In this day and age, it’s often difficult to separate exercise and weight loss. All too often, we hear all about the benefits of exercise o...

Benefits of Exercise

In this day and age, it’s often difficult to separate exercise and weight loss. All too often, we hear all about the benefits of exercise only when talking about trimming down and dropping dress sizes. The truth is that physical activity can aid weight loss, but it has so much more to offer you both in terms of your physical and mental health. If you’ve taken a break and you’re keen to get back on the proverbial horse, or you’ve never really exercised before, here are some of the incredible benefits you could enjoy by adopting a more active lifestyle.

A natural high

Many of us dread going for a run or going to the gym. When you’re tired, you’ve had a long, stressful day at work, or it’s raining cats and dogs, you might think that the last thing you need is to squat, spin, or swim, but you’d be wrong. If you can get over that initial barrier, and muster up enough enthusiasm to leave the couch or take a diversion on your way back from the office, you will not regret that decision. Exercise always makes you feel better, even if it’s painful at the time. When your body is moving, your serotonin levels increase in the brain, and your body also releases endorphins. This chemical reaction causes a natural high, which will make you feel relaxed, energised, and happy. If you’re stressed, you’re feeling a bit low, or you’ve been feeling sluggish all morning, even a few minutes of exercise could make all the difference.
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A confidence boost
How do you feel about yourself? How high would you rate your levels of self-confidence? Humans tend to be their own worst enemies when it comes to criticism and we are often our harshest, most brutal critics. We all have flaws, but sometimes, our imperfections can bring us down and set us back. Exercise is a really effective way of improving self-esteem. It can help you tackle body image insecurities, as well as showing you exactly what you’re capable of both physically and mentally. Working out can help you achieve goals like losing weight to reach a healthy BMI range, trying to build muscle in 12 weeks or lowering your blood pressure. It can also help you hit targets like being able to run further or faster and make you feel mentally tougher and stronger at the same time as increasing your stamina and physical strength. With exercise, you can work on your own individual goals, and you can tailor your training routine to suit your preferences. You may find that some activities make you feel a lot more confident than others.
A clear mind
Do you ever have moments when it feels like your mind is spinning or you have thoughts whizzing around at a hundred miles per hour? Do you find it hard to relax even in tranquil surroundings, or do you have trouble switching off when you try and get to sleep? Many of us lead hectic lives, and it’s not always easy to maintain a clear head. If you find this difficult, you will almost certainly benefit from doing regular exercise. When you’re moving, you’re focusing on something else, and this enables you to get out of that state where your mind feels saturated. If you are looking for exercises that will help you zone out and feel calm, activities like yoga, swimming, and Pilates are great. If you’re stressed, frustrated or angry, try a boxing, spinning or martial arts class. If you’ve got energy that needs burning off and you feel restless, go for a run or join a high-intensity interval training session. You should find that you feel better both during and after exercise and that you can think more clearly. Exercise is also proven to ease sleep troubles, so it’s worth increasing your activity levels if you are prone to sleepless nights. As many activities can energize and uplift you, it’s best to avoid late night workouts, and to try and exercise during the morning, afternoon or early evening.

Many of us are aware that exercise can help us to lose weight, but it has so many other benefits. If you don’t already lead an active lifestyle, you may find that increasing your activity levels, even by a few minutes a day, brings you a host of incredible physical and mental health benefits. Moving your body makes you feel good, it builds your confidence and clears your mind and helps you feel calmer, happier, and more energetic.

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