The benefits of exercise

Working up a sweat has far more to offer than just keeping you fitting into your favourite pair of jeans

As lovely as it is to be curled up cosily on the sofa watching a new boxset, sitting down less and moving our bodies more is super important for keeping us fit and healthy. If the thought of working up a sweat brings you out in a cold sweat, take a breather. Knowing more about how exercise benefits your whole body could help turn any no-tivation into some motivation. You got this!

What is exercise & how much do we need?

Exercise is any activity that moves your body enough to raise your heart rate, make you breathe faster and feel warmer. Doing some sort of physical exercise is a great habit to get into – any type is good for you and the more you do the better. It’s recommended adults aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week (things like brisk walking or riding a bike) or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week (running, aerobics or team sports). The easiest way to stay active is to slot in time during your daily routine, to make exercise a part of your everyday life. Slipping on some lycra will soon be like brushing your teeth!

Why is it important to exercise?

Face it, you’d be reading this all day if we listed every single reason why exercise is good for you. Stick with us though, as here’s seven of the best reasons why being fit and active is great for keeping you at your best.

Helps to maintain your weight

Eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly go hand in hand to help you maintain a healthy weight. If you’re struggling to find an activity that works for you, don’t give up. Remember there are so many different ways to get up and get your body moving. It really doesn’t have to be (or shouldn’t be) boring. Whatever you enjoy, setting yourself different targets and goals can help you feel more motivated and focused throughout your fitness journey. 

Helps with your mental health

If you wake up in the morning and leave your smile in bed, getting your heart pumping can be a great way to help balance your body and your mind. Exercise helps release endorphins, the wonderful happy hormones in your brain that leave you feeling great. If today’s not the day to hit the gym or get on your bike, that’s OK, start small – it’ll still do you good. Stretch your body for five minutes or take a 10-minute walk outside.

Helps reduce the risk of certain health conditions

Whatever your age, keeping active can help you lead a healthier and happier life (sign us up!). Turns out, those who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing many long-term health conditions like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and even some cancers. Exercise can also lower your risk of early death by up to 30 percent. Now if that’s not what you need to hear to lace up your trainers, we don’t know what is!

Helps relieve stress

Looking to blow off some steam from your busy day? Many people find exercise a positive way to help cope with difficult times and manage everyday stress. Working up a sweat can boost your mood, improve your mental wellbeing and can be a great distraction from any worries and other emotions you might be feeling and dealing with.

Helps you sleep better

Tried every trick in the book to help you enter the land of nod? If counting sheep just won’t cut it and you're struggling to snooze, exercising regularly can help you to drift off into a peaceful slumber. Timing is everything though. Don’t train too close to bedtime, as this can boost your energy levels leaving you feeling wide awake rather than sleepy and relaxed.

Helps strengthen your muscles and bones

Just like our muscles become stronger with exercise, so can our bones. Weight-bearing and resistance exercises like hiking, jogging, playing tennis and lifting weights, are great ways to keep your bones strong. As we get older, we tend to lose muscle mass, which can leave us open to injuries. Exercising regularly throughout life can really help us maintain muscle strength, coordination and good balance.

It’s a great way to meet new people

Use your exercise time to connect with new people whilst working up a sweat. Running not your thing? That’s cool. How about trying a yoga or dance class? There are so many different classes to try, many of them available online for you try at home whenever you fancy. When you find a workout style that works for you, you’ll find it so much easier to get stuck in.

Remembering all the benefits of getting your body moving when you’ve lost your get-up-and-go can really help you to, well, get up and go! Whether you’re a fitness fanatic or you’re just starting out, the next time you work out, you’ll have an added hop, skip and a jump to your step, knowing all the ways you’re keeping yourself happy and healthy.