Exercise is good for us. So it is not surprising that so many people would resolve on New Year to exercise more often. What is surprising is that very few people are able to carry through with their New Year resolution and sustain the habit of exercising.
Now admittedly sweating it out is not something many people look forward to. Furthermore, the benefits of exercising are not felt immediately after running around the park or lifting weights for an hour. In fact, the benefits take some time to show up. So you might be forgiven for losing the motivation to push through with your intentions.
It definitely helps if you have a strong why to back your intentions. It helps if you know how exactly exercising regularly improves your life. You might be surprised to note that exercising regularly improves not only your physical health but also your mental and emotional state.
Exercise keeps away diseases and chronic medical conditions
Scientific evidence shows that regular exercise boosts your immunity, keeps your organs healthy, and prevents a host of diseases and medical conditions. It has been proven scientifically that regular physical activity lowers the risk of developing heart diseases or suffering from a stroke by 35 percent; type 2 diabetes by 50 percent; breast cancer by 20 percent; colon cancer by 50 percent; and osteoarthritis by 83 percent.
Exercise helps you maintain your ideal weight
According to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise helps you maintain your body weight at the ideal level. All the calories you burn when you exercise not only help you shed the unwanted pounds but also keep them away. Maintaining an ideal body weight helps keep away obesity-induced, chronic and potentially debilitating medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiac complications.
Exercise boosts your energy levels
Regular exercise boosts energy and vitality by improving blood flow. Improved blood circulation enhances the supply of oxygen and other vital nutrients to the organs and tissues of the body. Exercise also improves heart and lung health, so you have more endurance and stamina to tackle not only your daily tasks but also take up new work that you love.
Exercise improves your mood
It is all those endorphins sloshing around in your blood! Physical activity releases brain chemicals that have been shown to boost mood and promote sleep.
Exercise enhances the quality of your life
When you are healthy and full of vitality, you can spend more time doing what you love most. You can spend more time with your loved ones instead of being sick, making trips to the ER, or staying at the hospital. Being physically healthy makes your life simple by not only freeing up your time but also saving you the money you would have otherwise spent on pills, shots, doctors’ fees, and ER visits.
When you are physically healthy, you are also more upbeat. You feel more confident and enthusiastic about taking up work, juggling multiple tasks, and dreaming up new projects because you know your body will aid you when you will need to put in nose-to-the-grindstone, shoulder-to-the-wheel, and elbow-in-the-grease hard work.
Regular exercise helps you remain independent for longer
Regular exercise decreases the risk of premature death by 30 percent. What regular physical activity also does, is that it allows you to lead healthy and independent lives.
With regular physical exercise, you can keep away diseases and chronic medical conditions that would otherwise limit your mobility or keep you confined to bed. One of the greatest benefits of regular exercise is that it strengthens your bones and muscles and keeps your joints flexible. These reduce the risk of slips and falls. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, regular exercise can reduce the incidence of hip fracture that is known to bring on life-changing adverse effects.
Additionally, improved energy levels and increased endurance let you carry out your daily chores your-self, so you have to hire help.
Exercising helps you become more disciplined and focused in what you do
The mere act of setting an intention (I have to lose weight or I have to become fitter), setting goals (I will run around the park four times or I will go to the gym everyday), and sticking to your plans makes you more focused and disciplined. Setting and getting goals is a habit that becomes stronger with practice. You can carry the habit of being disciplined and focused into the other currencies of your life, so these areas improve as well.
Besides, when you see yourself setting goals and succeeding in achieving them, you get an ego boost and the confidence to be more ambitious and bold and strive for loftier goals.
It is hard not to be convinced of the benefits of regular exercising when such a large body of scientific literature exists on the topic. What is harder is to form the habit and sustain it.
You may set intentions, but distractions may often sidetrack you. Despite knowing about the benefits of exercising regularly, you may lack the motivation to make the effort. In fact, you will be surprised to discover how ingenious the mind is in coming up with excuses to not exercise.
What you need to do to start exercising and carry on is to tame your mind, so it does not ambush your good intentions. Meditation helps you control your mind. Meditation and health apps can be invaluable tools to help you in that. Watch out this space to learn how guided meditation helps you form the habit of regular exercise.