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Why is exercise important?

Gearing ourselves up to get active isn’t always easy, but we can try to motivate ourselves by acknowledging all of the benefits it has for us. In this article we’ll share some of the great reasons why you should incorporate more exercise in your day to day life. 

Why is exercise important?

It’s good for our mental health

Working out has been shown to reduce our stress levels and help us to relax. As we exercise, it triggers the release of endorphins and increases other chemicals such as dopamine and adrenaline, helping to improve our mood and reduce tension.  

For this reason, sufferers of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression are encouraged to engage in physical activities to help boost their mood. 

It improves our sleep

Do you ever have trouble sleeping or feel tired during the day? Exercise can help with that! Numerous studies have reported the benefits of exercise for sleep quality and whilst the more you exercise the more tired you are when you’re ready for bed, even a short walk each day can help to improve symptoms of insomnia. 

On the flip side, you need to be careful when you are exercising, as it could potentially negatively affect your sleep (as exercise speeds up your metabolism). To ensure this does not happen, make sure you aren’t performing medium to high-impact exercises within the three hours before you head to bed (i.e cardiovascular exercises such as running). If you want to exercise in the evening, try a low-impact workout such as yoga as this can help to relax your muscles and promote healthy sleep. 

You also need to bear in mind that it can take our bodies time to adjust to new exercise routines so don’t worry if you don’t see results right away - it could take a few months before you notice improvements to your sleep. 

It decreases our chances of developing some health issues

According to the NHS, regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing health issues and illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and strokes by as much as 50%. To keep healthy, it is recommended that adults do a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise a week. The NHS also reports that high-intensity workouts are the best way to reduce our risks of developing disease and illness. Essentially, a high intensity workout is one which leaves you less able to talk whilst working out and with a higher heart rate. 

Learn more about the health benefits of staying active

It keeps us focused

When exercise triggers the release of endorphins, it also helps to improve our brain functioning, making it easier for us to concentrate and become less distracted which helps with our productivity. Do you ever get tired at work and notice yourself drifting off task? Try to break up the day by going for a walk during your lunchtime and see if you notice yourself feeling more refreshed and ready to crack on with tasks. 

It can give us more confidence

Many people choose to exercise as a means to improve their appearance. Whether you’re looking to slim down or bulk up, when we start to see results from our exercise efforts, it can give us a real confidence boost and a sense of accomplishment which others can also pick up on. 

It builds up our strength and physical endurance

The more we exercise, the easier it gets. When we complete workouts, our bodies replace any damaged muscle fibers - resulting in them becoming thicker and “growing”. Moreover, after working out for an extended period of time, exercises that once left us breathless become much more manageable, allowing us to increase the intensity of our workouts to further boost our stamina and strength. That said, rest days are also very important if you’re doing intense workouts as we need to allow our bodies time to recover from strenuous exercise and repair muscles as well as prevent us from sustaining injuries. 

Some of the best exercises for building strength and stamina are swimming, cycling, running and walking. 

How to get started with exercising

Now you know about all the incredible benefits of exercising, you might be wondering where to start! The first thing you need to do is consider what types of activities you enjoy, as this will help keep you motivated. We recommend that you start off lightly to avoid you pushing yourself too hard too quickly - for example, you could try walking or cycling to work instead of driving if it’s close enough. It’s important that you ensure you’re comfortable with the amount of exercise you’re doing as exhaustive workouts could put you at risk of injury or de-motivation. 

If you don’t like the idea of going for a jog or workout on your own, why not get your friends and family involved to keep each other on track? Alternatively we have some easy home workout suggestions for you to try. Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore and there are plenty of fitness classes out there to make workouts fun! 

Why not take a look at our blog offering advice on how to get fit for beginners to get started or get in touch to see how we can help?

Looking to get active? 

If you live in Dorset and you’re looking for support in trying to get active or losing weight, we’re here to help! We have a friendly team of professional health advisors and coaches who are here to help you reach your goals in getting more fit and healthy. Simply register or have a chat with us today to find out more about the services we offer.

 

Georgina

"In January 2019, I was five stone heavier. Now, with the weight loss, parkrun and netball, my anxiety has improved tenfold."

View full story

How does this work?

The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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