Earlier this year, I made a pact with myself to exercise more often. Before that, my exercise routine was sporadic. This year I wanted to make a concerted effort to take good care of myself, and that meant working out a little more often. I try to work at least four 20-minute sessions into each week. Since I’ve been exercising more regularly, I’ve noticed some fantastic benefits. I’m not talking about weight loss or improved muscle tone either. Even if you’re perfectly happy with your body, you could still benefit from a bit of huffy-puffy. Here are five reasons why you should start exercising (if you aren’t already).
1. It’s great for your skin.
Working out does wonders for my skin. It gives my face a healthy glow and helps to clear dirt out of my pores. If your skin is looking dull and lifeless, try an aerobic workout that will get your heart pumping and the sweat flowing.
2. It’s a great excuse to catch up with friends.
If you’re a social butterfly, you’re probably more likely to enjoy a workout if you get to do it with your mates. Joining a sports team or taking a class is a great way to meet new people and catch up with your friends. You can spot one another during your workout and then head out for a cuppa afterwards.
3. It’s brilliant for your mental health.
Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with depression. One of the suggestions that my counsellor made was that I start exercising regularly. At the time, I wanted to laugh in her face. I could barely muster the enthusiasm to get off the couch to make lunch, let alone go jogging. To my surprise, once I started forcing myself to do it, exercise really has helped me to manage my depression. The natural endorphins give you a boost, and you’ll feel so pleased with yourself when you complete each workout. Setting small fitness goals will help you to maintain a sense of accomplishment, which is good for your self esteem.
4. It helps to make “that time of the month” slightly more bearable.
Light exercise like yoga, pilates or walking are excellent for reducing cramps and aches during your period. If you’re feeling crabby and anxious, the focussed breathing that’s a part of many yoga techniques will help to calm your nerves and settle you down. Even a bit of light stretching will help to relax your body and soothe your mind.
5. It can be great fun.
Somewhere along the line, we started thinking that exercise had to be torturous to be effective. For me, that assumption originated from P.E classes at school. The idea that exercise has to be a chore is utter bollocks. There are loads of fun activities that you can do, such as dancing, hula hooping, yoga and gymnastics. You don’t have to get shouted down at boot camp to get a good workout. Find a way of moving your body that suits you and makes you grin. It will make it so much easier to work exercise into your routine if you actually enjoy it.
Do you like exercising? What’s your favourite thing about working out?