I love exercise. There are so many great benefits to doing exercise and lots of different types of exercises out there. The key is to find something that you really enjoy and do it for the right reasons. You are more likely to stick to something you enjoy doing to reap the long term benefits, than doing something you don't enjoy. As for me the main exercises I do on a regular basis are; running, circuits, HIIT, CrossFit and Yoga. But I have a passion for trying out new and different exercises, as I said I just LOVE exercise
Everyone has different reasons for why they do exercise. For people new to exercise, their initial reason on most occasions is to lose weight and to tone up. I get this goal very regularly with my clients, but after a few sessions they see the many other benefits of doing exercise and feel much better in themselves. Their initial reason becomes less of a priority as they start to make exercise part of their healthier lifestyle. So here are my top 10 reasons why I exercise (minus to lose weight and tone up):
1. It makes me feel good
Exercise is a funny thing. People love to complain about how much effort it is and that it's 'hard' but once you are in the groove and those endorphins kick in, you start to feel good. Without getting too bogged down with the science, these feel-good hormones get released after about 20 mins of training. There is nothing better than seeing people sweating and smiling when the work out! It just shows how great someone can feel when they exercise. Doing this regularly will give you regular endorphin boots helping to improve your overall mood.
2. It helps with my anxiety
Anxiety disorder is something I have suffered (I hate using this word, more like 'learnt to live') with since I was a teenager. Over the years I have learnt many strategies to keep my anxiety under control and can lead a pretty normal life without it getting in the way. One main thing that has really helped with my anxiety disorder is exercise. As explained above, exercise helps you feel good and helps to boost mood. The issue is with anxiety is there is a tendency to overthink things and get stuck in your mind about certain issues concerning you. Those scary 'what if' scenarios come up. While doing exercise, it really has helped me to concentrate on what I am doing there and now, therefore quieting my mind and getting it to switch off for a moment. After exercise, this usually puts me in a better place with a clearer, more positive mind.
3. It makes me mentally strong
Exercise is something that everyone can do, tailored towards their ability level. It is something that you don't have to be good at, all you have to do is try. Knowing this really helps me mentally. It is not a competition against others and it's not always a competition against yourself; but to know you are doing something productive and positive for yourself is a message I can take away with me and apply to other things in my life.
4. Keeps my body healthy
We only have one body, so give it what it deserves and look after it well. It's no secret that exercise does wonders for the body. Regular exercise helps to keep the muscles and bones strong and functioning. We start to lose muscle mass as early as in our in 30s with the most significant changes happen after out 50s. Losing muscle can put people at more risk of injuries and disabilities which is why it is important to keep our muscle mass up. Exercise can also help build bone density, helping prevent osteoporosis in later life, as well as keeping your heart and lungs healthy.
5. It makes my daily life easier
This is one reason that is always overlooked and I feel a very important one. We all would like an easy, less strenuous life where we don't feel a lack of energy when doing certain every day things; thankfully exercise can help us do that. By taking regular exercise, over time this boosts the amount of energy we have so we are able to do more in our daily life. Also certain activities like carrying shopping or walking up stairs will become less strenuous activities. As we get older, we want to still be able to carry out the routines that we hold now. Later in life, we may find it harder to walk for long periods of time, go up stairs, carry shopping, do housework or even sit on the toilet. By taking part in regular exercise we can hopefully continue with our daily routines for a long time.
6. To see improvements in my fitness
I remember when I first started doing regular exercise and thinking 'this is never going to get easier', then over time with consistent training I really did start to notice I was getting fitter and certain exercises were getting easier. These small achievements really helped me thrive and challenge myself to do more. I first started my fitness journey doing class based exercises like Bodycombat and Zumba. The difficulty level of these classes don't particularly change and by going to these classes once or twice a week consistently, as the weeks went by they really did get easier. I also remember when I would find it hard to run for even 10 minutes, but with time and consistent training I can run regular 5ks and took part in a half marathon. As for gym work and HIIT workouts, I can lift heavier and do more reps in a certain set time. The best way to monitor improvements in your fitness is to have a PT to keep record of your progress or to programme workouts which you can repeat in 4-5 weeks time with the aim of doing more.
7. It is like a type of meditation
People find this weird when I say I find exercise like a form of meditation as many think meditation is about sitting still. However meditation is also about being present and concentrating on the here and now. When you do certain forms of exercise, you dedicate time to being present and to just concentrate what you are doing then and now, that is meditation. By taking this time to yourself, without letting your thoughts run you, it can do wonders for your health and well being.
8. Makes me more productive
Something that a few clients tell me after their training, is not just how good they feel after doing their workout, but how it sets them up for the day. Studies have shown that exercise can help improve the ability to focus and concentrate. After a workout, my mind is in a better place and I feel more productive and motivated to get things done.
9. I have a lot of fun while doing it
This is a big one for me! I really enjoy doing my workout. I look forward to my workout and can't wait to feel good! I love trying new exercises and doing different things. The key is variety and I never get bored. If there is something I don't feel like doing on that day,I will do something else. I would like everyone to enjoy their workout, and if you don't enjoy something then do something else that you do enjoy (also give it a few goes, you might not enjoy it at first, but it might grow on you). There are many different exercises out their which will work the same muscles, so I'm sure you can find something that you enjoy doing.
10. Helps me build confidence
Exercise makes you feel better physically and mentally. It gives me the confidence to overcome obstacles, have a positive outlook on things. I am able to manage my emotions better and more likely to try new things. Exercise exposes me to try; to give things a go even when you think you can't do them. It makes me realise that a have something to positive to gain and the worst that can happen is that I can't do it. I try to hold this message in other aspects of my life, helping me build the confidence to say 'YES' to new things.