We all know there are many benefits of exercise, though over the years we have mostly focused on those that can lead to burning fat, losing weight or gaining muscle. Now of course these are great benefits of exercise, however because the list of the benefits of exercise are so many and so varied, we also need to look at some of the other areas that exercise can benefit us.
I started in the health and fitness industry nearly three decades ago, so I consider myself privileged to have a unique ability to see all of the trends that come and go. I’ve seen and helped thousands of people to achieve their goals, and have an in-depth understanding of many of the underlying belief systems that surround us in regards to health, fitness and wellness.
Though there are many benefits of exercise, it is often looked upon negatively, as a chore and as something that HAS to be done, as opposed to something that we enjoy doing.
There are an enormous amount of reasons we follow these thought patterns, here are just a few.
Many people have had negative experiences with exercise earlier in life and without knowing it, a subconscious belief can hold us back from achieving our gaols.
Many people have not found the exercise that is right for them. After a while, if it doesn’t become more enjoyable, it can become mundane and something that we dread as opposed to something we look forward to going to. Of course we won’t always feel like doing our exercise, even when we love it, and life will always throw up challenges that we have to work around, however if we don’t enjoy the exercise we have chosen to achieve our goal or be involved in, it becomes far too difficult to stick to a consistent plan.
Many people have been taught to focus on the longer term results that come after 12 weeks of attending an exercise plan. If you have started a fitness plan or joined a gym, you may have heard “you will see results in 12 weeks” or “you won’t really see anything until you hit the 12 week mark”.
Now while there is merit to this, and it will take around 12 weeks to see noticeable changes in your aesthetics, the results from exercise occur immediately, we have just been taught to look in the wrong direction. We get immediate results from exercise, from an increase in oxygen moving around our body, increased energy, feeling proud of ourselves, being more mentally clear, feeling more focused and a feeling of happiness as endorphins run through our body.
These benefits of exercise happen immediately and if we focus on them, we are much more inclined to continue in a consistent and habit forming manner. If we focus on feeling this good each time we move, why wouldn’t we want to continue?
Many people have feelings about themselves or sabotage patterns that stop a new or positive habit from forming before it can even start. (This needs an entire blog of its own), so getting to the underlying beliefs and doing the inner work to remove any blocks that prevent you from achieving your goals, being your best and creating the life you want is essential to long term success.
How your body benefits from exercise
There is much more to what I am about to say below, however here are some of the not always noticed, yet important ways in which we benefit from exercise.
Many ailments of the musculoskeletal kind, are either helped greatly or remedied completely with the correctly prescribed movement and exercise plan.
Chronically bad backs are now becoming the norm, shoulder injuries, knee issues, headaches caused by muscle tension and incorrect posture are also among what is becoming “normal” these days. Strong, healthy muscles, provide support for our skeleton, which as you know, has a big job each day, to just hold us in the sitting position in front of the computer.
If our body is not strong enough to hold our muscles and body in a strong posture that supports us all day, many of us will find themselves with constant headaches, back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain and referred pain to other areas. Poor posture at work is a well known contributor to chronic headaches and back pain.
Research shows “More than 1 in 4 working adults report current back pain“. While this can be both work – related and non-work related, back pain can contribute to absenteeism, and a lack of engagement and productivity , among having a negative impact on numerous other areas, within both work and home life. Chronic pain is a very real challenge in our community and it can impact people in a number of ways. A problem that we must find better solutions for.
Many of us have had to alter what we do on a daily basis because of injuries, pain or our inability to complete a task due to a weakness in our body and its ability to complete a function or task.
Many injuries need rehab , after a trained physio, chiro or specialist has been seen. Many injuries, especially those of the postural kind, can be avoided all together by ensuring we use our body and move as it was intended and in a way that is enjoyable to us.
Having strong muscles also means our bones need to be strong to hold them. One of the many reasons we have so many bone density issues in our community now days is that we don’t have the muscle strength for our bones.
They become weak and brittle. Not needing to be strong for any reason.
How strong do bones need to be for sitting at a desk all day??
The lymph system is the waste system of our body. It is moved around our body, getting rid of waste by movement.
It isn’t pumped around the body via the heart as our blood is, it is only pumped by movement. Either via movement yourself or via Lymphatic Drainage massage.
Imagine having your garbage trucks come around and pick up the waste every month, instead of every 2 days.
The build has immediate and long term impacts. (we will speak about these at a later date)
We all know how important it is for our blood to be circulated around our body.
If it wasn’t we would die right!?……right!
Circulation also provides us with a rich supply of oxygen and nutrients vital for our organs, muscles and body to function.
It helps skin tone, gives us energy and allows out body to utilise the nutrients we put in more efficiently.
Not only does movement release endorphins as we have heard over and over, but all of the above helps to improve our mood also.
Movement helps our body to utilise nutrients, provide oxygen and complete many of its vital functions.
Many of these vital functions include chemical reactions that provide us with chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine for example.
These chemicals and the reactions of these chemicals are so important for our mood and level of happiness (again, there is much more to it, which we will discuss in further blogs).
There is no secret that movement boosts energy.
Due to the endorphins, an increased rate of circulation, an increased respiratory rate and therefore rate of oxygen flowing around the body, our energy immediately increases after movement.
After a period of consistent movement, our body becomes more efficient at utilising nutrients, sending oxygen around our body and functioning at a higher level.
This in itself increases our energy throughout the day.
Movement also provides us with a better quality of sleep. It assists our circadian rhythms, helps to rid our body of negative energy that has not been used and assists us in removing the tension and stress from our body and mind.
Along with all of the benefits mentioned above, there is no wonder those who move sleep better.
Having dealt with insomnia myself, wouldn’t it be worth moving, even for the reason of better sleep. We all know what a difference a good quality of sleep is to our life!
Movement is about health, increasing body functions, feeling great and having a quality of life like no other! The bonus is we often change shape, lose fat and tone up as a result!
If you are unsure about which movement to try, seek help from a professional who will design a program for your health level, that not only gets your results, but that ensures you have fun doing it. You can of course always start with a walk around the block, breathe in some air and smell the roses!!
Health & Happiness