have to either.
9. Better sleep
Many adults are very bad sleepers and start each and every day sleep-deprived. Too little sleep can make life miserable and affect virtually every aspect of your day. Exercisers are generally better sleepers which means more energy, more productivity and better mood. Exercise is a natural sleep aid.
10. More money in your pocket
Fewer doctors’ visits, cheaper medical and health insurance, fewer medical bills, increased productivity at work, fewer days off sick…being fit and healthy can help you save or even make more money and while money doesn’t necessarily make you happy, having a little more certainly won’t make you sad!
The workout you do today is, of course, beneficial but it’s the long term benefits of exercise that are really worth shouting about. The benefits of exercise are cumulative so think of your workouts as investments in your future rather than just for instant gratification.