As Kev left for his run this morning, I got thinking about how important exercise is to both of our day-to-day lives, and how – even on vacation – we both make fitting it in a priority.
Once you’ve been exercising for a while, it becomes a habit (and you can see my tips here for making the habit set in!), and you’ll start to feel “off” when you haven’t exercised for a while. For me, the boost of energy, stress relief, and self-confidence that exercise provides is plenty to keep me coming back over and over again.
If you haven’t exercised in a while, or if you struggle with making it a part of your daily routine, here are my 7 Reasons to Fit Exercise Into Your Daily Routine.
- Benefits for your long-term health. It’s hard for us to focus on doing something now when the benefits are intangible and not instantaneous. But thinking about how my healthy lifestyle will improve my quality of life – and number of years – is motivating and exciting. Among many, many other proven benefits, exercise can increase your HDL (“good” cholesterol), lower your triglycerides, and help prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and so many other diseases and ailments.
- Increased energy and enhanced mood. Even if it means waking up earlier, I have so much more energy throughout the day if I’ve gotten in some form of exercise. Although the exact scientific mechanisms are still debated, it’s clear in many studies (like this one) that exercise can vastly improve your mood and give you more energy. Even though I look pretty sweaty, I always have some of my biggest smiles on in pictures where I’ve been exercising … the endorphin rush is a real thing, for me!
- Boosted memory function. Many studies (like this one) show that exercise increases your memory in both the short-term and the long-term. We could all use some improved memory!
- Weight control. Even if you’re not trying to lose weight, exercise is helpful in controlling your weight and keeping your body toned. If you enjoy eating as much as I do, having a regular exercise routine ensures that you can continue enjoying lots of delicious, healthy food. I often joke with friends that the reasons I exercise are 1/3 for the health benefits, 1/3 for the way it makes me feel (in terms of energy, mood, and confidence), and 1/3 so I can enjoy eating! (Of course, I certainly don’t encourage unhealthy, extreme attitudes like “I can only eat this if I exercise” or “I have to run x miles if I want to eat this”).
- Self-confidence. Like I mentioned above, exercise makes me feel good about myself, and studies show it does the same for others. Even when you’re struggling through a tough exercise session (like I am in this hilariously hideous picture), the feelings of accomplishment that you’ll get after you’re done are second to none.
- Increased productivity. I can tell a definite difference in my stress level and productivity at work between days when I’ve exercised in the morning and days that I haven’t. Studies (like this one) confirm that this is a real result of exercise, so tell your boss that encouraging his or her employees to exercise (via flexible hours, gym facilities in the building or included in workers’ benefits, etc.) benefits the company as well!
- Lower stress, anxiety, and depression. I think this one ties to many of the other benefits listed here – when you feel better about yourself, have more energy, and are healthier, your mental health will improve as well. Numerous studies (like this one) have shown the benefits of exercise on stress, anxiety, and depression. What better reason to exercise than living a happier life?
So tell me in the comments … why do you exercise? Which one of these reasons motivates you the most?
Those are all great reasons. I found that for my aging parents, physical activity is a top priority for maintaining their quality of life. After retiring and moving to FL they took up pickleball. Apart from being low-impact, there is a great social aspect – they’ve got a whole new circle of friends now- and that is another critical part about aging, keeping socially active and engaged to ward off loneliness -which has lots of negative effects.
I exercise for long term health benefits as well as the instant gratification of wellbeing, feeling well that helps with self confidence.
I didn’t know exercise helped prevent diabetes and high blood pressure. I guess our bodies were designed to be active. Being active can be difficult in this day and age of modern devices; I’m thinking about getting a trainer to keep me on track.
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Exercise is more important to your overall wellbeing than most people think. It helps your mood and health!
I agree, Mallory! I always feel so much better mentally and physically once I’ve exercised for the day.
I totally agree. I’m always amazed when you hear or read articles stating that you should workout at least 3-4 times a week. It should be a daily practice even it’s a 2-3 min workout! It makes a huge difference for me, personally. I’ve recently made it a daily practice to do a least 20 push-ups and 20 squats a day.
Awesome, Wil – I love that daily practice! I certainly see the value of mixing up your workout schedule and don’t believe in going “all out” or having super long exercise sessions every day … that said, even when I have a “rest day,” I still try to fit in a little yoga, ab work, some push ups, or an easy cardio session like a walk or bike ride. Keep up the good work!
I exercise to stay happy and healthy. If I take more than 3 days off in a row I start to feel sluggish, slightly depressed, and not my top self. I use to doze off during work meetings before I got into a good workout routine, and now I’m the most attentive person in meetings, lol. 🙂 I feel to retain more at work and am sharper when I consistently work out. Also, huge confidence booster! Love the yoga pose of you!
Thanks for sharing, Angela! I totally relate to how you feel about dozing off during work meetings before you started exercising, and how you feel after taking several days off!