The World Health Organisation lists physical inactivity as one of the primary contributors to death, with 1 in 4 adults and 4 out of 5 adolescents being considered ‘dangerously inactive’.
The recommended amount of moderate level physical activity (e.g. a brisk walk) is 150 minutes spread out across the week, or approximately 20-25 mins per day.
It’s common to put exercise on the back-burner as other life commitments take a higher priority, but doing so is very likely making you less productive, lowering your mood and increasing your risk of health problems.
Let’s take a moment to look at the benefits of becoming more active and why it’s a good idea to find that 20-25 mins per day (you know you have it!).
1. You will live longer
Really. Putting aside things which are out of our control, three hours of exercise each week could possibly extend a person’s life by five years. That alone should be reason enough to find 20-25 mins per day for exercise!
2. Happiness and Mood
Exercise has been shown to improve your mood and decrease feelings of depression, anxiety and stress. A recent study, which included over 1.2 million people, found that people who exercised had 43% fewer ‘bad mental health days’ than inactive people.
Interestingly, people who exercised between 30-60 minutes per day reported the best results, and all exercise types had a positive impact.
3. Weight Loss
When it comes to sustainable weight loss, there is no quick fix, but there is great news:
Exercise remains the most common practice among people who are able to maintain weight loss over time.USA National Weight Control Registry
Exercise remains the most common practice among people who are able to maintain weight loss over time. Ninety percent of people who lose significant weight and keep it off exercise at least one hour a day on average.
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4. It can slow (and can reverse) the effects of ageing
Exercise plays a vital role in building and maintaining strong muscles, bones and cellular health.
This is because exercise helps release hormones that promote the ability of your muscles to absorb amino acids, which promotes better cellular health.
As people age, we tend to lose muscle mass and function, which can lead to injuries and disabilities. Regular physical activity can prevent and even reverse these effects of ageing, while slowing others.
5. Exercise Can Increase Your Energy Levels
Exercise can be a real energy booster for healthy people, as well as those suffering from various medical conditions.
One study found that six weeks of regular exercise reduced feelings of fatigue for 36 healthy people who had reported persistent fatigue.
6. It Can Reduce Your Risk of Chronic Disease
Lack of regular physical activity is a primary cause of chronic disease.
Regular exercise has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, cardiovascular fitness, and body composition while decreasing blood pressure and blood fat levels.
In contrast, a lack of regular exercise — even in the short term — can lead to significant increases in belly fat, which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
7. It Can Help Skin Health
Your skin can be affected by the amount of oxidative stress in your body.
Oxidative stress occurs when the body’s antioxidant defences cannot completely repair the damage that free radicals cause to cells. This can damage their internal structures and deteriorate your skin.
Regular moderate exercise can increase your body’s production of natural antioxidants, which help protect cells.
In the same way, exercise can stimulate blood flow and induce skin cell adaptations that can help delay the appearance of skin aging.
8. It Can Help Your Brain Health and Memory
Exercise can improve brain function, protect memory and improve thinking skills.
By increasing your heart rate, you’re increasing the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain.
Exercise can also stimulate the production of hormones that can enhance the growth of brain cells.
Exercise has been shown to reduce changes in the brain that can cause Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.Pedrinolla, Schena and Venturelli, University of Verona
Moreover, the ability of exercise to prevent chronic disease can translate into benefits for your brain, since its function can be affected by these diseases.
Exercise has been shown to increase the size of the hippocampus, a part of the brain that’s vital for memory and learning, to grow in size. This serves to increase mental function in older adults.
Lastly, exercise has been shown to reduce changes in the brain that can cause Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.
9. It Can Help With Relaxation and Sleep Quality
Regular exercise can help you relax and sleep better .
One study found that 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity per week can provide up to a 65% improvement in sleep quality.
The great news is that multiple forms of exercise can equally help sleep quality.
10. It Can Reduce Pain
Chronic pain can be debilitating, but exercise can actually help reduce it.
In fact, for many years, the recommendation for treating chronic pain was rest and inactivity. However, recent studies show that exercise helps relieve chronic pain.
Presently, one of the biggest challenges people face is finding the time to exercise, which is a choice. As you’ve just read, finding just 20—25 minutes each day for exercise can have amazing benefits for your physical health, your mental health and your relationships.
Ready to move but pushed for time? Why not join us for a Free Trial Workout? You’ll find that you don’t always need to be in a gym to complete a high-quality workout. Instead, you can exercise at home, in a time efficient way and with the live support of real fitness coaches. Give it a go!