Most people are aware that exercising can help you lose weight. Yet many of the other countless benefits of exercising often go unnoticed.
After all, some people have made it through 40, 50 or even 60 years without exercising regularly, so why start now? Clearly they have maintained their health to at least some degree, so why make life any harder? As some would say, ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’.
Well I am here to tell you otherwise – and to provide you with a few helpful tips for getting started along the way.
Why is exercise important?
Exercise is not just for those who desire a small waist and toned muscles, it is preventative medicine.
It is one of the main preventative steps you can take in reducing your risk of heart disease – the leading cause of death in adults in North America. In fact, exercise has been shown to combat a number of health conditions and diseases, including;
- Heart disease
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Type 2 diabetes
- Depression and anxiety
- Various sleeping disorders
We all know that aches, pains, cracks and pops can become more common as we age. But this is not necessarily the case for everyone. Similarly, experiencing low mood or depression or having to take more medication should not be considered inevitable with aging. We can help treat or even prevent many of these health related issues with exercise.
How do you get started?
As an exercise physiologist, I’d recommend these 4 tips for anyone trying to incorporate regular exercise into their life:
1. Change the way you perceive exercise. Exercise is not just a way to lose weight or gain muscle. Keeping health related goals in mind such as lowering blood pressure or cholesterol can give you a whole new perspective on the importance of exercise.
2. Find an activity or exercise you enjoy doing. Consider trying a new sport or something you’ve been wanting to learn. Studies show that participants are more likely to report intrinsic motives, such as enjoyment, for engaging in sport, whereas motives for exercise tend to be more focused on appearance and weight.
A common barrier to exercise is that some people don’t particularly like or feel comfortable in a gym atmosphere. If this is your case, finding a way to increase your heart rate while doing other activities such as dancing, walking or gardening can be just as effective.
3. Use an exercise tracker for positive feedback. Research has demonstrated that if stimulus, such as exercise, creates a positive response, like achieving a set goal, then people will seek to reproduce those feelings by engaging in the behaviour again.
4. Find a workout buddy. Two is better than one! Finding someone to workout with not only makes physical activity a social experience, but it also helps with accountability. A person is less likely to miss a workout knowing that a friend is waiting for them at the gym.
Still not sure how to get started?
Starting to exercise after years of inactivity can be a daunting task. Talk to your kinesiologist or personal trainer to help you get started on the right track and maximize your results. Copeman Healthcare offers Integrated Personal Training in one-on-one or group sessions at each of our clinics.
With just a bit of effort and commitment you can, and will, reap the rewards!