This week I participated in a challenge, mainly with myself, to exercise at least 30 minutes a day. As with most people, I found myself getting so caught up with life that I haven’t prioritized my health like I know I should. I would tell myself, “I worked out so much before, I just need a break.” Then a two-day break turned into a week, which turned into a month, which has turned into several months of subpar workouts (if I even made it to workout). I knew I wasn’t happy with how I was treating my body, and knew that I deserved better, but couldn’t get myself out of the funk.
So what did I do? The same thing I tell my clients to do, start small. So this week, I set a goal to perform at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. Some days I did more than 30, and some days I broke the 30 minutes up into shorter chunks. Some days I went to the gym, and other days I just walked outside. It didn’t matter what I did, all that mattered was that I intentionally chose to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day.
What happened? Although it was tough when I was tired or had too much to do, I found that because I committed to my goal it made putting on my gym shoes a lot easier. What was even better was how I felt afterwards. I had more energy, focus, and motivation to push through all my tasks for that day. Ultimately, I’m feeling much more motivated and definitely am starting to come out of my funk. I am going to continue with my 30 minutes a day until I feel ready and then I’ll bump it up to 45. Even though forcing myself to do the 30 minutes was oftentimes a challenge, I learned a few things that I wanted to share with you.
Here are 5 reasons you need to exercise at least 30 minutes a day that have nothing to do with losing weight
You will live longer.
What are the leading causes of premature death in the United States? According to the CDC, in 2015 the leading causes of death were heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and diabetes. Guess what? Most of these causes of death are lifestyle diseases that can be eliminated or lessened with changes in diet and increased exercise. How awesome would it be to be able to live an extra 10, 20, or 30 years because you spent 30 minutes exercising a day? In the grand scheme of life, 30 minutes is not that long, it’s actually just 2% of your entire day. So no more excuses for not having ‘enough time’ because you could have 10 more years of time by just taking 2% of your day right now!
Your body will feel better
Do you have aches and pains? Part of the reason you are constantly in pain is because you don’t move your body enough. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise strengthens the muscles around your joints and helps you maintain bone strength, both of which help you to ultimately feel less pain (I know it sound counterintuitive but trust me). You also might be carrying around some extra fat that is putting a lot more pressure on your body than necessary, causing not only joint pain, but cardiovascular and digestive pain as well. If you are having a hard time getting into an exercise routine because of pain, try taking a high-quality glucosamine and turmeric supplement (try Usana’s joint supplement Procossa here) to fight inflammation.
You will be more productive.
If you’ve never read a Tony Robbins book, then you might be missing out on your life’s potential. When I started reading “Awaken the Giant Within” was when I realized that I had all the power within myself to achieve whatever goals I set (get the book here). In his book, Tony talks a lot about changing your state, which basically means your frame of mind and what you focus on, in order to refocus on something productive that takes you one step closer to achieving your dreams. One of the best ways to change your state is through movement, especially exercise. One of the days last week, I was feeling seriously unproductive. I couldn’t focus, I wanted to nap or scroll on Facebook, neither of which would have helped me accomplish my tasks for the day. So instead of giving into my desires to be a sloth, I went for a run instead. That simple 30-minute act of changing my state transformed my entire day from one of laziness to one of focus and energy.
You will sleep better
This also might seem counterintuitive but exercising actually helps you sleep better. Moderate exercise each day over a long period of time can strengthen your circadian rhythm, causing you to sleep deeper and for longer. Although moderate exercise is fine at night, it is not good to perform high intensity exercise within an hour of when you want to go to sleep, as the endorphins from working out might make you feel too energized to fall asleep. The best time to workout intensely is in the morning before you start your day because it will lead you to the last reason of this post, more energy!
You will have more energy
Exercise does wonders for your energy and mood. Like the great movie Legally Blonde says, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t just shoot their husbands”. Seriously though, without getting too scientific, exercise can help brighten your mood and even lessen chronic depression or anxiety by waking up your cells to create more energy and releasing endorphins that act as stimulants for your body without the nasty crashes afterwards.
In conclusion (wow that sounded very 8th grade), if you want to feel better (both inside and out), live longer, and yes, lose weight, then you need to join me in committing to 30 minutes of exercise a day. If you are with me, leave a comment be