Healthy Lifestyle

Ten great reasons to keep moving

When it comes to your health and wellbeing, you can't do it just with food or just with exercise.

It’s easy to remember the food, but for many people, making exercise a part of their routine is more difficult. There are lots of ways to make this lifestyle change easier. We’ve got everything here from training tips, to serious motivation to body spot workouts.

Did you know that researchers have found that using weight loss as your motivation to exercise can make you more than half as likely to give-up?

Ten great reasons to keep moving
We know a regular exercise routine makes you happier, healthier and mentally sharper. But if that isn’t enough to keep you out there breaking a sweat, one of these motivational reasons may be the key.

1. You’ll become a brainiac
A University of Muenster, Germany, study found that people who ran 2, 3 minute sprints, with a 2 minute break in-between, learned new words 20% faster than those who rested. When your heart starts really pumping, your blood flow goes up and more oxygen gets into your brain. It also encourages new growth in the areas of the brain that control multi-tasking, planning and memory.

2. Rest is not always best
For some time now, the idea that rest is best for reducing pain and stiffness in backs, knees, shoulders and neck has been turned on its head.

Exercise releases endorphins, the body’s natural pain relievers and feel-good chemicals. On top of this, a properly structured exercise routine or class with both stretching and strengthening, like pilates or yoga, may even make you less vulnerable to muscle and tendon tears.

Even chronic conditions, like arthritis, can benefit from regular exercise. A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study found that sufferers experienced 25% less pain and 16% less stiffness after 6 months of low-impact exercise, with improvement felt after just a few weeks.

3. Work is better
Research has shown that workers who performed regular vigorous exercise, like jogging or cycling a couple of times a week, took about half the sick leave compared to non-exercising co-workers. People who exercise before work or at lunchtime generally report that they think more clearly, get more done and work together with colleagues more effectively.

4. You feel sexy
Being physically active pretty much ensures you have a better body image. And when you have a better body image, you feel more attractive and sexy. In fact, a Pennsylvania State University study found that women aged from 42 to 58 felt more attractive after 4 months of walking or yoga even if they didn’t lose any weight.

5. Your dental bills are less
A study carried out at Case Western Reserve University has found that exercise plays an important role in healthy gums and teeth. Adults who did 30 minutes of moderate activity 5 or more times a week were 42% less likely to suffer from periodontitis. The reason is believed to be the same reason exercising helps prevent heart disease, it lowers levels of inflammation-causing C-reactive protein in the blood. But you should still floss daily and get regular dental checks.

6. Cold? What cold?
Here’s another good reason to keep up regular exercise. It boosts your immune system, so you’re ready to fight off colds and other viruses. The key is moderation, excessive exercising can actually reduce your immunity.

7. Sweet dreams
Don’t sleep well? Walk for 30 minutes at least 4 days a week and see if sleep is still a problem in a couple of weeks. As we age, our sleep patterns change. You can exercise at night, but make it light to moderate and don’t do it too close to bedtime.

8. Bye-bye bloat
OK, let’s get down to the nitty-gritties. If you feel bloated around the middle, don’t stay put. Studies have shown that moderate exercise that raises your heart rate and breathing also stimulates natural contractions in the intestinal muscles, aiding digestion to help prevent constipation and gas build-up.

9. See clearly
Yes, exercise is even good for your eyes. Age-related macular degeneration is an incurable disease that makes reading, driving and seeing fine details difficult and is the most common form of blindness over age 60.

The good news is an active lifestyle can cut your risk of this disease by up to 70%, according to a British Journal of Ophthalmology study of 4,000 adults. If you’re active outdoors, remember to wear sunglasses all year round.

10. Enjoy instant energy
Forget sugar, caffeine and other stimulants. If you’re tired, go for a walk. Even if it’s just a brisk 15 minutes. Regular exercise boosts chemicals in your brain, such as norepinephrine and dopamine, which pep you up, and serotonin, a mood enhancer.

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