Exercise in January is Pointless

exercise makes you happy

How fit are you feeling right now?

Have your gym sessions or exercise routines broken up for the Christmas holidays yet?

Or maybe you don’t have a regular routine? Are you planning to make time to get fit as part of your 2016 goals?

Are you squirming in your chair yet knowing you ‘could do better’ – the phrase we dreaded on our school reports! Or perhaps you’re scrolling through this post as you cool down after a run and feeling virtuous but curious as to what I’m going to say?

I’m  a huge advocate of keeping fit and so I’m keen to share why you should exercise.  The benefits go far beyond burning calories.  So if you are being told by your GP, or simply have this nagging doubt that life would be better if you did, then let me share with you the reasons why you should make exercise a part of your routine.

1, Exercise is Better than Drugs!

During exercise powerful mood and mind boosting chemicals are released into the brain. They are natural and have no side effects (well only positive ones!) and are legal!

Be warned though you may get addicted!

Endorphins

Endorphins are chemicals which are released during exercise.  They help to reduce pain from exercise.   This in turn allows you to exercise longer and more intensely.  Endorphins are also responsible for:

  1. A euphoric post exercise ‘high’
  2. Decreased appetite (must admit haven’t noticed that one!)
  3. Boosting your immune system. Less snuffles and sneezes – yay!

Serotonin

Mood enhancing Serotonin is also released during exercise. There has been a lot of research done on the effect of serotonin levels on the body and while earlier studies claimed that boosting serotonin levels could help depression, this is now being rejected. But serotonin’s mood enhancing effects are accepted.

Glycerol

A faster metabolism means you burn energy faster and more effectively.  Glycerol can be thought of as the courier service that delivers oxygen from the lungs to your muscles during exercise.  This happens regardless of your fitness levels after exercise.  Why is this important?

After only 10 minutes of exercise, this can have a positive impact on your metabolism. Scientists also believe that if you exercise regularly this can stimulate long-term changes in your metabolism, but admit they are at early stages in understanding this  (read more *1

Blood Chemistry

When you exercise the muscles use oxygen transported from your lungs via your blood. A chemical reaction takes place to convert glucose in your bloodstream into energy. As this process takes place chemicals are produced which reduce your blood’s acidity levels.   An over-acidic blood supply can lead to constant fatigue and low energy levels.

exercise the physical benefits2. Exercise the Look Good Factor

Of course there are the outward signs, you will see increased muscle tone. You won’t see this happen overnight but over time you’ll develop more shape. This will of course depend on what you do, how long you do it for and to some extent genetics. Expect to see a difference after 2 months of regular exercise.

Manage Your Weight

Exercise can help you to manage your weight. I’m always reluctant to go as far as to say that exercise will help you to lose weight. This is because we tend to eat more when we exercise.  We are hungrier and over-estimate how much energy we burn.  It’s also a known fact that gym goers are more likely to indulge in chocolate bars!

Keep Going for Longer

Depending what exercise we do we will feel other benefits including increased stamina and flexibility.   Every day tasks become easier as we get stronger and fitter.

Hidden Benefits

There are also the hidden physical benefits of exercise.  We can see some of these with the help of technology, such as the effect on our blood pressure and the fat v muscle ratio.  Others are not so obvious but are long-term health benefits we should not ignore.

Research has also shown that exercise can reduce our risks of succumbing to serious diseases such as heart disease and type 2 Diabetes. Research also shows a correlation between exercise and a reduced risk of some cancers.

By strengthening our bones through exercise we reduce the risks associated with osteoporosis. This was one of my motivators for high intensity cardio aerobic exercise when it was diagnosed that I’d had my menopause in my 20s and I could be at risk of brittle bones later in life.

exercise improves self-esteem3. Exercise Helps Self-Esteem

If you are feeling fitter and becoming more toned it’s very hard not to feel better about yourself.  As a result you become more confident about the way you look and in turn this will make others attracted to you.

I cannot stress this enough for new business owners who get caught up in wanting to put their time and energy into their business.  If you don’t feel attractive to yourself then how will you be attractive to your prospective clients?

Pilates is a great way of improving your posture, which in turn will ensure you stand taller and will look better in your clothes.

Just a word of warning though!  Without wishing to put anyone off exercise it can also create some interesting clothes shopping dilemmas!

I used to do a lot of running and step aerobics.  The result was very over-developed calf muscles!   Finding skinny jeans was always a laugh!

My current routines mean while the skinny jeans issue is no longer a problem, my arm muscles are well developed.  I find some jackets and tops are not an option as they compromise the blood supply to my upper arms!

Exercise can also be relaxing.

Yoga has become a part of many people’s lives over recent years.  It is a great way to learn how to slow down the relentless pace of life.

Working out also helps you to put life back in perspective!

If we feel better about ourselves, are more relaxed and physically tired this helps our sleep patterns. Getting enough sleep is essential to our overall well-being.

Exercise classes are a great way to share a common interest and have fun with others.

Since adding Boxfit to my weekly routine I’ve made new friends, through the camaraderie in the class.    We work in pairs and as a group.  This leads to a lot of peer motivation and encouragement.  There’s a lot of laughter during the class and the banter continues for hours afterwards on social media.

OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) has become huge over the last few years and is not elitist.  You do not have to be a hard core fitness fan to take part.

The events are open to mixed abilities.  It is a another way of meeting people and offers a very supportive environment – so I’m told!

Getting wet and extremely muddy is not my idea of exercise heaven! The exception I make to this is walking my dogs but the amount of water and mud is thankfully less extreme!

exercise is relaxing

January is the worst month to start a fitness routine!

Dedicated gym bunnies are not the ones who started their fitness journey on January 1st.

They are the ones quietly grimacing or smirking from the rowing machine as the sales staff show prospective clients round the facilities.

Grimacing as they know that inevitably people will sign up and gyms become crowded for a few weeks until people give up.

Smirking because the statistics prove that people signing up to gym membership in January are most likely to fall off the wagon.

If you are not used to exercise and have indulged over the Christmas break you are setting yourself up to fail.   Most people joining a gym at the beginning of January find that it’s very difficult to stay motivated.  It’s hard enough to get through the longest, darkest and often coldest month of the year.  Many people are also starting to diet or change their eating habits and this is really making life hard.

I’m not trying to put you off, but why give yourself a mountain to climb, when you could start with a walk in the woods?

December is a much better option to kick-start your fitness routine. If you do decide to join a gym they are relatively quiet and there are some good deals around. You can feel less guilty about Christmas indulgences! Get yourself in the exercise groove in December and you’re much more likely to carry on into the New Year.

I’d love to hear from you about your fitness journey.   Whether you make exercise a part of your life and how it helps you or if you’re just starting out or returning to exercise it would be lovely if you share your thoughts and ideas.

 

*1 Chemical Reactions in the Body after Exercise  

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4 Responses to Exercise in January is Pointless

  1. Annette December 4, 2015 at 11:59 am #

    Great post Carol. I tried going down the gym route when my kids were young. First a mixed gym, which I found intimidating as the body building guys were possessive about the machines, and then a women only gym, but where the instructors changed frequently, I think they didn’t get on with the management! But then I found Latin American and ballroom dancing and I’ve been doing that ever since (15 years now!). There’s nothing like a few turns around the dance floor doing a quickstep or a fast jive to get the heart going 🙂

    • Carol December 4, 2015 at 12:01 pm #

      Annette you’re very lucky! Mark, my husband, and I did ballroom lessons for a while… sadly the bruises on my feet soon put me off!! But I love dancing and can really relate to your ‘feel good’ factor!

  2. Jing December 14, 2015 at 4:14 am #

    Very useful article.Thank you for sharing.

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