The benefits of regular physical activity
Get active, get fit, get out there!

It's no secret that the benefits of regular physical activity are huge:

Getting active can help fend off a wide range of diseases, keep you younger, more vital and more attractive.

So in short, becoming active helps you live longer and more healthily …

Not convinced? Read more below

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Health booster

If there ever there was a health booster that can prevent the widest range of dis-eases and dis-comforts possible, it's …

taking up and maintaining a programme of sustained physical activity.

So what are the benefits of regular physical activity for the middle-aged woman on her journey through menopause?

Many women worry about weight gain at menopause. A programme of regular physical activity is the best way to prevent the pounds from gathering around your middle.

Check out this article for more on saying no to menopause weight gain.

Keeping active and fit is the best and most effective way of keeping general midlife discomforts at bay and can help you age well.

Regular physical activity also helps REDUCE:

  • weight and obesity
  • heart disease and strokes
  • high blood pressure
  • mental illness
  • late onset diabetes
  • falls


Motivation to exercise

So why don't we exercise more?

Why is obesity the fastest growing epidemic in the Western world?

Why, if we know that keeping our weight down will help us feel sexier, stronger, more supple and more energetic …

Why on earth don't we get more active?

I'm willing to bet that most women reading this page have tried taking up regular exercise at least once, if not many times in their lives. For sure some of us have managed to achieve a reasonable exercise habit, we lapse now and again (don’t mention Christmas…), but on the whole we keep up a good fitness programme.

But many women are resistant to the exercise habit.

And it's not because of lack of knowledge.

Nearly all of us KNOW perfectly well all about the benefits of regular physical activity.

But in spite of all the good intentions in the world, the gym subscription lapses, the new trainers find their way to the back of the cupboard and the realm of the fitness gurus recedes for another day, month, year…

Is that you?

OK … so what can we do about this?

Right – well the first thing is to recognise explicitly what I've just stated.

So I'll say it again, this time reframed as a question, so that you can decide whether or not it's true for you:

It's not because you don’t know about the benefits of regular physical activity that you don't get active, is it?

For most women our inactivity is nothing to do with not knowing that it's good for us.

Oh, we know about the benefits of regular physical activity all right.

It's just that we're the world's most inventive, imaginative, resourceful geniuses when it comes to finding barriers to actually doing anything about it …

we're

too busy, too tired, (the best ones),

or …

… we're not in the mood, under the weather, got an appointment, got nowhere to shower, it's raining, it's too hot, too cold, not got the right clothes, forgotten the gym card, my back hurts, car's broken down, the cat's sick, don't want to miss the movie, meeting him, her, them, all of them, got to talk to grandma, clean the hamster, hang out the washing, cook the dinner…

hmmm... yes,

the list goes on and on doesn't it?

And I didn't have to move an inch to run off that list because I know all the reasons off pat – just like you do. We've all got a whole range of them up our sleeves!


Moving from knowledge to motivation

We know we will feel better if we exercise, but we are experts at putting up barriers. That's because the thought of the pain (getting cold, making an effort, getting uncomfortable… etc) gets in the way of the rewards – that come immediately after the exercise, in the medium term and the long term.

But once we get over that initial mental barrier…

The rewards are many. Not just one or two.

The benefits of regular physical activity are loads, tonnes, infinite…

And the rewards are immediate, medium and long term:


Rewards

The immediate reward of exercise is that fantastic buzz you get when you've finished exercising: the high of the endorphin rush, the flushed skin, the healthy appetite and the overall feeling of tremendous well-being and feeling oh-just-so-pleased-with-yourself that you worked out so well.

You feel like you can conquer the world after that run, class or swim don't you?

Then there's the medium term rewards of keeping up the exercise habit:

  • the strength that gradually increases (suddenly you can lift the suitcase yourself)
  • the suppleness that you’d forgotten was possible (your back doesn't shriek when you put on your shoes)
  • the energy that let's you keep up with (or even lead) your younger family members on a country walk
  • the delight of being able to do up the zip on those tight jeans…
  • and seeing the muffin folds receding from around your midriff.

And then there's the long term rewards that you won't notice, because they're all the things that are less likely to happen if you get active than they are if you stay inactive: the lower risk of heart disease, strokes, bone problems, falls, depression and much more.


Reaping the benefits of regular physical activity

It's your call

Getting active is about you taking a good hard look at your life, the way you think and what motivates you.

If YOU don’t want to get active, then a herd of elephants isn't going to persuade you to that you should, much less me, writing on this page.

But if you do want to then you'll find a way. Because wanting to is what it's all about. After all we can do anything if we're sufficiently motivated.

What was that phrase again?

"Yes We C - - !!"

So ask yourself right now whether you really want to get moving and reap the benefits of regular physical activity.

And if you make the decision that you do want to, then you’re ready to move on the next step: Find the exercise habit that suits you and your lifestyle the best.

So, meanwhile…

… is anyone going to switch off their computer and rush out in their trainers to run around the block? I’m coming too, but - er - just a sec, I've just a few things I need to do first…

Published July 2010. Last updated 31/8/2012


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