Start to exercise

A lady exercising

Approaching exercise the right way is a huge predictor of how successful you will be at making it a significant part of your daily routine. Exercise does not have to be difficult, or a chore, or this dreadful activity. It is in fact easy to find ways to exercise that you will love so much and be unable to do without.

For some people, exercise is a habit, for others, exercise is a way of life. If you don’t belong to any of the groups, and exercise isn’t already a part of your day, whether major or minor, there are over one hundred and thirty three reasons why you should start to exercise.

The benefits of exercising are numerous. Exercise has shown preventive advantages in several disease states. There are several medical conditions which exercise is officially recommended and several more for which exercise is predicted to play a significant role in preventing. People of all ages will benefit from exercise and it’s great that you are considering making it a permanent fixture in your life.

Exercise boosts your fitness and confidence levels. People who regularly exercise have an improved quality of life.

Exercise makes you happy

A fit and happy lady

Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, happy people don’t just shoot their husbands” – Elle (in Legally Blonde).

This might be an overly simple way of putting it, but an accurate statement nonetheless. Exercise has been known for many years to improve the symptoms of depression and reduce the level of violence in people. Exploring post exercise brain scans of subjects an increase in neurotransmitter secretion in parts of the brain that are known to control both emotions and learning ability. You can say that exercise makes you happier and smarter!

Regular exercise releases neurotransmitters, endocannabinoids and endorphins and the more routinely you exercise, the longer their effects on the brain lasts. These endorphins, endocannabinoids, and brain neurotransmitters are feel good chemicals that may be able to ease some of the symptoms of depressions. Regular exercising participants showed long lasting effects from the release of these chemicals. Whether you are clinically depressed or not, everyone could do with a little extra happiness. Exercise is an especially effective way to achieve this extra sunshine.

Exercise makes you healthier

Exercise causes changes in your immune system that will make you healthier. Lack of exercise has been shown to be a major cause in the development of several chronic diseases. Even if you have no special conditions that exercise can improve, a habit of not exercising places you at higher risk of developing certain chronic conditions eventually. A chronic deficiency of exercise in your lifestyle has a negative effect on your health and even on the regular functioning of your organs.

Exercise has been officially listed as a good measure for primary prevention of thirty-five chronic conditions, some of which include depression, type 2diabetes, coronary heart disease, colon cancer, endometrial cancer, hypertension, and stroke.

Exercise gives the immune system a boost. Exercise can cause alterations in white blood cells and antibody levels, which can translate to a reduced incidence of illnesses. A recent study showed that people who exercised routinely had a 50% reduction in the number of colds they got. This was both in children and in adults.

Exercise makes you live longer

An old couple

It might be hard to believe, but exercise has been proven to have actual anti-aging superpowers. If you are on a search for the ever elusive and mythical fountain of youth, then exercise is your surest map. Exercise has been shown to have the ability to reduce your age on a cellular level.

With regular exercise you can slow down your cell aging process, enough to reduce your biological age by almost a decade. Sounds like the stuff of science fiction.

A look at telomeres -telomeres are caps at the ends of chromosomes that keep them from deteriorating and shorter telomeres have been associated with many age-related diseases – uncovered the fact that the telomeres in adults who had a regular exercising habit had a biological advantage of approximately 9 years over adults who lived a sedentary lifestyle.

In a nutshell, it has been scientifically proven that exercise can make you live a longer life, and have a healthier and happier life, literally. If ever there was a good reason to exercise, then it’s these three reasons are as good as any.

Before you start to exercise

We all crave a better life and while that may mean different things to different people, exercise is an easy, cheap and a great way to get a better quality of life. If you have decided that you want to start to exercise, that’s great. You shouldn’t just jump in, you have to prepare yourself so you have better chances of creating practices that are sustainable in the long run. Practices that you enjoy can easily become habits. Before long you will find that having to exercise has become the highlight of your week. It’s important for you to perform a few checks before you start to exercise. Think of them as the foundation that you need to ensure successful exercising habits.

Check with your doctor

We see this all the time, the opening credits before your favourite aerobics video, or the warning sign on the equipment at the gym. Check with the doctor. Well, don’t disregard the sign, before you start to exercise, it is important to check with your doctor. If you have any pre-existing health conditions, your doctor may require you to tailor your physical activity to suit your specific needs. If you are as healthy as the proverbial horse, it is still important to undergo a physical check and get an okay from your doctor before you begin to exercise.

Check with yourself

You are important. You are the biggest piece of the puzzle and nothing can come together without you. It is important to ask yourself certain questions. What degree of motivation do you usually need? What difficulty levels can you withstand, especially if you are a beginner? How much time do you have to exercise each day, each week? How frequently can you get yourself to exercise? Do you need a personal trainer? Do you stay focused better or in a group? What physical activities do you enjoy the most? The answer to the questions will help you better understand the kind of exercise that would better suit your lifestyle and set you firmly on the path to success.

Check your reasons

Exercise as a tool can be used to achieve many goals. Before you start to exercise, you would need to define your reasons for deciding to add exercise to your daily or weekly routine. Do you have a health condition that exercise has been proven to improve? Do you simply want to increase your chances of having a longer disease-free life? Do you want to lose weight? Or would you like to stay fit? Do you aim to build muscle? The answer to all these questions will determine your perfectly fitting workout plan and the pace with which you will start and continue to exercise. Knowing exactly what your goals are makes you more likely to stay on the course of being a person who engages in routine exercises.

Check for safety

Everybody knows that safety should always come first. Whether you intend to do low physical activities or high impact exercises, you should always remember to focus on workout injury prevention.

Don’t forget the importance of taking five minutes to warm up and cool down. This has been shown to prevent injuries. Doing heavy physical activities? Then always start slowly and increase your difficulty levels as you go. Remember to pace yourself, training too hard, or too often can only increase the risks of injuries.

Make sure your choice of clothes and shoes are fitted to your exercise type. Remember to dress for the weather even if you’re exercising. You can still get hypothermia when exercising in cold weather. Watch your posture. Stay hydrated by drinking water as frequently as you can and then drink some more. Don’t try to push past any pain or fatigue, go with what your body says you can or cannot do.

Beginning to exercise

A group of friends exercising

If you are completely new to exercise as a part of your routine, you would need a guide on how to create optimal habits that are both worthwhile and can be easily maintained.

There are several approaches to finding your own winning combination. The perfect approach would be to take your personality and preferences into consideration and choose activities that easily fit into your lifestyle and daily activities. This would make things you do come to you in the regular course of your daily life rather than you having to go to them.

Start slow, start easy

You don’t need to jump into a definite exercise pattern right off the bat. You could sneak little alternatives to your sedentary daily routine that get you more active without consciously pursuing exercise. Beginning to exercise doesn’t need to be an all or nothing process.

What is important is that you choose activities that you are the most comfortable with. Activities that you can easily convert to suit you. Many daily activities can be modified to elevate your heart rate or take your body out of its comfort zone. They can be thought of as exercise, especially in the exercise-naïve person. Try to choose the more physically active option for your daily activities.

  • Take the stairs instead of an elevator. Make it a habit to always take the stairs.
  • Park as far as possible from the grocery shop, from your home, or from your office entrance. This will make you walk a further than you are used to walking. It might seem like a little, but remember that drops of water make an ocean.
  • Clean up more often than needed. Every time you clean the home you are more active than sitting at home. Take a vacuum cleaner to your rug, a brush to your bath, or wash the plates yourself rather than use a dishwasher. These little changes make for a more active life.
  • If public transportation or cycling are available options, then take them as often as you can. That 5 minute walk to the bus stop does a lot more for your heart than you can imagine.
  • Play video games that make you active. Fun and exercise all rolled into one. A few examples include Wii Tennis, Wii Fit, Just Dance on Xbox, and Wipeout (create and crash). You can also play regular games while standing as a way to burn calories.
  • Try sit-ups before you get out of bed every morning. Or push-ups. Make it a game to see how much you can do before you run out of breath, or a challenge. Increase the numbers every week when you get used to the current number. It is fun and easy.

These are level one exercise activities, especially suitable for exercise naïve people. With these beginner tips, you will start to notice a difference in both your willingness and your ability to participate in physical activities in a few short weeks. This will give you the motivation to go to the next level. Scheduled activities.

Choose to enjoy exercising

A mother and her child exercising

Pick a hobby. Pick something you love and turn it into something you can love doing. Do you love the social scene? Then make your exercise choices social in nature. If you would rather not, then find the exercise option that fits you the most. Always make your choices about your personal preferences. When you do this, you are less likely to ditch exercises halfway through. Several fun ways to start to increase your exercise levels include

  • Exercise classes. There are several classes you could join to enjoy the social scene and exercise at the same time. Yoga classes, Pilates, Boxercise, cardiokickboxing, aerobic classes and circuits are easy ways to make sure you are looking forward to your daily exercise routine and not dreading it.
  • Join a running club, or find a running mate. Someone to secretly or openly compete with, or someone to simply enjoy running with. It doesn’t matter. Partnering up can make running more fun for you.
  • Team sport. Check your local community boards or sports centres and find a team sport that you can join. Making this a part of your weekly routine is a great way to get some exercise and have fun while at it.
  • Join a dance class, or two. Dance is one of the most enjoyable forms of exercise out there. You can learn to dance which is a very useful skill and at the same time get in your exercise while learning. There are several dance classes and you can choose based on the level of physical activity you want to sneak in. Waltz, tango, cha cha, hip hop or ballet, it doesn’t matter. Dancing is a great way to get some exercise while meeting new people or connecting with old friends.
  • Go hiking with friends. Organise a bunch of your friends to go hiking. You will enjoy yourself and be too distracted by the beauty to realise that you are getting exercise. It could be a picnic or a fun day at the park. Make it a weekly routine to keep yourself going if possible.
  • Get a gym membership. One of the most popular options out there. Be sure to get a gym membership that won’t make going to the gym seem like a chore for you. 24 hour gym is a sure-fire way to make sure that you don’t miss your workout because of a change in your routine.
  • Turn your home into a gym and use your household items for gym equipment. It is easier than it sounds. You can use stairs or a wall to work up a sweat or build cardio with tips from a professional.
  • Use the brain to burn calories. Challenging your brain can be a great way to burn calories. Play the violin, or play chess standing. You will burn a few extra calories doing it.
  • Go swimming regularly. Swimming is fun for everyone. Scheduling swimming classes are a great way to burn calories while having fun. The best part of swimming is that you don’t need a trainer or anything, just you spend some time doing laps in a pool with a friend or alone is enough exercise.
  • Get a fitness trainer. It can be difficult to get motivated and stay motivated while doing exercise even when it is something you love doing. A fitness trainer does much more than help you stay motivated. A fitness trainer helps you prevent injuries by making sure your postures are right for each exercise. A fitness trainer can help customise routines to meet your exercise goals and a fitness trainer is a huge part of keeping you motivated especially when you want to drop out.
  • Get fitness apps, wearables and fitness trackers. There are several fitness wearables that are not just fun to wear, but have a lot of fun features to help track your physical activities and have fun while doing it. Moov now, Samsung gear and TomTom Spark are a few fitness bands with fun features that include music, step tracking, rep based training and even swimming mode to give you the extra motivation that you need to keep on moving. Fitness apps for Android, iOS and windows that help encourage physical activity include Calorie Counter from MyFitnessPal, Runkeeper, Strava running and cycling GPS amongst others.

Exercise is the perfect tool to achieve an improved quality of life, especially when wielded properly. Exercise doesn’t have to be hard for it to benefit you. Stop procrastinating and start moving today.