You’ve probably been told that you should keep active more than a thousand times over – so many times, in fact, that it can become a bit of a meaningless phrase. We know we should keep active, but we never think too much on the ‘why’.
What does physical activity really do for us?
Well, here’s 10 good reasons to motivate you to exercise, from keeping normal cholesterol levels to how it can help your mental health…
1) Lower Your Blood Pressure
First things first, exercise can help your blood flow better throughout your body by fighting plaque build-up in the arteries. This causes your blood pressure to lower, which is definitely a good thing! There’ll be less strain on your heart, and you’ll lower your risk of heart related illnesses.
2) Reduce Stress
Alleviate the mental strain of stress by getting active. Whether it’s taking a brisk walk or going for a 3-mile run; getting up and out is a great way to increase norepinephrine, which is essential to dealing with the stresses of life.
3) Reduce Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
The increase in cases of Type 2 diabetes is becoming something of a crisis across the globe, and with it come a whole wealth of health risks. Nerve damage, heart disease, kidney damage – the list is long and not very pretty. But, regular exercise can help your body to metabolize glucose, and thus dramatically reduce your risk of getting Type 2 diabetes.
4) Boost Your Happiness
Exercise releases endorphins, which are basically happy chemicals. This means that physical activity scientifically makes you happier – isn’t that amazing? It can be great for those suffering from depression, or even if you’ve just had a bit of a rough day. Activities such as dancing have shown to help immensely!
5) Give Your Immune System a Helping Hand
If you’re prone to infections and illness, you might not be getting enough exercise. We know the last thing you want to do when you have a cold is go for a run, but it could be exactly what you need! Being active helps boost your immune system, which fights illness, and helps your body function as it should.
6) Improve Self-Confidence
Although physical image isn’t the key to happiness, and we should learn to love ourselves no matter how we look, it must be said that exercise does improve self-confidence for a lot of people. Keeping your body healthy and in shape is a great way to improve feelings of self-worth and boost your self-esteem.
7) Promote Normal Cholesterol Levels
Maintain normal cholesterol levels by hitting the running machine or taking a swim in the sea. It’s been proven that regular exercise can lower the harmful types of cholesterol in your body and raise the good stuff that protects your heart. A win-win!
8) Protect Your Mind
As we grow older, our mind begins to degenerate, with the on-set of illnesses like Alzheimer’s taking hold of many people’s lives. Exercise is a great way to help prevent this from happening. By keeping active between the ages of 25 and 45, you can increase chemicals in your brain that protect it from degenerative diseases, improving your memory and focus.
9) Get a Good Night’s Sleep
If it’s sleep you struggle with, more physical activity could be the solution you’ve been searching for. Although, don’t exercise right before you get under the covers – that’ll have the opposite effect! Instead, stay active throughout the day, and you’ll sleep better at night.
10) Calm Your Anxiety
Anxiety can become a strain on the lives of anyone who has it, but keeping active can be a great tool to fight it. It’s all about those endorphins again! These happy-inducing chemicals can actually alleviate the symptoms of anxiety, helping sufferers to cope.
Keeping active certainly isn’t just about burning calories – it’s about ensuring your mind and body remain working harmoniously for years to come.
Plus it seems it doesn’t have to be exhausting sessions at the gym or hours spent pounding the pavement. Researchers, such as Michael Mosley, have investigated that simple activities such as dancing, three 10 minutes of brisk walking per day or just 2 minutes of HIIT (High intensity interval training) per week could be enough. Or perhaps the Art of Japanese Forest Bathing is more your style…
Keep disease at bay, improve your mood, and see an overall improvement in your wellbeing, all from doing a little exercise every day!
No matter what your age, exercise can help you achieve greater physical and mental health. What are you doing to keep active?