We all want to be productive throughout our day, whether that be our workday, keeping up with our partner, pets, kids, or, grandkids, and looking forward to waking up each day… right?
Many of us have been forced to move even less than before due to gym closures, new work/learn-from-home schedules, and being somehow busier than ever. Exercise often is the last thing many want to think about when planning out our daily schedule, yet adding even just 20 minutes or more per day of movement can vastly improve both your overall physical and mental wellbeing, in turn adding years [and even happiness] to your life.
Here are six ways that daily exercise or movement can enhance and improve your health:
#1. It’s good for your heart.
This is an obvious one, but it’s always worth repeating. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. Additionally, excess body fat is a risk factor for heart disease and other heart-related conditions. Complemented by a well-rounded nutrition plan, exercise can help with a reduction in body fat, which can lower your risk for heart disease short- and long-term.
After a big meal, do you instantly move to the couch to relax or go back to work at your desk? While it might seem like it feels better to do so, it’s actually more beneficial for your body’s digestive system to get some form of movement in after a meal. Body movement post-meal promotes the stimulation of the stomach and intestines, causing food to move through more rapidly. You’ll digest your food no matter what you do, eventually, but moving around will help make the process smoother so you can avoid that “heavy” feeling after a big meal.
#3. It may help balance your body’s hormones.
A less commonly known benefit is that exercise can impact hormones in the body. Hormones act as the body’s postal service delivering messages and mail. Created in the brain, they go out to different parts of the body to deliver mail that tells your organs and cells what to do. Sometimes our daily habits can throw some important hormones off and alter some pretty important bodily functions, like your metabolism, sex drive, sleep, stress, and digestion to name a few. Exercising empowers our bodies to keep all of these at an optimal level so our quality of life is in tip-top shape.
#4. It can actually give you more energy.
A common objection to adding exercise into someone’s daily routine who hasn’t been doing much if any is that they just don’t have the energy to work out on top of ALL the other things they do. Here’s the hard pill to swallow though: you probably don’t have energy because you’re not moving enough. The body is stiff and immobile from sitting all day on your couch, at your desk, or in the car, and the heart has to work extra hard to do the bare minimum because it’s not in the best shape either. Furthermore, exercise is associated with the release of neurotransmitters and proteins called neurotrophic factors, which cause nerves to make new connections, possibly improving brain function.
This is a cause-and-effect benefit: exercise increases heart health, keeps us more mobile, helps us sleep deeper, and can improve mood and brain health too. All of those new improvements lead the body to have more energy to do the things you enjoy, on top of your long list of to-dos each day.
#5. It reduces undesirable effects of aging.
We see it every time we spot someone older than us—moving slower, more susceptible to falls, and joints not working as well as they used to. Exercise literally acts as preventative maintenance for all of these “side effects” of aging. Keeping your body in decent to great shape from an early age, consistently, will help you live a more active and less painful lifestyle as you progress into later years. It is never too early or too late to start either—a high school or college student learning proper form on their movement patterns will help them avoid injury and chronic pain into their 20s and 30s. If you swap your mid-life crisis sports car for a gym membership or home-gym set up in your 40s or 50s, you may be avoiding assisted living for a lot longer when you get into your 70s, 80s, and beyond.
Getting a workout or brisk walk in in the morning often will set a positive and healthy tone for the day ahead. Since you didn’t press snooze three times and rolled out of bed, you’re more likely to want to continue the streak and reward yourself with things that are good for you: a healthy lunch and/or dinner instead of fast-food take-out, for example.
Each healthy decision contributes to the big picture that is your overall health, but also leads to bigger goals. Maybe your goal is to simply walk for 30-minutes a day. After doing that for a month, you might get more ambitious and decide to train for a 5K. Who knows what you might be inspired to do next?
The list of exercise-health benefits could go on and on. Hopefully these six reasons will inspire you to get started, resume, or continue on your own exercise journey. Remember that the beauty of exercise is that it is for everyone and anyone; there are hundreds of modalities, and you can start small and still make health gains. If you’re looking to supplement your home workouts with gym-quality fitness equipment, contact our Precor At Home support team. They can help you find the perfect equipment to accommodate your space and workout needs!
About the Author
Rachel is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and IFBB Figure Pro. She holds an Associate’s Degree in Exercise Science and is a Certified Nutrition Coach through NAMS. She has a combined 7 years of experience guiding clients through their fitness journey both in person and online.