The Yellow-Billed Kites and Violet-Backed Starlings have returned to our skies, and green leaves burst from the bare trees. Spring is here, a wonderful time to exercise and enjoy the beautiful surroundings we live in. We’ve all heard that regular exercise is good for us, but do we really know the benefits of regular exercise? Regular exercise makes the heart stronger and lungs fitter allowing more oxygen to be pumped around the body with each heartbeat, as well as increasing the maximum amount of oxygen the body can take in and use. Consistent exercise lowers blood pressure and reduces low-density lipoproteins and therefore total cholesterol which reduces our risk of heart attack, stroke and coronary artery disease. We are also less likely to suffer from colon cancer and type 2 diabetes if we exercise regularly.
Consistent exercise makes muscles stronger and improves our range of motion in our joints which allows us to perform everyday tasks. Muscles are stretched during exercise which increases our flexibility and helps prevent injuries like falls and fractures especially in older people. Weight-bearing exercise like brisk walking, hiking, tennis, dancing or climbing stairs improves bone density when we are young helping prevent osteoporosis later in life. Non weight bearing exercise like, swimming, water aerobics, cycling, rowing or lifting weights or using resistance bands while seated can also improve joint movement and reduce pain of those suffering with osteoarthritis.
Regular exercise increases our level of endorphins in our bodies. These chemicals in our brain reduce pain perception and improve our mood and energy levels. Our self-esteem is boosted as our overall health and appearance improves. Exercising regularly encourages a healthy appetite, reduces constipation and improves sleep. Exercise can increase your body’s production of antioxidants which help protect your cells and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
So regular exercise is one of the best things we can do to prevent illness and preserve health and it can be done in a variety of ways, but how do we start?
Choose a form of exercise that you enjoy doing so that your exercise becomes consistent. It may be walking or running with friends or your dog, swimming, mountain biking, joining an outdoor gym or hiking and enjoy watching your fitness improve.
Invite friends to join you so you can benefit from training together and can motivate each other. It is far more fun exercising with friends.
Start small, just 30mins a day 5 days a week, and build up slowly as you get fitter so you don’t get injured.
CS Lewis said, “You can’t change the beginning but you can start where you are and change the ending.
Get started today, be consistent, and set goals. You’ll be so glad you started exercising regularly.