5 things to know about the benefits of exercise

just do it #nike

Exercise is the most beneficial activity you can do that will impact your mind, body, and spirit. It is fundamental to your being that you incorporate some exercise into your daily routine.

You may think that many people are already aware of the benefits of exercise but according to WHO, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men do not do enough physical activity to stay active. There are a million reasons why this is the case, but there are also a million more reasons to benefit your emotional, physical and mental health.

benefits of exercise:

  1. You will develop a better mind-body connection
    Your mind and body work best together in exercise. It can go either way but sometimes one will be stronger than the other. If our mind is strong, it is easier to get through the workout with a good mental outlook that will motivate our body to do more. If you go in with set intentions, even if it is just I am here now I may as well give it my all, you will see a difference in your performance. Mental strength is necessary when it comes to injury and healing of the body as well. 

  2. Your mental health will improve especially with depression and anxiety
    There are proven studies to suggest that daily exercise can decrease depression and anxiety. A recent meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies reported that across the life span, individuals who engage in higher levels of physical activity significantly reduce the risk of developing incident depression and major depression compared with those with lower levels of physical activity.

  3. It helps control your weight
    It may seem like an obvious benefit but there is no shortcut to receiving the results, you will have to put the work in. But, this is more about embracing a healthy, balanced lifestyle that will help control your weight. It is about moving your body daily, even through dance, walking, running or, stretching. 

  4. The endless health benefits will allow you to prolong your life in a meaningful way
    I’m talking about decreasing your chances of dementia, reduce the risk of heart disease and it aids the body manage blood sugar and insulin levels. It will also improve muscular and cardiorespiratory fitness and improve bone and functional health.  How you take care of your body now will affect future you. Do something today that will benefit current and future you. 

  5. Your sleep quality will improve 
    I don’t know about you guys but I know for a fact I sleep much better and earlier because I am so tired from the workout and the extended amount of energy that comes after that. The body also releases endorphins during exercise, which give you a nicer feeling when exercising, eating, or having sex. It also allows you to sleep to a better routine, depending on the hours when you workout. 

Tim Foster on Unsplash “>

personal experience:

My relationship with exercise has always been love hate. I can tell you a time where I had no interest in exercise. I was self-conscious of running because I was a slow and chubby kid and ate pizza way too often (not my fault we own a pizzeria).

One time in P.E, we were asked to run around our school oval in less than 5 minutes. Man, tell me why I had to be the one who was last. But what made it worse was the teacher called me out on it right after congratulating the winner.  She just had to make sure she called out lil ol Laura for coming last at 5 minutes and 30 seconds. Of course, the kids had a little giggle and I internalized tf out of that moment. 

Do you remember when exercise changed your life?

One brother and 2 cousins and I joined a gym together just as high school was ending. I felt self-conscious already and was dealing with depression. I remember my brother making a sneak remark about how lazy I was coming to the gym and only walking.

I stepped off onto the rails, I turned to him increased the speed and I jumped on. I ran and ran and ran. That moment is memorable because I felt an immediate relief throughout my body. At that moment, I had no idea what my body was capable of but I was proud of it. 

I took a handle on my life and what I wanted out of exercise, so much so that I pursued a degree in nutrition and dietetics. I’ve never said this before but I deferred that degree because I convinced myself if I wasn’t thin like the rest of my cohort then no one would take me seriously as a Dietitian. Boy, did I do some damage to myself? Negative self-talk and a negative mindset only took me longer to realise I wasn’t reaching my potential by limiting myself with what I can’t do and more with what I can. 

It took a good while to convince myself that I wasn’t a piece of shit for coming last in that race or for walking instead of running, in turn, I used that for fuel and motivation. This worked in my favour eventually but I wish it didn’t take so long. I guess we gotta trust our journey. I saw improvements with depression (not solely due to exercise but it definitely improved my mood). I saw massive strides with my stamina, strength, and endurance. It really does work wonders but consistency is key. 

Here is what I was looking like when I first started in 2012 and 2013.

And this was taken earlier this week

 

If you’re looking for motivation here it is, do it because you can and do it well. Take vitamins, eat/drink protein, rest when your body needs it and keep going. YOU got this. 

 

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