Everyone has different reasons to exercise. Most people start a program in order to lose weight, but if weight loss is not your goal, there are many other reasons to exercise. For me, the most important reason is improving overall health. My family has a history of heart disease as well as several types of cancers, so I try my best to eat right and exercise as preventive medicine. However, it’s the immediate benefits I feel that helps me to stay on track. Below are the top reasons I exercise.
I use working out as a way to deal with stress. Stress causes fatigue, lack of concentration, and high blood pressure. When I go to the gym, I am focusing on nothing else other than my routine, which gives my mind a break from worry, thereby helping to lower blood pressure. Exercise also increases production of the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters – endorphins, which helps us to feel happier and better able to handle life’s daily stresses.
I have had lower back pain since I was a teenager. One day I was just walking along and I had such a pain go through my lower back that my knees buckled under me. After a doctor’s visit I started exercises to strengthen my back, and it manages my pain. If I go too long without exercise (such as when I was injured recently), my lower back will begin to ache horribly. Those happy hormones we spoke of under reason #1 – endorphins – also act as natural painkillers. Exercise and stretches can also help hip, knee, or shoulder pain as well. (If experiencing pain, consult with a doctor before starting an exercise program)
In this period of my life, sleep has become erratic at times. Some nights I’ll sleep like a log and other nights it seems all I do is cat nap. This seems to be normal for many people as they get older. One study has shown that exercise can help ….researchers stated “participants who exercised reported that their sleep quality improved, raising their diagnosis from poor to good sleeper”. Not all exercise has to be a workout in the gym. I have found that Yoga is also a good way to relax the body and calm the mind, promoting a more sound sleep. My favorite pose include is the child’s pose. For a relaxing sequence to try click here.