5,000 years ago people didn’t go to the gym; they didn’t do cross fit; lift weights and barbells; jump on BOSU balls; or run marathons. They were strong, lean and fit, athletic and active! Why? Because they walked over 5 miles per day, ran to chase their food, chopped down trees and lifted logs to build shelters—all in order to survive! That primal model of health and fitness is very different from today’s gym loyalist who, with an otherwise sedentary lifestyle, may not actually be moving his/her body in the basic patterns for which it was designed.
Medical and fitness professionals agree that exercise is one of the most important ways to maintain and improve health. There is no way around it. We need to move our bodies, daily. That’s what they were built for. Unfortunately the modern lifestyle has reduced our movement. It’s not good. We need to move in order to thrive.
Muscles are like anything – if you don’t use them you’ll lose them. When not worked regularly, muscles weaken over time and your body compensates for that weakness by recruiting other muscles to do jobs for which they weren’t designed. In other words, if you are weak or out of alignment in one area, other areas have to do jobs for which they weren’t designed, causing breakdown, pain and injury over time.
You must exert stress on weak muscles to foster new growth and strength. If you sit at your computer all day, head and shoulders rounded in, your spine will eventually curve forward (a condition known as kyphosis), your core will weaken and you’ll be saying hello to lower and upper back pain as well as weakened muscles in these areas.
So, I know all the excuses about why it’s hard to exercise, but let’s focus on some of the best benefits instead! Maybe you’ll find the time to move after all…
14 Benefits of Exercise that Make it Hard to Resist!
- Releases happy hormones and endorphins – Just 15 minutes of exercise can elevate your mood as it releases hormones that literally make you feel good!
- Builds strong bones – Weight-bearing exercises build bone density and make the bones even stronger.
- Lowers blood pressure – Exercise strengthens your heart, which means it won’t have to work as hard to supply blood and oxygen to your body. That means less stress on your arteries and lower your blood pressure. In addition, exercise helps control your weight, another factor that contributes to high blood pressure.
- Speeds up metabolism – By increasing muscle mass, you’ll burn more fat and torch calories. The harder you work the more you’ll increase your metabolism.
- Improves your sex life – yes, I said it. Hormonal balance and body confidence are at the heart of this benefit.
- Increases your energy – Pumping more oxygen and blood to your cells delivers nutrition and hydration that enhances energy (and those endorphins add a boost, too!)
- Delivers healthy glowing skin – When you exercise, you pump blood throughout your body, you sweat out skin-sapping toxins, you move your lymph and you detox your skin. You’ll also deliver nutrition needed for skin repair – hello collagen!
- Reduces stress – One of the best ways to release built up tension, stress and anxiety is to sweat them out. Exercise reduces the stress hormone cortisol, balancing out your entire system and bringing in more calm.
- Improves sleep – Balancing your hormonal system puts your system back in the working order needed to encourage restful sleep.
- Strengthens the heart and lungs – Exercise works these two vital organs. The heart, like any muscle, gets stronger and more efficient with continued activity. In turn, your lungs become more efficient so that you don’t get breathless every time you exert yourself.
- Builds muscle – Stressing your muscles and lifting weights beyond what you are used to fatigues, tones and strengthens them. That increases muscle mass, keeping you lean, strong and fit.
- Increases flexibility – The more you move and lengthen, the further you’ll be able to go!
- Prevents back pain – By working the muscles of the entire body, especially the core and big back muscles, you’ll strengthen and improve posture and flexibility. This will instill mindfulness about the way you are sitting, standing etc. and make you more inclined to self-correct by pulling your shoulders back and your chest up.
- Increases blood and oxygen reaching the brain – This keeps you sharp and reduces the risk of neurological conditions such as dementia.
I bet you don’t need another reason to go work your butt off, right?? Now go out and get sweaty!!