5 Benefits to Exercise that aren't Weight Loss
So you want to start working out? You have a few pounds to lose and figure a workout routine is just the ticket to flat abs and toned arms. A good personal trainer or health coach surely can help you get started but to continue you’ll need more than just a “lose weight fast” program. I’m going to share with you an unpopular but incredibly important fact I discovered working with hundreds of men and women who, like yourself, began working out with me to lose weight:
You start for the weight loss and stay for the health benefits.
Yep – that’s right. No one will continue working out for weight-loss alone. For the majority of people, it’s not a powerful enough motivator to get you into the gym on days you’re feeling exhausted, sluggish, and fed up with life. It’s also not the best weight loss strategy. Sure, exercise is a key factor in getting healthy, however actual fat loss starts in the kitchen but I’ll save that for another day.
There’s a myriad of reasons to exercise that aren’t weight related – I’m going to tell you about the top five that are backed by science and also backed by transformations I’ve watched my clients experience.
Why Should You Exercise?
1. You’ll be happier
Study after study has reported exercise to be one of the most powerful antidepressants available today – and also the most widely underused. In today's busy world, we all want fast and easy solutions to complicated problems; everyone loves a quick fix. By exercising for just a short burst each day, not only will you do something awesome for your body you’ll also bring your mind increased satisfaction and happiness. Exercise boosts endorphins and dopamine in the brain leading you to feel happier, more satisfied, and motivated. See, even science wants you to exercise!
2. You'll have more energy
Are you slogging through your days drinking tons of coffee and wishing for a nap? You think the last thing in the world you want to do is exercise and can’t imagine finding the energy to get through a workout. If this sounds like you, a multitude of research shows the one thing you should be doing is exercise! You’ll pump your body full of oxygen rich blood, fire up your metabolism, and feel awesome about yourself after your workout. Low to moderate intensity exercise is one of the best ways to fight fatigue so get up and go for a walk, hit that spin class after work or just do some light resistance training in your living room when you wake up. Find something you enjoy and work it into your routine a few times a week. The good news is that the results come quickly here! Which leads us to ….
3. You’ll sleep better
Sleep disturbance is so common – we are constantly on the go and doing our best to manage stress, family, work and life. Clients often say they rarely sleep enough and they’re always tired. Sleep is critically important to maintaining a healthy body and a healthy mind however it is overlooked all too often by those on a weight-loss journey. Many trainers would argue sleep is as important (or more) than exercise in maintaining a healthy weight. You’ll have more energy during the day after your begin a regular exercise routine and you’ll be tired when it’s time to get to bed. It takes some time and a commitment to regular exercise to see this benefit but trust me, it will come!
4. Life will become easier
Sounds silly, right? But seriously, after a few months of a consistent workout routine, you’ll notice little tasks become easier. Clients often report small victories that we love to celebrate. For example, they ran after their kids or grand-kids one afternoon at the park and had never been able to do that before; sometimes it as simple as walking up the stairs without pulling on the rail and feeling a sense of pride and relief. Even small tasks like getting in and out of the car will suddenly become easier. Giving your body the love it deserves and keeping it strong will lead to better balance, better function and overall better quality of life. While we all love feeling strong and fit in the gym, the true benefits to exercise aren’t always experienced in those few hours in the gym. Your time in the gym should make your life better and make your body more prepared to enjoy each and every moment you have outside the gym.
5. You'll protect yourself from diseases
Aging is inevitable – our bodies begin to breakdown and bad things start to happen but many of them can be prevented or delayed with consistent resistance training. Training helps to improve muscle strength and improves muscles mass as well as strengthening the bones which is important to prevent osteoporosis as we age. Additionally, more muscle means your body will burn more calories at rest – providing an added benefit outside of the gym. Some additional benefits include a reduced risk of heart disease as well as lowering the risk of diabetes. The Center for Disease Control recommends that adults should do a minimum of 2.5 hours per week of moderate intensity aerobic activity per week and muscle building activities at least twice per week to experience improved health. You can read more about the details here (1).
This all sounds awesome, right?
All of us want to live happier, healthier, more productive lives. Time and time again, the research is showing that exercise is one of the major players in keeping our bodies and minds strong and healthy. If you aren’t already in a regular exercise routine, one of the best recommendations is to just start somewhere – some exercise is better than no exercise. Put it in your calendar and keep your commitment to yourself no matter what. This week, start with going for a few walks around the neighborhood. Next week, add in a few squats or some planks after your walk. In no time, you’ll increase your stamina and begin to feel all of the effects and more that I’ve covered here today. As always, if you need a little guidance or support, please reach out to me. I’m always here to help!