First of all, let me thank Julie for inviting me to guest blog – as far as I’m concerned there is nothing more important in life than fitness (physical and mental) and great nutrition.
Whatever life throws at you, and often just a normal day is challenging enough in this day and age, with good fitness and nutrition as your foundation you are already winning!
As the main role models for our small people it is vital they see us looking after our bodies. The generation we are bringing up – for the first time in history have a shorter life expectancy than us due to obesity related conditions. Just let that sink in! Utterly horrifying!! Especially when it is preventable.
So let’s look at a few reasons why exercise is such a great big part of this puzzle.
Feel Good Factor
In recent years there has been lots more documentation about the release of your happy hormones as a result of exercise, specifically endorphins. This is associated with things like, a so called runners high and can help reduce depression, anxiety, stress and even symptoms related to PMS and menopause.
From my own personal experience and that of my clients, exercise has been a great symptom reliever (and even cure) from chronic conditions like anxiety and depression to acute things like a headache or stomach ache. We hear in the media just this week, following 2 celebrity suicides, that middle age people are the most at risk group for suicide, so the benefits of exercise for mental health should definitely not be overlooked.
This awesome feel good factor you get from exercise is amplified when you work out with friends, enjoying the the fun and camaraderie. There’s nothing like a group of people pushing and working hard towards a similar goal to bring people together. Also the setting and achieving of a sports or activity challenge is a great thing to train for and to feel success, elation and triumph once achieved – did some one say triathlon!!
It is such a true saying that you can’t out exercise a bad diet and if fat loss is your goal (I wish I could tell you otherwise) exercise alone will not cut it. However, exercise, for your overall health is hands down the best thing you can do! When you exercise (especially resistance training & weights) you increase your muscle mass and this increases your metabolism. Here’s the great bit! You actually use more energy, in total, resting (around 60% of total energy expenditure) so if you are resting with a higher muscle mass you are burning more energy!! #winning
Prevention is better than cure: The World Health Organisation (WHO) state that insufficient physical activity is one of the leading risk factors for death worldwide, increasing your risk of death by up to 30%!! When I was researching this blog, most of the medical papers were about using exercise to treat back pain, cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis etc. However there is plenty of research to show exercise massively decrease our chances of getting these diseases in the first place – now isn’t that a better way round!
Live long and prosper
Healthy heart: Robert Lustig, in his book, Fat Chance: The bitter truth about sugar, talks about a study in Taiwan looking at the death rates of over 400 000 subject that showed that just 15 minutes exercise a day could increase your life span by as much as 3 yrs! Even in people with known heart disease. That’s just under 4 days worth of exercise a year for a three years extra with your family and friends – I’ll take those odds! And those last 3 years are more likely to be physically and mentally healthy ones! So it won’t just be your children or grand children you are keeping up with – it’ll be your great grandchildren! Exercise in this instance could be just doing something that raises your heart rate (HR) to 60-80% of your maximum HR (220 – your age = Max HR) some ideas… Power walking, skipping, trampolining, dancing, up and down the stairs….
Just for fun, I asked the children what they thought the benefits of exercise are…..
Arnya age 11 – Helps you poo more regularly!!
Mikey age 9 – You can do the Mummy & Daddy race at sports day!
As I said at the beginning, I could go on forever about this subject but I think there is some pretty compelling reasons here to get your body moving and your heart racing. Whatever fitness means to you, the benefits are undeniable and far outweigh any discomfort you may feel on the lead up to or during a workout!
A little bit about the writer. Catherine is owner of Catherine Chapman Pilates based in Whitstable. Has been a qualified nurse for many years but decided to make fitness her full time passion. She lives with her personal trainer husband Mark and they have 3 Children, a Dog and a rabbit. She is currently taking part in the castle series triathlons which is 5 triathlons at various castles around Europe. You can follow her progress HERE.