Tag Archives: workout

11 Exercise Benefits You Don’t See

exerciseWhat’s the most common reason why people exercise? To lose weight. Yet, physical activity provides so many more benefits. Do you want to feel better? Need more energy? Want to live longer? Then get out there and get moving!

Here are 11 important benefits to exercising that you don’t see:

Improved mood
If you’re in a bad mood or have had a stressful day, you can blow off some steam by going for a brisk 30-minute walk or working out at the gym. Exercise stimulates brain chemicals that make you feel happier and more relaxed. You may also feel better about yourself because you fit a workout into your day.

Energy boost
When you’re tired, the last thing you want to do is move. Yet, when you use energy to exercise, it gives you an energy boost. By exercising more regularly, you may also be able to eliminate fatigue and find that you have a lot more pep.

More confidence
Working out can make you look better on the outside. It can also make you feel better on the inside. Exercising can make you feel more empowered and boost your self-esteem. You feel ready to conquer anything.

Sleep better
We need our beauty rest so that our bodies can recover, repair damage, renew energy and clear the mind. Exercise is an all-natural sleep aid. People who exercise regularly have less insomnia and a higher quality of sleep.

Reduce stress
Exercise calms your body and your brain. After you work out, the levels of stress hormones – such as adrenaline and cortisol – drop. Especially after aerobic exercise, stress and anxiety melt away. You may also be able to cope more easily with stress when you feel confident about yourself.

Pump up your heart
If high blood pressure and heart disease run in your family, exercise can help you strengthen your heart. Being active boosts HDL or “good cholesterol” and lowers unhealthy triglycerides. Physical activity keeps your blood flowing and decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Combat disease
In addition to giving you a healthy heart, regular physical activity can help you prevent or manage a wide range of health problems. Do you have a family history of certain types of diseases? Get moving and reduce your risk of stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis and falls.

Relieve arthritis pain
Regular exercise can help ease your pain if you have arthritis. It can make your daily activities easier. Consider non-impact exercises like swimming. These types of exercises can be easier on your joints.

Strengthen bones
It’s important to keep our bones and muscles strong as we get older. Weight-bearing exercise, such as weight-lifting, walking, tennis and dancing, can help you strengthen and build bones. It can also help ward off osteoporosis and improve balance and coordination.

Look younger
People who work out often look younger than their friends. Now research has found that exercisers are truly younger on a cellular level than their peers. Exercise more and feel free to lie about your age!

Live longer
In addition to looking younger, regular exercise can add years to your life. You don’t have to be a hard-core fitness buff. Just get up and get moving. Even a little exercise can help you live longer than not exercising at all.

The bottom line: exercise is a great way to feel better, gain confidence, combat disease and improve chronic health conditions. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. So get moving!

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10 Exercise Tips for the Unmotivated

yoga-118151-mIt’s a new year and time to get into an exercise routine. Right? Well, if you’re reading this blog, then you probably fall into the unmotivated category with me. I love the idea of being physically fit and getting into a regular exercise routine. And while I like the idea of exercising, in reality, I have a hard time actually making it happen.

Here are 10 tips to get you on the right track to a more motivated and physically active 2016:

Just get dressed
If you’re not feeling in the mood to exercise, put on your workout gear. It usually helps give me more motivation to get started. I may still find a few ways to procrastinate, but I will get going eventually.

Make a list of workout buddies
There’s nothing like having an extremely enthusiastic friend who will bully and guilt you into exercising. It’s even better if you have more than one of these workout buddies. You can even call them when you’re unmotivated and let them harass you into exercising. You can also return the favor. What are friends for?

Find your passion
You have to find the fitness routine that works for you. It may take you a few tries to get it right. I really enjoy kickboxing. There’s something about kicking and punching that just makes me happy. You may enjoy the feeling of a runner’s high. Or, yoga and pilates may help you balance your mind and body. I also like to play sports with friends – I get to have a few laughs and fit in a workout at the same time.

Do an easier workout
If you’re feeling particularly unmotivated, do an easier workout than you had planned. You may have intended to run three miles on the treadmill, but just can’t get in the mood. Do something less intensive like getting on an elliptical machine or joining a yoga class. Maybe it’s a really nice day, and you would rather walk outside. As long as you do something, you still benefit and can avoid feeling guilty.

Get everyday exercise
Everyday activities can count as exercise, too. Take the stairs, rather than an elevator or escalator, whenever you can. Instead of fighting for a close parking spot, park at the end of the lot and walk. If you take a train or bus, get off a few stops early and walk. You can even vacuum, clean house, change bed sheets, mop the floor, or shovel snow to fit in more exercise.

Turn off the TV
When the TV is on, it’s hard to get motivated to do anything. Turn it off and get moving. You can come back to it for a few minutes after you finish your workout.

Delay gratification
Give yourself a goal for after you finish your workout. Do you like to have dinner with friends, browse at the mall, or maybe watch your favorite TV program? Make a deal with yourself that first you have to fit in your workout in order to do the fun stuff.

Stay active
It’s much harder to be motivated if you’ve been sedentary all day. Make sure you find ways to stay active. Go out for lunch, take breaks, or stretch periodically throughout the day. When it’s time to workout, you will already be more motivated.

Mix it up
It’s easy to get bored doing the same thing every day. Plan out your week’s exercise routine. Walk or run a couple of times a week. Play tennis, racquetball, or swim. Do a spin class, yoga, pilates, kickboxing or aerobics. Mix it up with weight training. Find what you enjoy and create a plan that will keep you interested.

Celebrate success
Reward yourself when you reach a specific goal or just for exercising on a regular basis. Just make sure your reward goes along with your fitness goals. If you’re trying to lose weight, buy a new outfit or book to read rather than rewarding yourself with an ice cream sundae. Or, put a dollar in a jar every time you workout and then spend it on something frivolous.

Use these tips to help you push past the unmotivated times and soon working out will become a healthy habit. You may even become an inspiration to those around you. Start working out now for a healthier, happier you!

12 Unexpected Benefits of Exercise

jogger-657075-mI know I should be exercising. I know it’s important to good health. I know it will help me find better life balance. Yet, I manage to make excuses and find reasons why I can’t fit a workout into my daily routine.

So, if you’re like me and need more motivation to just get moving, here are 12 unexpected benefits and rewards of exercise:

Reverse the effects of stress
You probably already know that physical activity is a stress buster. What you may not realize is that you are actually reducing stress levels. That’s because when you workout you reduce the levels of stress hormones – adrenaline and cortisol – in your body. You can calm your body and your mind to help you get in the right mindset to identify and tackle what’s causing your stress.

Release happy chemicals
Working out can help boost your mood. Exercise releases endorphins that help create feelings of happiness and euphoria. Studies show that exercise can even alleviate the symptoms of someone who is clinically depressed. In some cases, working out may be as effective as antidepressant pills.

Build self-esteem and confidence
Physical fitness can boost your self-esteem and improve your self-image. It’s not about age, weight or size – exercise can help elevate your perception of your attractiveness and self worth. You can also feel a sense of accomplishment when you finish a challenging workout or reach a difficult goal.

Alleviate anxiety
You might be surprised to learn that jogging can be more relaxing than a warm bubble bath. Getting on the track or treadmill for some aerobic exercise can help reduce sensitivity and anxiety.

Live longer
Research shows that regular exercise can add years to your life. Working out and being active can lower your risk of early death by 30%. We’re not talking extreme – just a little exercise can help you live a longer, healthier life.

Sleep better
Regular exercise may help you enjoy a good night’s sleep. Try walking, running, biking or strength training during the mid morning or early afternoon to promote better sleep. Avoid evening workouts because they may interfere with sleep patterns.

Boost your brain power
Exercise can make you smarter. A study has shown that mental agility improves when testing is conducted on a treadmill. When you’re physically active, more blood flows through all parts of your body, including your brain. Cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells and improve overall brain performance.

Get more done
Sitting on the couch or at your desk and feeling uninspired? Research shows that taking the time to exercise on a regular basis can increase productivity and leave you feeling more energized. Getting in a workout during the workday seems to benefit your health, mood, efficiency and even relationships.

Strengthen your bones
Your bones and muscles get stronger with physical activity. Weight bearing exercises, such as walking, dancing, tennis and running, can help lower your risk of osteoarthritis, help you maintain balance, and improve coordination.

Ward off illness
Many health experts feel that one of the most important habits you can adopt for good health is regular physical activity. Exercise may help prevent a variety of ailments from heart disease and diabetes to breast cancer and the common cold. A 30 to 45 minute walk every day can boost your immune system and help you lower your risk of chronic disease.

Be more creative
Vigorous exercise that gets the heart pumping can help boost creativity for up to two hours after you’ve finished. Physical activity can free your mind from your worries and help you let the creative juices flow. If you’re blocked at work, take a walk outside, get some fresh air and let your mind wander. You can free up your mind and refresh your brain.

Keep Alzheimer’s at bay
In addition to improving brain power and learning, exercise may also help ward off Alzheimer’s disease. Working out can boost brain chemicals that support and prevent the degeneration of the hippocampus, an important part of the brain for memory and learning. A daily walk or jog can help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s or even slow its affects once it’s begun.

Working out can have positive benefits beyond the gym. You can improve your mood, boost your self confidence, get more creative and increase your life span. Those are all good reasons to step away from the computer and get moving!

Get motivated to exercise in 2013

getting exerciseOne of my goals for 2013 is to get into a regular exercise routine. I seem to exercise in fits and starts. I do really good for a week or two and then something happens and I lose ambition. I might get a cold and not feel like exercising. Or work gets hectic and I bump exercising to meet deadlines.

And sometimes I’m just lazy. I don’t think I will ever be one of those people who looks forward to exercising. For me, it’s something I feel I should be doing but don’t really want to do – like going to the dentist and washing laundry.

After I exercise, I feel great. I am so proud of myself for doing it. It’s the making myself do it part that I struggle with. So, I am putting together a list of ways to get motivated – and hopefully stay motivated – to exercise in 2013. Maybe some of them will inspire you, too!

Set Goals
Start with simple short-term goals to keep you motivated. You can set weekly and monthly goals. By setting exercise goals, you can track your progress and have a sense of accomplishment. Make sure your goals are reasonable and will keep you interested in exercising. For instance, you can set a goal to get your heart rate up with 30 minutes of cardio exercise three times a week. Depending on how active you have been, you can walk briskly or jog. See how far you can run or walk in 30 minutes. Challenge yourself to increase the distance over weeks and months.

Maybe you want to run a 5K. Set goals to help you increase your speed and endurance as you train for the race. Maybe you want to fit into an old pair of jeans or look better in your swim suit. Set goals to help you get there.

Make It Fun
I have a mental block against planned exercise. I have a really hard time making myself get on the treadmill or put in an aerobics DVD. I would much rather exercise accidentally. I play volleyball once a week with friends from high school. We reminisce about the good old days, talk smack about our playing abilities, and have a great time. It definitely gets the blood pumping, and I use muscles that don’t get used on a daily basis. I also go bike riding with my family, play basketball with my son, and jump on the trampoline with my girls. Adding some variety to your exercise routine can also help keep you interested and motivated.

Find an Exercise Buddy
If you make plans with a friend to go to the gym, walk on the local track, or play tennis, then you feel obligated to follow through. It’s easier to get motivated when you know someone else is counting on you. It’s also more fun to exercise with someone. You can push each other to work harder and get in some social time, too.

Schedule Your Workouts
Write it down. Seeing your exercise times written on your schedule will help you view it as a real commitment. Think of it as an important meeting and mentally prepare that you are going to do it. If you workout at the same time on the same days of the week, you can turn exercising into a habit. Once you make exercise part of your daily routine, you will be that much more likely to stick with it.

Reward Yourself
I often bribe myself to exercise. I will plan my time on the treadmill to coincide with one of my favorite TV shows. I get to watch a great show, and I get in my exercise. I also reward myself for reaching my goals. For instance, if I workout 3 or 4 times a week for a month, I can spend $50 on new clothes.

Be Flexible
Try not to be too hard on yourself. There will be times when you don’t reach your goals. Maybe you need to reevaluate your plans and set new goals. Even if you only have time to walk for 20 minutes instead of 30, do it anyway. Any exercise is better than none at all. You may have a cold or the flu and miss a week’s worth of exercise. You may feel like you’ve failed and want to quit altogether. Give yourself a break. Exercise is a lifelong journey. You will fall off the workout wagon. The important thing is that you get back into your exercise routine with renewed enthusiasm.

We know we need to exercise. Exercise benefits the mind, body and soul. So, why is it so hard to workout regularly? Share your exercise tips with us. How do you get motivated to exercise?