Do we really need to exercise?
Let’s just get this out the way – having to exercise is frustrating. It’s fine if you want to, it’s fine if you think you should. But the issue is that you need to. The need to do it is the tricky part. Exhibit A, drinking water is the easiest way to solve so many problems, but how many of us actually drink enough? Not many. Is it hard? No. But we have to. So we don’t.
It’s the same thing with exercise, the thought of starting is enough to make us never start. But the reality is that it’s a necessity. Keeping fit is an essential part of taking care of both your mental and physical health. Regular exercise is linked to a lower risk of developing some diseases, including diabetes and some forms of cancer. It has also been recommended by doctors as a tool to effectively manage conditions such as high blood pressure and depression.
According to the NHS, adults should do some form of physical activity daily and “do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week”.
So, yes. We do need exercise. But of course that’s easier said than done.
How do I start exercising?
As previously mentioned, and as you may have already experienced, starting to exercise is the hardest part. One of the best ways to overcome this is to make exercising part of your routine. You can make small changes to what you do day to day to incorporate some sort of physical activity. This includes:
- Walking up stairs instead of taking an elevator
- Walking instead of driving where possible
- Get up regularly if you sit down for work
- Take walks when you have a break
- Stretch in the mornings and evenings
Most importantly, start small. Exercising isn’t meant to be a one off. It needs to be sustainable for the long term. So try not to do too much too soon, as you may end up burning out. Starting small, and increasing your physical activity little by little gives it a good chance of becoming a habit. It will also make it a lot less daunting, and easier to pick up should you stop at any point.
Working Out at Home
Anything that can be done from the comfort of your home has the potential to be a lot less scary and a lot less stressful. Exercising can be one of those things. If you’d like to go to the gym, or prefer to go to the gym, there are of course benefits to doing so. But don’t feel obligated! If you don’t want to pay for a membership, you don’t have to. If you don’t want to exercise around other people, you don’t have to do that either. It’s all about what’s best for you, and what makes you feel the most comfortable. If a home workout will do that for you, we can help you get started.
What equipment do I need?
Nothing really. You can have as much or as little as you like. You could absolutely go all out and create your very own home gym, or you can use whatever you have lying around the house. You can use your own body weight for strengthening exercises. If you’re following a workout plan that requires an aerobic step, you can use the bottom of your staircase. If you need a yoga strap, you can use a scarf. Replace a dumbbell with a bottle of water. You get the picture. You can make do with whatever you have and still have an incredibly effective workout.
That being said, if you’d like to get equipment for your home workout, these are some of the most useful ones:
- Yoga mat
- Medicine balls
- Resistance bands
- Yoga block
- Aerobic step
What exercises can I do?
There are a number of exercises that you can do without going to the gym. You can walk, run, cycle, skip, hop, it’s entirely up to you. However if you want a more structured approach, and would like to incorporate strength training for example, there are a number of resources available for you to use. These include NHS workout videos, online classes, youtube exercise videos for beginners, and exercise / home workout apps. What you choose to follow depends on your devices, your interests, how you learn, and much more. So it’s fortunate the supply is endless.
What Changes Will I See?
We’ve mentioned the larger things that come from exercising in terms of your health and whatnot, but smaller things happen too. Some negatives, a lot of positives. Some you’ll notice straight away, some are little changes that you won’t realise until you have a “huh” moment.
- You will feel sore. When you exercise, you get tiny little tears in your muscles. They’re a good thing, but it hurts, usually the next day. This still happens when you exercise regularly if you’ve had a particularly intense workout. But you get used to it.
- You’ll sleep better. If you usually have trouble sleeping, you may find that you are sleeping much better at night and feeling less tired during the day.
- You will have more energy. You might feel exhausted after each workout when you start out, especially if you start big, but once you get used to it, you should find that your workout sessions are giving you an energy boost.
- Your appetite will increase. With you burning more energy than you’re used to, you’re likely to feel more hungry than normal.
- You may feel happier. When you exercise, you release more endorphins and a number of other “happy hormones”.
So the conclusion is that exercising can be hard, but it’s worth it. If you’re not sure about what workouts are best for you, or what types of exercise you should be focusing on for your health goals, you can speak to your doctor.
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