There is such a stigma around exercise for weight loss and aesthetics, many people forget or are unaware of the other benefits that exercise also has for both your mental and physical health. Here I have gone through a few, which may change your view on why you should be incorporating some form of exercise into your daily routine.
To feel good; Who doesn’t feel much better after they have done some exercise or got in their daily workout? Exercise releases endorphins which make you feel happier after you have done your workout and is proven to put you in a better mood throughout the rest of the day. (1) And also it has been shown that taking part in activity that you enjoy, is more likely to cause better adherence.
Cognitive ability; it is said to increase your productivity levels throughout the day, if you start your day with some form of exercise. There is also research to suggest taking part in regular exercise helps reduce the risk of developing cognitive disease such as Alzheimer’s/dementia in later life. (2)
Something you enjoy; taking time to exercise for yourself, your mental & physical health using it as your ‘me time’. It can be a great de-stressor after a long day at work, that hour or so in the gym where you can focus on yourself with no distractions can make you feel so much better & clear your head by the time your ready to go home.
Reduced risk of disease; there is a lot of research out there that tells us taking part in regular forms of exercise can help reduce our risk for developing certain diseases such as cardiovascular disease, the worlds no. 1 killer at the minute, some cancers, type 2 diabetes among others.
Also has a positive effect on your mental health. There are strong links to suggest taking part in regular exercise can reduce your risk of developing depression, studies have shown that those prescribed an exercise programme proved less likely to relapse than those on medication. It is also suggested that exercise can be used as first line of treatment as an alternative to cognitive behavioral therapy for those with mild-moderate symptoms of depression. (3)(4)
Weight training improves bone density, reducing risk for osteoporosis and brittle bones in later life, which may help prevent falls when you get older as your bones and muscles are stronger and able to withstand more. This can be particularly common in post-menopausal women, due to oestrogen loss (hormone which protects bone), weight bearing activities will increase bone density, reducing risk of brittle bones. With sedentary lifestyles people are gradually getting weaker over time and need strength to perform basic everyday tasks. (5)
To increase strength for daily activities in general life, it makes it much easier to be able to lift something heavy on your own without injuring yourself, and the skills you learn through exercise & strength training help you to do these things in general day-to-day life. Some people with physical jobs, need to build strength to be able to do specific tasks in their workplace.
So, there are some of the many reasons why exercise is more than just something to engage in if you are looking to lose weight. Making exercise part of your daily routine and habits will help you and your mental & physical health in the long term! Find the activity you enjoy and make it part of your routine.
Babyak M, Blumenthal JA, Herman S, Khatri P, Doriaswamy M, Moore K, et al., Ecercise treatment for major depressionL maintenance of therapeutic benefit at 10 months. Psychosom Med. 2000;62(5): 633-8 [PubMed]
Rimer K, Dwan L, Lawlor DA, Greig CA, McMurdo M, Morely W, et al., Exercise for depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;11 doi:1002/14651858.CD004366.pub5 [PubMed] [Cross Ref]