As spring turns into summer and the weather begins to get warmer, you might be tempted to go outside and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. This is the perfect time of year to take advantage of the lovely weather and incorporate more exercise into your daily routine. If you are not exercising regularly already, starting to do so might seem hard. After all, it is not easy to begin doing something new in your life without understanding the benefits or purpose of such a lifestyle change. This is why it is so important to understand the reasons why you should make exercise a regular part of your routine before attempting to do so.
Most people recognize that exercise is important because it helps to burn calories so that you can lose, or at the very least, maintain weight. While this is one of the main benefits of exercise, there are many others that have less to do with being a part of a weight loss regimen and more to do with increasing overall health, happiness, and quality of life. The following are other less commonly known – but equally as important – reasons why you should incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
- Exercise promotes overall physical health by helping to prevent diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.
- Exercise has been known to improve mental health by reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. In addition, exercise helps improve mood and energy by stimulating brain chemicals to make you feel more alert, happier, and more relaxed.
- Exercise also prepares your body for better quality sleep. Just be sure not to exercise too close to your bedtime, as the elevated energy levels might keep you up.
- Exercise helps to improve your self-esteem by promoting an overall sense of well-being, confidence, and self-love.
- Exercise is good for the brain. With regular exercise, you can decrease your chance of cognitive decline, increase brain power, and improve memory. As an added bonus, exercise helps to inspire creativity.
Given all of these benefits, it is clear that exercise is much more than a mere supplement to a weight-loss program. So what kind of exercise should you make a part of your life? The answer to this question varies because working out is such a personal and individualized kind of practice that there is no one right way to exercise. It is far more important to find an exercise program that fits your preferences and needs than to follow a popular exercise trend that everybody else is doing. Choose what feels right for you and your body and work towards personal goals to assess your improvement, rather than measuring yourself against others. And remember to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
Exercise can be high-impact (such as CrossFit, aerobics, dance, running, and kickboxing) or low-impact (such as walking, swimming, cycling, rowing, and using the elliptical trainer) or based in strength-training (such as yoga, pilates, weight lifting, and barre exercises). Considering that there are so many different exercise options, you should be able to find at least one type of exercise that makes you feel good, gets you results, and is enjoyable. Doing some form of activity for just 30 minutes a day on most days of the week will be a great way to welcome vitality, energy, and overall health into your life.
So the next time you want to enjoy the beautiful weather during this spring and summer, take your workout outdoors with you. You won’t regret the opportunity to appreciate your body’s strength and ability to move and to make a commitment to promote your health and happiness.
– Shoshana Kosman, RD/LD