The weekly recommended amount of exercise for an adult is 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, which is 30 minutes across five days, or 20 minutes across seven days. This may seem like an overwhelming amount, but when you think about the benefits exercise can bring, and the roll on effect it has in the many other areas of health - it’s so worth the commitment.
Studies have shown that exercise decreases levels of depression, stress and anxious feelings. Exercise works these wonders by producing endorphins and serotonin, the “happy feels”. In fact, it doesn’t matter how intense your workout is, any level of movement has been shown to positively affect your mindset.
Our bones and muscles play a huge role in keeping our bodies injury free. By regularly participating in exercise, we also reduce our chance of muscle loss and maintain the strength we need for everyday life and the big adventures we have planned, like travel for example. Increasing our bone density (the minerals in our bones) decreases our chances of them breaking. Our bones are living tissue, which means exercise works quite similarly for bones as it does for muscle mass. Along with exercise, improvement of bone density requires a balanced diet with strong calcium and vitamin D intake.
Exercise has also been shown to increase levels of energy, which we all could use a little more of from time to time. If you’ve ever experienced a ‘runner's high’, you know exactly what we’re talking about here - it can rid us of those slothy or irritable moods quicker than Taylor Swift can shake it off. It can also light up our sex drive. That’s right! Studies show just 20 minutes of exercise can boost your libido, not to mention the obvious increase in stamina *wink wink nudge nudge*.
Aside from boosting our mental health, bone & muscular health, along with our sex drive, exercising has also been shown to increase our skin health and brain health too. The same endorphins released (when exercising) that make you feel good are actually the same endorphins that stimulate the growth of new brain cells. Brain cells tend to decline with age and time, however by exercising regularly, you are increasing the brain's ability to remember, concentrate and generally feel more sharp. And as for our skin health, the increase of blood circulating carries oxygen and nutrients to our cells, as well as carrying away waste like damaged cells and free radicals. Although it’s worth mentioning, if you’re getting a good sweat up in a work out, make sure you shower well, as sweat left on our skin can actually cause breakouts - no thanks.
You’re probably getting restless legs right about now and are undoubtedly ready to go and get moving. Or perhaps all this talk of exercise is making you feel like you could take a nap? Well, good news is, exercise can even help with sleep, winning! Exercise has been shown to increase our quality of sleep, although do be careful when it comes to exercising too late in the evening, as this can actually have a reverse effect for a good, quality night of slumber.
So there you have it. Undeniable proof that exercise and moving your body regularly is seriously good for you. If you’ve fallen off the exercise bandwagon, don’t stress, there’s always tomorrow. Try starting slow and set some simple goals. If you are really unsure about where to start, talk to a professional for some advice, and write down a plan to assist your movement goals with tracking and accountability - you are on your way to reaping the rewards and benefits of regular exercise. So in the words of Olivia Newton John - Let’s get physical!