We all know that incorporating exercise into our lifestyle is beneficial; but this does not change the fact that many of us do not feel motivated to be active. Exercise starts off as a discipline, that eventually turns into a habit. Initially it can be challenging to stick to your routine, but the more you commit, the easier it becomes. In this article we explore the benefits of living an active life and we explore the different kinds of exercise to help you find the type of exercise that will best serve you.
Benefits of Living an Active Life
Exercise has both physical and mental benefits. Not only does it build muscle, maintain weight, or encourage weight loss, but it also affects our brain positively:
- Reduces stress
- Improves memory
- Reduces depression (increases serotonin)
- Lowers anxiety
- Lowers risk of chronic diseases (heart disease, diabetes)
- Lowers blood cholesterol and blood pressure
- Develops stronger bones and muscles
- Assists with weight loss
Exercise has numerous benefits for our overall health, and one way to maintain your exercise regime is to find a type of exercise that you enjoy. Trying to commit to something you hate is a lot more challenging and increases your chance of giving up.
Types of Exercise: Finding your Niche
Exercise should be a lifestyle, not an event. It is therefore important for you to find an activity that you enjoy – this way, exercise becomes something you look forward to, rather than something that you do because of a specific outcome e.g. weight loss.
There are many types of exercise, and depending on your interests, availability, and access, you may opt for different forms:
HIIT training stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It alternates between short intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods. For example, TABATA, which is 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest interval. It is great for individuals who only have 30 minutes to squeeze in a training session. It is a form of cardio training and is effective in burning fat and calories.
Cardiovascular training is any type of exercise that leads to a sustained rise in heart rate throughout the exercise duration. For example: swimming, running, and cycling. This type of exercise is generally sustained for a longer period of time than a HIIT workout.
Here’s a great read: 8 PRACTICAL TIPS FOR WORKING OUT AT HOME – GETTING MOTIVATED AND GETTING MOVING
Yoga is a form of neuromotor training – it involves balance, agility, and coordination. It is important to improve posture, decrease risk of injury and reduce stress and inflammation. Yoga is a great way to build muscle and it is less intense on the body than activities such as running and HIIT.
A lot of individuals benefit from exercising with others. When it is a social event, they are more likely to commit and enjoy themselves. Gyms offer numerous classes such as spinning and Zumba which allow for an interactive exercise routine.
Pilates is a low-impact activity that focuses on flexibility, muscular strength, endurance movements and core strength. It emphasizes proper postural alignment, core strength and muscle balance.
Many people enjoy exercise when it is in the form of team sports. Joining a hockey team or soccer club creates a community and your commitment to the sport increases. The enjoyment of the game is the primary focus and the health benefits are secondary. It becomes a social activity and often not seen as a challenge like going for a run alone.
As you can see, there are numerous ways to reap the rewards of exercise and any form of movement is better than none. Remember, exercise should be a part of your lifestyle, not an event. It is therefore important for you to find an activity that you enjoy – this way, exercise becomes something you look forward to, rather than something that you do because of a specific outcome e.g. weight loss.