With the soul-warming Spring weather appearing with increasing frequency in Melbourne this week, you might have noticed the number of people out jogging, cycling and training in the parks is on the rise. Nothing like some warmer days and daylight savings to get you motivated!
If the return to exercise after a Winter hiatus hasn't been as easy as you'd like, register for the National Ride2Work Day and get on your bike next Wednesday! Following Ride2Work Day in 2014, 61% of new riders reported that they were still riding to work at least once a week, when surveyed 5 months later. This is a really big achievement and goes a long way to help clock up the 30 minutes of exercise we should be getting daily. While being sedentary is well known as a precursor to many diseases and health conditions, it seems as a nation, Australians are taking heed of the warnings and getting the benefits of improved mood, energy and stamina by improving their participation in exercise every year.
Free Massage From Yours Truly With Your Community Breakfast on Wednesday 14th October
If that's not enough to get you on your bike on Wednesday, there are also free community breakfasts being held across the country to celebrate the morning commute on two wheels. Brimbank City Council is holding a local one at Tom O'Brien Reserve, Matthew's Street, in Matthew's Hill, Sunshine and I'll be there giving riders a little massage as a reward for getting out there too! Make sure you pop if you're riding that way on Wednesday, love to see you!
So Why Would You Bother Exercising?
Life is busy so it's important to know what's in it for you when you are allocating your precious time to a new activity. Take a look at these benefits!
Exercise Helps Combat Disease
Well, for one, exercise is the most effective intervention there is for better health. I love this video, it's one of my favourite ways to get the message across when it comes to selling exercise! Dr Mike Evans presents research on people who exercised for 30 minutes a day. Key findings he mentions are people with knee arthritis who reduced their levels of pain and disability by 47% with 1 hour of exercise 3 times a week. A 50% reduced progression in Alzheimer Disease. A 47% reduction in anxiety in people who exercise. Along with a 23% lower risk of death from all causes of mortality, while providing improved quality of life.
And this isn't triathlons, it's walking.
Exercising Helps Manage Weight
Weight issues are rampant in developed countries and in Australia 3 out of every five of us are overweight, while a quarter of the population is obese.
This means many health risks on its own but exercising reduces these risks, with people who are exercising being far healthier that obese people who are sedentary. Fat shaming is common and discourages people from exercising. So next time you're at the gym, be encouraging of everyone, no matter what size. Working up a sweat really deserves a pat on the back and is so good for everyone.
Exercise can help maintain weight loss. When you exercise, you burn calories and the more intense the activity, the more calories you burn. Simple ways to be more active include taking the stairs instead of the lift, riding your bike to work or increasing the intensity as you go about doing your everyday housework.
Exercise Is Good For Your Mood
The endorphin boost and reduction in stress hormones you experience when you exercise make a big difference to how you feel. The interplay of chemicals in your brain when you exercise leave you feeling happier and more relaxed, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem. Ask yourself if you're feeling a little low, have I done any exercise today? If the answer is no, put on your runners and take a walk around the block. Every little bit counts and starting to exercise is the first step. So if 5 minutes is your limit to begin with, go with it, you're doing yourself some good!
Exercise Gives You Energy
Exercise Also Improves Sleep
With 6 weeks of regular exercise is has been found that sleep improves in all categories. If you're struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep, regular exercise can help you go to sleep faster and deepen your sleep while you're there. Although, it's not recommended to exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too revved to sleep at all!
Tips For Starting A New Exercise Routine
Participating in the National Ride2Work Day is a good start! If you register with them they have an online support network to keep you motivated. You can also join a group that rides regularly such as the local Brimbank Bicycle Users Group BrimBUG or join the Facebook Group for My Time Cycling which is a social bike riding group for women in the West. Pre-planning your exercise with friends is a great motivator! That said, getting a dog is another great way to exercise. It works out that 67% of dog owners achieve 158 minutes of exercise a week just from walking their dog – your dog is a great exercise coach!
New research shows that short bursts of high-intensity exercise can be very effective at improving fitness with very little time commitment. You may have seen this segment on a recent Catalyst episode on the ABC. Starting with just 8 seconds of sprints on a stationary bicycle even those least used to exercise reaped the benefits. Check out the full segment here:
Whatever you do, whatever your fitness level, increasing your amount of physical activity pays off big time. Remember that starting slow is the best way to stay motivated. If you go flat out and can't move for a week you're probably not going to start making those good associations between exercise and a fun time! Keep increasing the intensity and duration as you go and dedicate time to it every day. For some extra motivation get your friends and neighbours in on the action. Regularity is the key!