What do you think of when you hear the word “exercise?” It may bring a sense of excitement, an adrenaline rush. While to others, it brings uneasiness, even disdain. Maybe you’re somewhere in between. What if you challenged yourself to think of it in different terms…in terms of “fitness?!” To participate in an activity or activities to bring greater FITness to your life… There are so many benefits to physical fitness. Take a look at the following list and name 2-3 potential benefits that are important to you:
- Fitness can control weight. While regular trips to the gym are great, short bursts of extra movement contribute to reaching weight goals. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther away when it’s safe, take a walk in the evening after dinner rather than sitting down to watch TV.
- Regular fitness combats health conditions and diseases. The key word here (and really with every point) is “regular.” Being consistent in your fitness activities has been shown to help prevent or manage many health problems and concerns. For example, the onset, severity, and maintenance of high blood pressure, cardiovascular events and disease, depression and anxiety, arthritis, many types of cancer, and so much more are all impacted by regular fitness.
- Fitness improves mood. Various brain chemicals are released during physical fitness. These chemicals may leave you feeling happier, more relaxed, less stressed, and overall healthier.
- Fitness boosts energy. Physical fitness delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your heart and lungs work more efficiently. When the health of your heart and lungs improves, your energy levels increase, providing a greater threshold for more chores, activities, etc.
- Fitness promotes better sleep. Using more energy throughout the day can make your body desire more rest in preparation for doing it again tomorrow. Tip! Don’t exercise too closely to bedtime. You may be too excited to calm down for some zzz’s.
- Fitness can put the spark back into your sex life. Whether it’s the extra energy, better sleep, improved mood, whatever, fitness may help put that desire back into your life.
- Fitness can be FUN…and social! Fitness can give you a chance to unwind, catch up with friends, meet new people.
Notice that nowhere in the above list did it say you HAVE to go to the gym to experience results. The gym is great for more targeted type workouts, extra support and training, and use of machines and equipment to which you may not have access otherwise. It all simply points to moving more! And you can do that anywhere – whether inside or outside – by doing the same activity or regularly changing it up.
- The gym
- Dance party
- Lunges up and down your hallway
- A quick cardio burst after a trip to the bathroom (jumping jacks, etc.)
- An outdoor fitness class
- Lunch time game of “capture the flag”
- Golf (be your own caddy)
The bottom line is that FITness is a major factor in creating a healthier lifestyle, and it does not have to be hard or complicated. It simply has to include moving your body, getting your heart rate up a bit, and using your muscles. Of course, we can’t finish our discussion on fitness without a few disclaimers:
Talk to your doctor about ideas relevant to your current fitness status and your goals. Hydrate properly.
Wear appropriate shoes. Don’t forget the sunscreen and cool clothing, if outside. Start slowly.
Reading the benefits of fitness above may get you extra excited to start a fitness plan, and that is GOOD!! One thing many of us have experienced in our lifetime, however, is starting out with a program too hard and too fast resulting in greater risk for injury and burn out. Slow down. Enjoy the process. And keep moving!