Are you one of those people who jumps out of bed each morning, throws their gym gear on and rushes off to a workout? If so, this article probably isn’t for you. However, if you’re attached to your snooze button, often feel exhausted, struggle to make it through a full workday and rely on caffeine and sugar to power through, then please stick with us.
Let’s start by saying that exercise is not the domain of fitness fanatics alone. It’s a responsibility we all have if we want to become the best version of ourselves. After all, the human body needs exercise for optimal physical and mental wellbeing. Without it, we’re not firing on all cylinders.
If you’re feeling sluggish and keen to re-energise your life, one of the best things you can do is exercise. And the good news is that you don’t need to do a lot to reap the rewards. Researchers at the University of Georgia found that sedentary but otherwise healthy adults who engaged in 20 minutes of low-to-moderate aerobic exercise, three days a week for six consecutive weeks, reported a significant increase in energy levels and felt less fatigued. There really is hope for all of us!
Here’s six science-backed ideas behind exercise (plus some added benefits):
- It speeds up oxygen circulation – Exercise enhances the blood flow around your body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to all your cells – improving their ability to produce more energy. (This also contributes to better brain performance.)
- It improves cellular function – Exercise encourages your body to produce more mitochondria, which are the powerhouses inside your cells. One of the major roles of mitochondria is to produce energy from the food we eat. More mitochondria = more energy.
- It sharpens your focus – Exercise can help you focus and stay on task. Studies have shown that exercise improves our ability to ignore distractions, multitask and retain information. Exercise also improves workers’ efficiency, reducing their tendency to overwork and become fatigued.
- It improves sleep – Physical activity leads to better quality (and longer!) sleep. Hurray!
- It generates feel-good hormones – When you exercise, your body produces ‘happy hormones’ like serotonin, endorphins and dopamine. Endorphins make us feel energised and dopamine makes us feel more alert and motivated.
- It boosts cardiovascular fitness and all-over body strength – The fitter and stronger you are, the easier (and less draining) your daily tasks will be.
If you’re someone who doesn’t exercise regularly, we challenge you to schedule and prioritise three 20-minute walks a week. And why stop there?
Take some time now to assess your health and how you could make improvements. Ask yourself:
- Do I eat, sleep, exercise and take care of myself well?
- What could I be capable of if I had more energy and was more focused and alert?
- What can I start doing today?
- What might get in the way of my success?
- How will I keep myself accountable for doing what I mean to do?
If you’re looking for more reasons to get moving, check out this TED Talk (12:54) with neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki, who outlines the many benefits of exercise for your brain. Better yet, plug in your headphones and take a walk as you listen.
Who is Danielle Grant?
Since creating her business Reach Your Peak in 2000, Danielle Grant has been the catalyst for thousands of people discovering the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. As an accredited exercise physiologist and wellness coach, Danielle structures her business on the three powerful pillars of lasting transformation: mindset, nutrition and physical fitness.
Danielle’s leadership, knowledge and expertise along with her charismatic people skills attract sincere loyalty and longevity among clients and trainers alike. Her authenticity is never compromised with the latest fad diets or exercise crazes that come and go. The truth, she says, “Is that there’s no quick fix for lasting change”. As a mother of two children, aged 12 and 13, Danielle understands the juggling act of a working mum and passionately encourages other working mums to prioritise their health.
With her great enthusiasm for exercising in the outdoors, Danielle has competed in many events: triathlons, half-ironman, marathons, round the bay rides and mountain biking. She also takes great pleasure in overnight hiking, the highlight being the completion of the Kokoda Track in 2014. In 2018 Danielle revived her teenage love of surfing and it’s there, riding the waves that she feels in her true element. You can find out more about Danielle here.
– The Coach Place Global
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