It’s that time again: the beginning of a new year – the best time to make new-year resolutions that impact our lives. Top on my list is regular exercise. It may sound trivial, but I can’t even remember the last time I exercised. As I learned more about the benefits of regular exercise, I realized that it is something no one can afford not doing it. Therefore, I am documenting why I decide to make regular exercise part of my new-year resolution so I can always come back here whenever I feel tempted not to stick to it.
The benefits of regular exercise impact every aspect of one’s daily life because it:
- Improves your immune system so you can stay healthier and love longer
- Reduces risk of developing medical conditions including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer. (Studies from Journal of National Cancer Institute have shown 3.8 hours of exercise per week may reduce breast cancer risk by 58%.)
- Builds strong muscles, bone, stable joints; improves flexibility and reduces injury
- Improves mental health. People who exercise regularly are less likely to be depressed
- Improves one’s appearance, delays the aging process and boosts self-confidence.
- Promotes better sleep, which leads to concentration & productivity
Overcome my barriers to regular exercise with practical tips
- Can’t stay motivated – I’m too tired to exercise after working all day. Without exercise, you’ll have no energy. It’s a vicious cycle. Breaking the cycle with physical activity is the best way. Try simple steps: get up 30 minutes earlier to exercise or walkout during lunch break; prepare ahead – keep workout clothes and shoes in your car; plan physical activity for times of the day when you tend to feel more energetic, and remember why you’re exercising.
- Can’t find the time for Exercise. We know fitness is important, but our days are so packed with other things, exercise seems to be the easiest one to skip. Well, the key is to make it convenient for you and make activity part of your daily life. If you don’t have time for a full workout, shorter spurts of exercise accumulated throughout the day offer benefits, too.
- Cross-training is an easy way to add variety to your exercise program and reduce risk of injury. Alternating between a high-impact activity, such as running, and a low-impact activity, such as cycling, can help you avoid overuse injuries and keep you interested. Keep in mind a well-balanced exercise routine includes aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility training.
- How often should we exercise? WHO recommends one hour a day of moderate activity most days of the week to maintain good health. Some people may assume that more is better. Wrong! Doing too much too soon or performing intense exercises on a daily basis may backfire on your body and muscles. To me, setting my goal to exercise three days per week is realistic, safe and effective.
It is easy now for me to see why regular exercise is wise. In addition to the benefits it does to our mind and health, the expression “use it or lose it” also holds true here! If you don’t use your body, you will surely lose it. Your muscles will become weak. Your heart and lungs won’t function efficiently. And your joints will be stiff and easily injured. Inactivity is as much of a health risk as smoking! I am committed to making regular exercise my lifestyle choice to become a healthier me starting this year.