Embracing an active lifestyle. The many benefits of moving more

Most of us go through spells in our life when we make a concerted effort to move more. Usually, this relates to a health drive in the New Year or a last-ditch attempt to get beach body ready. If you were honest, and somebody asked you about your reasons for trying to be more active, what would you say? For many of us, increasing the amount of exercise we do is linked to trying to shed a few pounds. Although losing weight can be incredibly beneficial if you’re not in the healthy BMI range, there are countless other benefits of physical activity. This is why it pays to embrace an active lifestyle all year-round. If you live a sedentary lifestyle or you tend to lose interest in working out very quickly, here are some of the many benefits of moving your body more.

Reducing the risk of obesity
Many of us try and work out more in a bid to drop weight on the scale. If you are overweight, combining healthy eating and regular exercise can help you reach that healthy range. Exercise burns calories, which causes you to lose weight. Obesity is one of the developed world’s most alarming health threats. In the US, more than a third of adults are obese, and around 70 percent of adults are overweight. Being overweight puts the body under pressure, but it can also contribute to a heightened risk of mental health disorders. Obesity increases the risk of life-threatening conditions, including heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer.

Improving sleep patterns
If you exercise, even for just 10 minutes a day, studies show that you’re much more likely to get a good night’s sleep. Everyone has nights when they struggle to doze off, but chronic insomnia can have serious implications for your physical and psychological health. If you are having trouble sleeping, try and increase the amount of exercise you do. You don’t have to do a workout at the gym. Take the dog for a walk, play a round of golf or go for a jog in the park after work.

Lowering the risk of dementia
Dementia is one of the most potent threats to human life. A group of conditions and symptoms that are caused by changes in brain activity, dementia is the sixth biggest killer in the US. Every 66 seconds, someone develops dementia in America. You can find more details here about dementia and dementia care, but it’s also wise to be aware of ways you can lower your risk of developing dementia. Living an active lifestyle is one of the best things you can do to stay healthy. A sedentary lifestyle is linked to heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes, all of which are risk factors for dementia. Studies also show that people who don’t exercise are more likely to develop issues with their memory and cognitive function later in life.

Improving mental health
Mental health conditions affect up to 1 in 4 people in the US. Exercise is proven to be an incredibly effective self-help technique for people with mild or moderate mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Exercise is not just about strengthening the muscles and building stamina. It’s also a means of stimulating the mind, and it triggers chemical changes in the body, which lift your mood and make you feel happier. When you’re on the move, your body releases happy hormones known as endorphins and the serotonin levels in your brain increase. Exercise can also help you tackle stress and manage your emotions. If you’re feeling angry or frustrated, for example, doing a yoga class may help you relax and feel calmer or a kickboxing or spin class could help you channel that anger in a positive way.

Conditioning your body
If you exercise on a regular basis, you can improve your circulation, make your muscles stronger and improve your general fitness and endurance. By doing this, you’ll improve the condition of your body, boost your immunity and reduce your risk of injuries.

Increasing your energy levels
You may feel like the last thing you want to do is a workout when you’re exhausted, but if you can muster up the motivation to take a walk, go for a swim or play a game of tennis, you’ll reap the rewards. Exercise increases energy levels and it can reinvigorate and revive you. At the time, when you’re trying to complete that last mile or the final game, you may feel tired, but afterwards, you’ll feel so much more alert and energetic.  

Improving your self-esteem
Many people suffer from low self-esteem. If you lack confidence, try and exercise more. Taking up a new activity or doing sports on a regular basis can help you develop new skills, become more ambitious and feel more confident. Exercise can make you feel better about the way you look, but it can also encourage you to set new goals and feel better about what you can accomplish.

Be honest. Do you do enough exercise? Current guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. If your idea of a workout is walking from the car to the office or the sofa to the kitchen, now is the time to up your game and start moving more. You don’t have to be overweight to reap the rewards of regular exercise. Exercise is beneficial for everybody, no matter your shape or size. If you start being more active, you’ll soon notice a positive difference in both your physical and mental health. If you’re not used to exercise, don’t panic. You don’t have to become a gym bunny overnight or spend all your time running or cycling. Set aside half an hour 5 times a week to do a yoga, Zumba or spin class, go for a jog with a friend or take a trip to your local tennis club or swimming pool. You can do anything that gets your heart racing, so bounce around on a trampoline, learn to dance or get your friends together and go skating.

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