We all exercise for different reasons. You might be exercising to make you happy, to build muscle, to boost your energy levels, to lose some weight, etc, etc.
But why does exercise have such positive effects on our mind and body, and what happens if you choose to be sedentary?
The Benefits of Exercise
Here is just a handful of reasons why you should try to add movement to your regime:
- For healthy blood sugar regulation
Irregular blood sugar metabolism can lead to hormonal problems, PCOS, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, weight gain, fatigue, a foggy mind, fainting, sleep issues and more, and immobilisation is strongly correlated with insulin resistance. Research suggests that exercise is a critical component to diabetes treatment and management, so might help anyone with other blood sugar imbalances. Exercise improves the way muscles respond to insulin and assists with glucose regulation even hours after exercise. It also increases glucose uptake by the muscles, which reduces the amount of insulin needed.
- It positively affects your gut microbiome
You have a myriad of microbes living in your gut that can impact how you feel in many different ways. Many illnesses are highly correlated with imbalances in our gut microbiome, and exercise has been shown to positively impact the balance of these microbes. One way in which it improves our gut microbiome is by increasing the diversity in the microbes, which has been linked to better overall health. This allows you to sleep better, experience better moods, be more energised, digest your food more efficiently, and much more.
- To increase your happiness
Exercise has been proven to be an important part of treatment for those with depression. Some of the reasons for this include that it improves dysregulation in neurotransmitter production and processing, inflammatory responses, and the function of the mitochondria (the energy powerhouse of each cell). It also enhances your beneficial microbes which therefore increases the production of happy hormones like serotonin and dopamine.
- To maintain bone health
It is said that: ‘Bone tissue is continuously remodeled, and as a dynamic tissue, it adapts and responds to various stimuli, such as physical exercise and mechanical vibration. During physical activity mechanical forces can be exerted on bones through ground reaction forces and by the contractile activity of muscles, resulting in maintenance or gain of bone mass. Studies have already pointed out many of the mechanical stimuli that are beneficial to bone tissue, including some physical activities as aquatic and ground exercises.’
‘A Little Exercise Goes a Long Way’
What we need to realise is that a little exercise can go a long way. You don’t need to sign up to a gym and do an hour session every day. Exercise to you might be doing some lunges in the kitchen whilst cooking, parking your car further away and walking a little more, walking to the shops rather than driving, going for a walk along the beach, lifting heavy books in your office for a few minutes, or doing 10 minutes of yoga on your bedroom floor. This all matters, and is all positive.
I often get asked what I do for movement, and so I will give you a brief overview here. I really mix things up depending on how I feel. I have no set routine, which might not work for some people – instead, I choose to listen to my body and do what works with my schedule (which changes daily depending on the timing of my clients, deadlines and events).
At the moment I am LOVING F45 training (a gym-based training session). I enjoy being pushed to the point where I am a sweaty mess! I am only doing this 2 or sometimes 3 times a week if my schedule allows. On other days, I do yoga at home, go surfing with my lover, go for walks with my dog, enjoy bike rides and I also try to climb a mountain once a week.
I love to move every day, in whatever way my body feels is right. I move because it makes me feel good mentally and physically, not out of fear of putting on weight or losing muscle.
Eat Right to Make Exercising Easier
What you are putting in your mouth should be your priority. When you eat foods that throw your gut microbiome out of balance or add inflammation to your body, then you will feel unmotivated and fatigued, which will prevent you actually WANTING to move. Start by moving in ways that you love to move and progressively improve your diet to help the transition into more movement.
Let me know what has worked for you in the past. What keeps you motivated? What exercise are you loving? Why do you exercise? Or what is preventing you from exercising?