Exercising is often thought of as a means to an end: as a way to change our bodies by losing weight.
While weight loss can be a helpful goal for many, thinking about exercise purely as a way to lose weight can lead to an unhealthy obsession over how many pounds you’re losing.
Focusing on weight loss alone also makes exercise far less enjoyable, and can leave you less able to appreciate all the other benefits of getting moving.
There are dozens of reasons why exercise can improve your life, regardless of whether or not it makes you lose weight. Soon you’ll have enough confidence to strut your stuff in fancy lingerie, weight loss or no weight loss.
A better immune system
The healthier your body is, the more able it will be to fight off nasty viruses when they come calling. Some studies suggest that exercise can increase the circulation of immune cells in your body, improving your ability to fight off infections. Better cardiovascular health also lowers your risk of developing conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
Exercise can boost your mood in a number of different ways, and can even help fight mental illness. For one, exercising boosts production of endorphins, which are hormones that make you feel happy. Exercise can also help distract you from negative thoughts and offers the satisfaction of achieving a goal.
Thanks to the way that exercise tires out your body and mind, it’s also likely to improve your ability to sleep well. The only thing to be aware of is that exercising very close to bedtime may actually keep you awake, so try to leave one or two hours between the activity and going to sleep.
It might sound counter intuitive, but exercising can actually improve your energy levels. This is because it increases oxygen circulation around your body as well as boosting production of mitochondria cells, which create energy.
Feeling your body slowly get stronger is another great benefit of regular exercise. Improved strength is also likely to improve your confidence in yourself.
How to get started
Join a gym
The first step to take is joining a gym. There should be plenty of choices open to you with a range of pricing options.
Make sure to check out what facilities the gym has before you commit. Many gyms offer free passes to let you try them first.
Get a friend to exercise with you
Getting a friend to come with you is a great way to keep yourself accountable and avoid missing sessions.
Plus it’ll make the experience more fun for you both.
Start small to build up the habit
You don’t have to dive in with hours-long gym sessions if you’re a beginner.
In fact, most experts would recommend starting very small – even with just ten minutes – to make sure that you keep coming back consistently.
This will allow you to build up your capacity over time and reduce the risk of you giving up.
There’s a reason why so many people bring headphones to the gym. Music is a great way to keep yourself motivated while you work out.
Just find your favourite tunes, head off to the gym and you’ll be feeling great in no time.