Everyone wants to look and feel good, but sometimes our motivation can waver a little (or a lot). Anytime you’re struggling to find the energy to exercise, it’s a good idea to remember the long list of benefits exercise can provide. Once you’ve reminded yourself how important physical fitness is, you’ll likely find it much easier to get out of bed for that pre-work jog or a Saturday morning yoga class!

So, why should you make sure you find time for exercise?

13 Reasons to Exercise Regularly

There are many obvious reasons for exercising, like better physical and mental health. But there are also some surprising benefits to keeping fit. Let’s take a look at why you should keep fit:

1. Regular exercise can reduce your risk of heart disease by improving your muscles’ ability to draw oxygen from your blood. When your muscles are functioning as they should, your heart has less need to work harder to pump more blood to the muscles. Good cardiovascular health is important, regardless of age.

2. Exercise makes your heart more efficient, lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. This means your heart and cardiovascular system doesn’t have to work as hard to supply your body with oxygen.

3. Exercise can reduce your risk of getting colon cancer by up to 50%. Colon cancer is far more common than you may think, affecting 1 in 23 men and 1 in 25 women.

4. When combined with strength training, regular exercises like brisk walking, cycling, or swimming can half your risk of developing diabetes by helping your muscles better process glycogen. Glycogen is needed for energy maintenance, and when it’s impaired, it can lead to excessively high blood sugar and, eventually, diabetes.

5. Exercise helps you maintain more consistent energy levels. While exercise may make you feel tired in the moment, it can help you maintain steady energy levels over a long period.

6. Exercise can reduce inflammation. If you suffer from chronic inflammation, you can often reduce it through exercise. There are many conditions that will actually get better with some light exercise, such as walking or yoga, so it’s well worth talking to your doctor if you’re unsure what will best for you. Exercise can also reduce the adverse effects of many diseases that stem from inflammation.

7. Exercise can give you better skin. Oxidative stress occurs when your body’s antioxidant defences struggle to repair the cell damage caused by free radicals (molecules that act like a bull in a china shop inside your cells). This can cause early aging and other damage, but regular moderate exercise can increase the body’s production of natural antioxidants, protecting cells.

8. It’s much easier to maintain a healthy weight. We all know that cutting calories, carbs and sugars are effective ways to lose weight, but when you exercise regularly, you’ll have a little more wiggle room if you cheat a little on your diet. That doesn’t mean you can eat badly all the time and get away with it, but your body will be much more likely to use the calories you do eat, rather than storing them.

9. Exercise can relieve chronic pain caused by lower back pain, spinal cord injury, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, mechanical neck disorder, post-polio syndrome and several others. Just make sure you keep things gentle at first or work with a professional to ensure you only do suitable workouts.

10. Regular exercise can help you manage life’s difficulties. Many studies have proven that exercise improves mental health by minimizing depression, anxiety and negative thought patterns. It changes parts of the brain that regulate anxiety and stress and can increase brain sensitivity for serotonin and norepinephrine, improving your mood, self-esteem and cognitive function. Exercise has also been found to alleviate depression symptoms like low self-esteem and social withdrawal.

11. Your life insurance premium will be lower. Insurers generally assess things like your medical history, health conditions, alcohol intake, smoking and hobbies when calculating your life insurance premium. Some insurers also factor your weight into the cost of your premium since obesity and being overweight is linked to so many life-ending diseases.

12. Exercise improves memory and builds resilience to Alzheimer’s Disease. Exercise can help with your memory by increasing your heart rate, promoting the blood and oxygen flow to your brain. It also encourages the production of hormones that stimulate brain cell growth. Exercise has been proven to encourage the growth of the hippocampus. This part of the brain is important for memory and learning, and its growth can increase mental function in adults.

13. You’ll live longer and be around for your loved ones. Even if you care little for your own fitness and appearance, you likely care about being around to see your loved ones grow up. When you even just go out for a brisk walk for 20 minutes a day, or exercise for 30 minutes three times a week, and choose to walk or take the stairs regularly, you’ll drastically improve your lifespan. If you cut out bad habits and reduce your sugar intake, you’ll do even better. So, if you want to be around for your grandchildren and even great grandchildren, it’s time to get your trainers on.

6 Easy Ways to Get in Your Exercise

So now you’re feeling motivated, you’re probably thinking about how you can fit exercise in to your schedule. Don’t worry – you don’t need to start doing insane high-intensity workouts or finding an extra 5 hours a week to hit the gym.

Here are some simple things you can do to stay fit each day:

1. Walk and talk. If your job involves lots of phone conversations and you don’t need to be at a desk to take them, why not take your phone for a walk? Often we’re so focused on the conversation that we forget we’re even moving.

2. Walk, jog or cycle short distances wherever you can. Not only is this a great way to save petrol or bus money and do your bit to save the planet, but it’s also your daily workout!

3. Take the stairs. This may not seem like it would make much difference, but it does. Whether you have a daily goal of 15,000 steps or just want to get your heart rate up a couple of times a day, the stairs are a great way to achieve this.

4. Do as many things standing as possible. Sitting down for long periods puts the body in neutral, constricting circulation, slowing the metabolism, tightening the connective tissues and shutting off the muscles. Try a standing desk or get up to move frequently.

5. Join an online class. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a live stream you’ve paid for, but there are plenty of options on YouTube. Many classes require no exercise equipment, and some can be done in 5-20 minutes. Who doesn’t have 15 minutes to spare in a day?

6. Combine your cleaning sprees with your workout. Turn up your favourite music and dance through your house as you sweep, hoover dust, and scrub! Turn it into a celebration rather than a chore, and you might not even realise you’re exercising or cleaning.

If you’re thinking about your health and how you can be around for your loved ones, it’s also a good time to consider if you’re getting the best rate for your life insurance. If you’ve only just started thinking about life insurance or aren’t sure whether you’re getting a good rate, we’re here to help. We can review your insurance to ensure you’re getting a good rate and have adequate cover – if not, we’ll help you switch to a new provider at an affordable rate. Click here to learn more today!