Wake up! Shape up!

Well done if you didn’t gain weight this winter! But for those who did, welcome to the club. It is reality! Most people gain weight in winter as it is cold so we eat more and exercise less, but don’t stress. Here’s good news and some easy ways to get back into shape, with huge health benefits as a bonus!

Like most animals, human beings were made to move, to be mobile and exercise, but modern day lifestyle have mostly eliminated the need to move around naturally, so we have to do some form of exercise to stay healthy. But, don’t stress, you don’t have to join the gym and pump iron if that is not your style, just read on!

Firstly, here are 7 good reasons why you should get some form of exercise:
• Exercise controls weight
• Exercise combats health conditions and diseases
• Exercise improves mood
• Exercise boosts energy
• Exercise promotes better sleep
• Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life
• Exercise can be fun … and social!

Exercise controls weight

Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn. Regular trips to the gym are great, but don’t worry if you can’t find a large chunk of time to exercise every day. Any amount of activity is better than none at all. To reap the benefits of exercise, just get more active throughout your day — take the stairs instead of the lift; park in the furtherest parking from the store instead of right in front of the door. Simply start moving more.

Exercise combats health conditions and diseases

Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent high blood pressure? No matte what your current weight is, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol, and it decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing
smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Regular exercise helps prevent or manage many health problems and concerns. It will also improve cognitive function and helps lower the risk of death from many causes.

Exercise improves mood

Need an emotional lift? Or need to destressafter a stressful day? A gym session or brisk walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier, more relaxed and less
anxious. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.


Exercise boosts energy

Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores.

Exercise promotes better sleep

Struggling to snooze? Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster, get better sleep and deepen your sleep. Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too energized to go to sleep.

Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life

Do you feel too tired or too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy? Regular physical activity can improve energy levels and increase your confidence about your physical appearance, which may boost your sex life.

But there’s even more to it than that. Regular physical activity may enhance
arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don’t exercise.

Exercise can be fun … and social!

Exercise and physical activity can be enjoyable. They give you a chance to
unwind, enjoy the outdoors or simply engage in activities that make you happy. Physical activity can also help you connect with family or friends in a fun, social setting.

The bottom line on exercise

Exercise and physical activity are great ways to feel better, boost your health and have fun. Join the gym, pump iron, attend spinning or cardio classes, if that’s what you enjoy, or hit the hiking trail and just walk, but you have to move.

Walking is really good exercise because it puts our large muscle groups to work, and has a positive effect on most bodily systems and, contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to walk 10 000 steps a day. Although it’s often a default step count to reach on walking apps on smartphones and fitness
trackers, and it is certainly a healthy and worthwhile goal — it’s not a one-size-fits-all fitness recommendation.

A recent Harvard study, involving 16,000 women, found that those who got at least 4,400 steps a day greatly reduced their risk of dying prematurely when compared with less active women. The study also noted that the longevity benefits continued up to 7,500 steps but levelled off after that number.
But, picking up the pace might be a good idea. As with any exercise, the physical benefits of walking depend on three things: duration, intensity and frequency. Put simply: walk often, walk fast and walk long. The goal is to walk fast enough to raise your heart rate — even if just for a short burst.

Any pace is OK, but the faster the walking pace the better, so try to complete at least 3000 steps at a brisk or fast pace.

Participants who considered themselves brisk walkers had an average life expectancy of nearly 87 years for men and 88 years for women. Increases in lifespan were observed across all weight groups that
were included in the study. While we know walking is good for the body, research is also beginning to reveal how it impacts brain function. Particularly, walking might be an effective way to slow or decrease
the cognitive declines that come with growing older.

A study of older, sedentary adults found that walking over a period of six months improved executive functioning, or the ability to plan and organize. Studies also have found that walking and other aerobic
exercises can increase the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in memory and learning. In fact, researchers think exercises like brisk walking might improve brain plasticity, or the ability to
grow new neurons and form new synaptic connections.

So, what are you waiting for, phone a friend to walk, gym or dance with you!

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