If it’s been a while since you hit the gym or went for a run, starting an exercise routine can be difficult. While it’s important to start small and stay light at first, staying motivated will be easier if you consider all the reasons you want to get fit.
Access almost any university or health center website and you’ll be able to find comprehensive lists of the benefits of exercise, but sometimes a simple list doesn’t feel tangible. Consider how the health benefits of exercise will actually enhance your life in the following ways:
Georgia State University’s Exercise and Physical Fitness Page highlights a few of the benefits of cardiovascular and strength training. For instance, exercise helps reduce and prevent cardiovascular risk factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Exercise can also prevent disease, like certain types of colon and breast cancers as well as Type 2 Diabetes. With the rates of cancer, diabetes and heart disease on the rise, prevention through exercise is a first line of defense.
You’ll also find that with a regular fitness routine, you have a lot more energy, which translates into more time to spend playing with your kids or having fun with your partner or friends. By getting fit, you’ll not only live better, you’ll live longer and healthier, too!
Getting fit now will help you feel better in many ways. For example, exercise builds your resistance to illnesses like the cold and flu by strengthening your immune system, keeping you healthy year-round. If you suffer from back pain, getting fit will help you combat pain and reduce your risk of further injury, since the stabilizing muscles of the core will be strengthened. Plus, that added strength may help you prevent and bounce back from injuries quicker than someone who is out of shape. Still need more “feel good” reasons to get fit? Regular exercise helps you sleep better and can also increase your sex drive.
Exercise is a natural mood elevator. According to Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publications, as you get fit, you’ll experience a reduction in stress and anxiety. Along with a decrease in stress, you’ll experience a corresponding increase in happiness. Plus, getting fit is a sure-fire way to boost your confidence and feel better about yourself.
If you’re feeling mentally fuzzy, The Franklin Institute notes that regular exercise enhances memory and boosts brain function in an immediate and tangible way. In the long-term, exercise may also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. All this mental clarity can come at a minimal time commitment, too — moderate exercise for only 20 minutes a day delivers all these mental health benefits.
Appearance isn’t everything, of course. But how great would you feel if you could zip yourself into your skinny jeans again? Dig through your closet and find your favorite outfits that no longer fit well. Imagine yourself wearing them again. Getting fit can get you there. As you get fit, you’ll probably notice that your skin starts to look clearer and more radiant. Though outward improvements aren’t nearly as important as all those internal health benefits, why not focus on the perfect swimsuit or that curve-hugging dress as a get-fit motivator? You’ll feel fabulous and look fabulous, too!
More fitness tips
Quick cardio workouts in your neighborhood
Setting up a workout schedule
Ways to motivate yourself to get fit
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