A lot of people ask us about weight loss, especially at this time of year. The summer “bikini body” is a never ending story that comes up time and time again in conversations with clients from June onwards. This pressure to look good on the beach is further magnified by fitness and lifestyle brands wanting to cash in on our seasonal insecurities – but we always ask our clients, “who actually cares aside from you? Who are you trying to impress?”. Many clients tell us they weren’t actually that happy the last time they remember being at their goal weight.
Whilst we always want to respect the needs and desires of our clients, and do our best to deliver the results that they’ve asked for, we strongly believe internal health and happiness are better reasons for getting active. Unfortunately, many people find simply being a little more toned doesn’t leave them any more psychologically fulfilled than before they began their regime, so we will do our best to steer you towards more meaningful goals to help you actually enjoy your journey as much as possible.
There are so many amazing benefits of exercise that don’t involve looking hot on a beach, so we thought now would be a pertinent time to list some of our favourites.
- An instant mood lift – endorphins released during physical activity are a guaranteed pick me up at any time of day, no matter what mood you’re in.
- Screen detox time – it’s impossible to check your emails when you’re in the middle of swimming laps or an intense boxing spar.
- Regulates blood pressure – an Australian study recently found that just 30 minutes of brisk walking a day was as effective as medication for regulating your blood pressure for the rest of the day.
- Release desk aches and pains – moving your body in different ways will help you get rid of those common areas of tension experienced by those of us in desk bound jobs.
- Boost your self confidence – a lot of sports are extremely skill based. Mastering a skill unrelated to work or relationships can boost your self-confidence and takes your mind off whatever was bothering you.
- Boost your circulation – Exercise helps circulation as it increases blood flow, gets the heart pumping blood around your body faster and helps flush the blood through your arteries. In winter, this means less cold hands and feet!
- Get glowing skin – you might feel unattractive when you’re sweaty and red, but once you cool off, the increased blood flow to the skin cells will leave you looking more glowing than usual.
- Sharper memory and thinking. The same endorphins that make you feel better also help you concentrate and feel mentally sharp for tasks at hand.
- Regulate blood sugar – moderate aerobic exercise helps your muscles to use more glucose, the sugar in your blood stream. Over time, this can lower your blood sugar levels. It also makes the insulin in your body work better. You’ll get these benefits for hours after your walk or workout.
- Regulate digestion – getting your heart rate up on a regular basis reduces intestinal sluggishness by stimulating your muscles to push digestive waste through your body.
- Long term improved mental health – Exercise promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. It relieves tension and stress, boosts physical and mental energy, and enhances well-being through the release of endorphins.
- Better sleep – there are many possibilities for how exercise may reduce insomnia severity. One way may be by the body-heating effects of exercise, especially when performed in the afternoon or later. Exercise triggers an increase in body temperature, and the post-exercise drop in temperature may promote falling asleep. Exercise may also reduce insomnia by decreasing arousal, anxiety and depressive symptoms. It also helps to regulate circadian rhythms.
- Brain health and memory – exercise has been shown to cause the hippocampus, a part of the brain that’s vital for memory and learning, to grow in size. This serves to increase mental function in older adults. It has also been shown to reduce changes in the brain that can cause Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.
- Stronger resilience – When faced with mental or emotional challenges in life, exercise can help you cope in a healthy way, instead of resorting to alcohol, drugs, or other negative behaviors that ultimately only make your symptoms worse. Regular exercise can also help boost your immune system and reduce the impact of stress.
- Keeps your heart healthy – repeated aerobic activity over time makes your heart stronger and much more efficient. If your heart can work less to pump, the force on your arteries decreases, in turn, lowering your blood pressure, reducing your risk of heart and cardiovascular diseases.
- Increased energy levels – Multiple studies have shown that engaging in regular physical activity can increase your energy levels – this is true even in people with persistent fatigue and those suffering from serious illnesses.
- Stay feeling strong well into old age – As people age, they tend to lose muscle mass and function, which can lead to injuries and disabilities. Practicing regular physical activity is essential to reducing muscle loss and maintaining strength as you age. Exercise helps to build bone density when you’re younger, in addition to helping prevent osteoporosis later in life.
- Get glowing skin – Even though intense and exhaustive physical activity can contribute to oxidative damage, regular moderate exercise can increase your body’s production of natural antioxidants, which help protect cells. In the same way, exercise can stimulate blood flow and induce skin cell adaptations that can help delay the appearance of skin aging.
- Reduce your risk of chronic disease – many studies cite lack of exercise as a primary cause for chronic disease. The kind of diseases that exercise reduces the risk of include metabolic syndrome, obesity, insulin resistance, prediabetes/type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic liver disease, cardiovascular diseases, cognitive functions and diseases, bone and connective tissue disorders, cancer, reproductive diseases, and diseases of the digestive tract, pulmonary, and kidney.
- Make new friends – taking up exercise can open you up to meeting and talking with a whole different group of people who you now share something in common with. Aside from team sports, there are plenty of skill based activities with a social element. It could even be as simple as finding a great personal trainer who you always enjoy chatting to.