In my pre-children days I used to exercise loads.
I would do classes at the gym, jog along the seafront and do various workout dvds at home. Then I had Rhys and it all basically stopped. I’ve made more of an effort to start exercising again in the last year or so though.
Time is a huge factor for me, so when I do exercise now it’s with one of my trusty old dvds. The 30 day shred is one of my favourites because the workouts are a little over 20 minutes long, but they are really effective.
I do have to fight with myself to keep at it though. My motivation to do it is nowhere near what it used to be 10 years ago.
If you’re like me, and are looking for that little extra push to get you moving, here are 10 amazing reasons you should fit regular exercise into your life.
1. Exercise reduces stress and anxiety
Studies have shown that all levels of exercise work to reduce our stress and anxiety levels. So even a gentle stroll around the block can help if you’re feeling anxious.
One study in particular though, by Cox et .al 2004 found that people who exercise at a higher intensity level experience the biggest reduction in feelings of anxiety.
What’s interesting though is that exercise of any kind seems to have a long lasting effect on anxiety levels, so you get the benefits long after you’ve finished your gym session.
2. It can help with depression
As well as reducing feelings of stress and anxiety, regular exercise can also help with depression.
Loads of studies have been carried out in this area. A review of 39 of these studies found that, as a general rule, exercise can give moderate relief from depression.
3. You’ll get some self-control
It’s not a long-lasting thing, but studies have shown that short bursts of exercise can give us an immediate boost in self-control.
Worth bearing in mind next time you’re feeling tempted by something that you know you shouldn’t do. See if a quick set of push ups and star jumps gives you the self-control you need to resist it!
4. You’ll sleep better
This is another one that’s not a miracle, immediate cure.
But if you stick with exercise and get active on a regular basis then, studies have shown, you should see an improvement in how much you sleep, and the quality of your sleep.
5. It makes you happier
A study by Thayer et. al 1994 found that exercise was the most effective way of getting a happiness boost.
This is thanks to all the feel-good hormones that our bodies produce when we work out.
6. You can get some relief from migraines
If you suffer with migraines then it might be worth taking a look at this study by Varkey et. al 2011, that found that people who worked out 3 times a week for 3 months, experienced improvements that were equivalent to taking anti-migraine drugs.
7. It can improve your memory
A study by McMorris et al. 2011 found that people’s working memory improves after half an hour of exercise.
So if you’re studying for a test, or working on something that takes a lot of concentration, it could be worth going for a 30 minute run or doing a half hour class at the gym before sitting down to work.
8. You’ll be more productive…
Exercise increases blood flow to our brains, making us more alert and more on the ball. This then naturally leads to us being more productive both at work and at home.
Research carried out with dental health workers found that those who exercised regularly were more productive and had more energy than those who didn’t get as much exercise.
9. …and more creative
As well as boosting productivity, regular exercise can also boost our creativity.
If you’re feeling uninspired then try going for a relatively high intensity workout, which can increase creativity for up to 2 hours afterwards. And if you do something like go for a run outside, you’ll get the added benefits from being out in nature.
10. It can boost your brain power
As well as increasing blood flow to our brains, regular exercise can also go a step further and help new brain cells to grow.
Exercise has also been found to improve executive function, which basically covers all sorts of things like our ability to filter out distractions, make plans, and effectively switch from one task to another.
Now if none of that will motivate you to get moving, I don’t know what will!