Hello everybody! Welcome to my blog again! One more week, one more post.
This week’s post is about 13 reasons why you should do exercise. These are things that you probably already know, but hopefully by reading it here, it will inspire you to start. Let’s go!
- To be fit: the main reason why people do exercise, and sometimes the only one.
When we do exercise, we burn calories and tone our muscles, but I would like to change this perspective and talk about losing fat, not losing weight. There is an obsession about the scales and whatever number the scales give us, but these scales do not tell you the percentage of fat and the percentage of muscle that you have. This can lead to frustration, because at some point, your muscles will increase in size. Did you know that muscle is twice as heavy as fat? Some people will put on weight when they start doing exercise, but their fat percent has actually gone down. Try to get a scale that tells you these different percentages, they are not as accurate as a Kinanthropometry study, but it will give you an idea of how you are improving. The best way to track your improvement is taking pictures of yourself every 2-4 weeks, at the same time of the day and try to do it the same day of the week. You can also track your improvement by looking in the mirror and checking how your clothes fit you over time.
- To feel better.
When we do exercise, we release specific chemicals called endorphins. These are known as the hormones of happiness along with other hormones such us dopamine and serotonin, which are also released during exercise. These hormones help us decrease our stress levels. They can even help with depression, reducing pain and increasing pleasure, which leaves us with a feeling of well-being. This then leads to improvements in our mental health.
- Enhance sleep.
It hasn’t been scientifically demonstrated why exercising helps to enhance sleep at night, but it has been shown that moderate aerobic exercise increases the amount of slow wave sleep we get. This phase of sleep is the commonly known as deep sleep.
Exercise is also very important to change your mood for good and to free your mind, things that are also essential to fall asleep.
However, the timing is very important. Moderate to vigorous exercise increases your body temperature as well as the release of the hormones we mentioned before, so avoid this type of exercise 1-2 hours before you go to sleep. Exercises like gentle Yoga or stretches before going to bed may help you fall asleep because of its relaxation properties.
- Social interactions.
When we socialise, we secrete the hormones oxytocin and dopamine. We know what dopamine does to our brain. Oxytocin is known as the “love hormone” because it’s the hormone that is released when giving birth, breastfeeding, having orgasms or hugging someone.
Socialising while doing sports plays a key role when it comes to motivation. Sometimes we don’t do exercise because we don’t have that motivation, that impulse to do it. Personally, I find it very difficult to go for a run without my husband, and I can’t imagine going rock climbing without him, so exercising has become one of those things that we always do together.
The time you spend with people along with the hormones we release during exercise can strengthen ties between them, therefore it’s a really good way to bond with someone.
- Self-esteem and confidence.
Once the endorphins have begun to flood your system, your social interactions are bringing you positive energy, you have more oxytocin in your brain and your sleep is long, deep and restful, you notice the results from that cardio in your belly and those squats are giving your bottom a nice shape, you’re going to feel like you’re on top of the world.
Self-steam is a subjective evaluation of our own worth, and it is linked to how we feel at that specific moment. If you have the hormones of happiness circulating in your system, you have bonded with the people you love, you like what you see in the mirror and you feel better inside, your self-steam and confidence will be impacted.
- Good habits to pass on to your children.
Is there any other way to teach habits to your children but doing yourself what you want them to do? Various studies have shown that most kids will copy their parents’ actions and will look forward to having a similar lifestyle to theirs. Thus, if you as a parent do exercise, most likely your kids will do exercise. Set a good example for them, explain to them from a young age why it is important to do exercise, and make it a fun thing. Kids don’t like being told what to do; they like to enjoy whatever they are doing. There are many things that children can do, let’s do it together!
- Preventing illness.
Exercising reinforces our immune system, the one in charge of protecting us from infections and viruses. Exercise improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps to lose fat and all the benefits that come from losing the extra fat. Hence, it helps prevent type 2 diabetes, heart disease, many types of cancer, depression and anxiety, as well as dementia. Combine exercising with a good diet and your risk of getting sick will diminish.
- May help prevent cancer and improves cancer patients.
Cancer, as any other illness, might be prevented by doing exercise. For example, the most physically active women have a 12-21% lower risk of suffering breast cancer, and people that do intense exercise have a 19% lower risk of suffering from colon cancer. Exercise manages weight, regulates hormones, strengthen the inmune system and helps getting rid of the waste in our bodies.
Keep in mind that, even though you do exercise, there are multiple factors that can lead you to suffer any type of cancer, so don’t blame yourself if you go through that! But do as much as you possibly can to avoid it.
It has been shown that exercise helps people that are going through chemotherapy. Physical activity may help reduce the side effects, such as fatigue and nausea, as well as the reinforcement of the immune system that we mentioned before. Although it is more difficult to do exercise during this hard process, even light exercise will help these patients. Remember that exercise also increases the amount of the hormones of happiness, and to overcome cancer, a positive attitude is essential.
- Getting you ready for old age.
My fitness goal in life is getting to the age of 80 and being able to keep doing things by myself. Physical activity is not just for young people that want to impress or have a fit body. Physical activity is one of those essential things in life. There is no healthy life without physical activity, and when you reach your elderly years, you will give thanks for having been sporty your whole life. Having strong muscles will be crucial to protect our weaker bones and will help with the hormonal changes we suffer at this point in life, especially women during and after menopause, so strengthening exercises are a must. Cardiovascular exercises, even when we are older, improves our cardiovascular health, controls our weight and the amount of fat in our body. There is no excuse!
- Improves brain function.
Our brain has plasticity, which means it can be moulded. Exercise stimulates this plasticity, making your brain remain young. UCLA recently demonstrated that exercise increases growth factor in the brain, meaning that it is easier for the brain to create new neuronal connections.
- Improves skin health.
Exercise increases blood flow. This blood is full of oxygen and nutrients that are carried throughout the body, including the biggest organ: the skin. It also takes the waste products these organs have created. It increases the production of collagen and new skin cells. This will make you look younger.
Because exercising also helps to enhance sleep, your skin will also look rested, younger and healthier. It also makes us drink more water, providing this hydration to our skin as well to other vital organs.
- Improves sexual life.
Think about it like this: you have secreted hormones that make you feel happier and better, you have been sleeping so well lately, you have bonded with your partner, or you have met someone, your self-steam and confidence have increased, you don’t feel sick and even though you are older, you still feel young and energetic. Your brain is functioning well, and your skin looks radiant. Furthermore, you look much better physically after a couple of weeks doing exercise, so, who doesn’t want to have a moment? Besides, sex is also a physical activity!
Science says that, thanks to exercise, our body has a healthier cardiovascular system, making the blood flow to the right areas of the body, getting your genital ready for the action. In men, it may reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction thanks to this blood travelling effectively to the penis. For women, a stronger pelvic floor will help you have better sex quality.
- Mental health.
At this point, I don’t think I need to explain why your mental health has improved thanks to the exercise (especially after that sexy time with bae!)