Summer is on its way and its time to get our sluggish bodies out of hibernation and get used to enjoying being outdoors and active again.
If you need a little more convincing, here are just a few reasons why exercise is such a necessary part of life:
1) It makes you feel good
Exercise releases endorphins – the ‘happy’ hormones, which have an analgesic effect on the body and also give buzzy feeling, often described as a ‘runner’s high’. Research shows that exercise compares favourably to antidepressants as a first line treatment for mild to moderate depression.
2) It helps alleviate anxiety
If you’re feeling anxious it is because your mind has triggered your ‘fight or flight’ instinct and is basically readying your body to attack or run away. One of the best ways to alleviate anxiety is to allow your body that physical outlet that it’s looking for. Making time in your week for regular exercise can reduce stress levels overall by increasing concentrations of norepinephrine, the chemical that moderates the brain’s response to stress.
3) It gets you out in nature
If you can take your workout outside, there’s an extra boost. Studies show that being out in nature can actually boost your immune system by putting your body in ‘rest and digest’ mode, the opposite of ‘fight or flight’. Connecting with nature is a basic human need, reconnecting your body and your mind in a powerful way.
4) It exercises your brain as well as your body
It’s well known that our ability to remember things deteriorates with age. Physical activity enhances learning and memory for people of all ages by triggering brain cell growth.
5) It helps you achieve more and be more creative
When your brain is struggling to tune in to the daily grind, exercise can help. Research on workers who incorporated exercise into the working week showed an increase in productivity vs those who did not exercise.
It has also been proven to boost creativity for up to two hours afterwards!
But if all the reasons in the world are still not getting you off the couch, here are a few tips to help make it easier to get up and get going:
1) Schedule the time in your calendar as an appointment - you’ll be more likely to keep it.
2) Think about the way you feel after exercising, instead of how hard it is to get there. Focusing on the positive outcome is motivational.
3) Workout with a friend as it will meet your basic need for social interaction, makes the exercise more enjoyable and keeps you honest!