Exercise is one of those things we all know we should be doing for our health, but do you really know why? It can improve your life both physically and mentally. You could even add years to your life!
Maintaining an active lifestyle has a slew of benefits as you age. If you are a regular exerciser, and you do not drink excessively or smoke cigarettes, you can add 5 to 10 years to your lifespan. It is not just about living longer either, it is about quality of life as well. The risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease are cut in approximately half through regular exercise of 30 to 60 minutes on most days. Without chronic illness, those golden years are more enjoyable.
As humans age, they lose muscle mass and bone density naturally. This is why falling, and breaking bones occur more frequently in seniors than in younger adults. Exercise, paired with a healthy diet, is one of the best ways to combat bone and muscle loss as you age. Furthermore, exercise has proven to provide the following benefits:
- An increase in strength
- Greater independence
- Reduction in falls and energy through the improvement of balance
- Reduction in the risk of chronic and fatal diseases (diabetes, heart disease, etc.)
- Boost in energy
- Improved mental health
Anxiety not only produces mental health side effects — it also manifests physical symptoms. Many psychologists theorize that anxiety is a physical reaction with mental side effects. It is believed to have stemmed from our reptilian brain’s “fight or flight” response.
Our brains are wired to keep us safe from potential dangers. In our development on Earth in the past, humans have had to worry about physical threats like wild animals or violent rival tribes. In modern times, we don’t have those physical dangers on a daily basis, so the human brain invents danger to react too. That feeling often presents itself as anxiety.
By exercising on a regular basis, you can expel the pent-up energy that anxiety causes and reduce symptoms. Exercise also produces chemicals in the brain like endorphins and dopamine that have been proven to combat symptoms of depressive disorders. In some clinical studies, exercise was as or more effective than pharmaceutical interventions.
Easy Ways to Get More Exercise
The biggest challenge for many people is finding the time and motivation to exercise each day. To receive the benefits of regular exercise, you do not have to be spending hours in the gym every day. Moderate exercise still provides the physical and mental benefits of intense workouts. To sneak in exercise, start small:
- Walk on your lunch break
- Walk up half an hour early to do a yoga flow
- Use a standing desk
- Take the stairs
- Use public transportation instead of driving
As you incorporate these things into your life, you will notice that you’re starting to feel better. This can create momentum for getting involved in other enjoyable activities to create a well-rounded, mentally healthy lifestyle.
Having trouble getting started? Our personal trainers can help.