You started an active lifestyle for your own personal reasons. You may have gone down the path of trying to lose a few pounds or maybe you wanted to run your first marathon. Whatever your motivation, we’re glad you did.
In your daily routine, you probably also noticed other benefits in your life.
1. Diet and weight
Depending on the physical activity of your choice, you can burn a few hundred to over a thousand calories in a session. Out of curiosity, I calculated that I burnt 1,800+ calories in one of my half-marathon runs. When you consider that you have to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound of weight, you can see how intense exercises can help you lose weight. Conversely, you tend to eat better because your body craves better food – food that it can burn efficiently and use to repair your muscles.
Even if you’re not running for an hour and a half, you are walking around your office, going up stairs instead of using the elevator, cleaning up the apartment, or maybe chasing the kids around the yard, these cumulative physical activities add up. You’ll still get the benefits of exercise because you’re physically active.
2. Better sleep and rest
Do you remember when you first started working out, and you were ready for bed much earlier than normal? It was your body telling you that your muscles needed rest and recovery time. Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. Deep sleep means you will be better rested when you wake up. Try not to exercise an hour before bedtime. Your adrenaline levels may not decrease enough to let you fall asleep right away.
3. Mood enhancer
Combine physical activity and well-rested sleep, and what do you get? A more relaxed and happier you. Exercise and other physical activity stimulates various brain chemical reactions that may leave you with more positive thoughts, which can boost your confidence. After knocking out 200 push ups, what is there that you can’t do?
Whenever you need a pick me up, turn to the gym and not the coffee shop. A walk or pumping some iron may be all you need. Plus, you may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly.
4. Energy booster
It’s almost contrary to what many people think about exercise. You become more energized because regular physical activity improves your muscle strength and boosts endurance. Exercise builds your cardiovascular system to more efficiently deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. Exercise will also help regulate your blood sugar to keep your energy levels throughout the day.
5. Reduce health risks
Physical activity is a good way to keep healthy at a micro-cellular level. Exercise boosts high-density “lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. HDL helps minimize plaque buildup in your arteries which in turn decreases your chances for strokes. Regular exercise helps prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, a number of types of cancer, arthritis and falls.
The health benefits of an active lifestyle are hard to ignore. Anyone can benefit from exercise, regardless of age or physical ability. Exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better, boost your health, and have fun. Work in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise. Your program should be a combinatio
n of vigorous and moderate aerobic exercises, such as running, walking, or biking. Strength training at least twice per week by lifting weights (free or machines) or body weight exercises.
For those of you laying on the couch waiting for an invitation to get started. Here it is: Get off that couch! And start living. (Just make sure you check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you haven’t exercised for a long time, have chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis, or you have any health concerns.)
For the rest of us, let’s keep it going!
What other benefits have you realized since you began an active lifestyle? We want to hear from you. Comment below.
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Ouellette Jean François
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