For some, going to the gym is as natural and routine an activity as eating or bathing. But for most people, exercising is something we try to unearth the energy to do at least once per week.
The benefits and reasons for going to the gym are obvious, but realistically, after a long and tiring day of work/college, the logic goes out the window. Then it’s hard to ignore the siren call of the couch.
Despite our natural inclination towards a more relaxing life, there are many good reasons to go to the gym, even when all you really want is to do is absolutely nothing.
Why you should go to the gym?
Exercise Improves Your Physical Health:
Exercise is a proven method that improves your physical health. Experts have observed a definite connection between good physical health and strong academic performance. Regular low-intensity exercise routines give a much-needed boost to our energy levels.
Exercise Promotes Brain Development:
Studies have found that after exercising, there’s a particular kind of protein that is released into the bloodstream. This helps the brain produce another protein called brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), which prompts the body to grow new nerves and helps the survival of the existing brain cells – basically, regular exercise makes your brain stronger.
The hippocampus is the area of our brain that is responsible for retaining information and is incredibly responsive to these proteins. This means that regular exercise helps you take in and retain more easily.
Exercise Improves Concentration:
According to research, 20 minutes of exercise before studying improves concentration and focuses your learning. Intense physical activity improves blood flow to the brain, firing up your neurons and promoting cell growth, especially in the hippocampus (which is critical for learning).
Different exercises affect the brain in different ways, meaning that certain forms of physical activity helps you concentrate better than others. If you’re a college student, take a brisk walk to your next lecture because this type of exercise is linked to strong engagement when it comes to learning.
Try doing some yoga positions in the morning, as they are a great way of learning self-discipline and focusing your mind.
Exercise Boosts Your Mood:
Exercise treats mild-to-moderate depression almost as effectively as medication so exercising before studying will keep you in the right frame of mind for learning.
If life becomes a little bit stressful, it can spoil your mood and make you lose focus. When stress starts affecting the brain and its nerve connections, the rest of the body also starts feeling the strain. Fortunately, this process works in reverse as well, so improving your physical health through exercise has a positive impact on the brain and helps in relieving stress.
Exercise reduces PMS symptoms:
Periods can be a stressful time for everyone. The pains, the cramps can all accumulate into making you feel absolutely awful. In those days, getting up and moving can be the last thing you feel like doing.
The truth is though light physical activity at the gym can actually help with your crappy mood, aches, and pains, and even depression associated with PMS.
An exercise regimen will help you sleep better:
Sleep comes easier after a good workout, and exercising keeps the circadian rhythm on track. This does not mean, however, that you should exercise around your bedtime. Working out during the day is enough to let you have a good sleep at night.
How Much Exercise Should You Do?
It’s not just high-performance athletes or exercise lovers that should exercise.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine’s everyone must perform at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week for optimum health.
You can customize these 150 minutes any way you want. For example, you may work out for 30 minutes 5 five times a week or for 35 to 40-minute every other day. Doing this minimum requirement in just one or two training sessions per week is equally beneficial as spreading the sessions throughout the week.
The best practice is to start slowly and increase the intensity gradually as you build your fitness level up. Finally, even though a particular amount of physical activity is essential for good health, letting the body rest is important too.
When the body cannot recover from the stress of exercise it increases the risk of injuries, such as stress fractures and muscle strains. It results in overtraining syndrome (OTS).
Too much exercise may weaken your immune system and increase the risk of infection, hormonal imbalances, chronic fatigue, and depressed mood.
How to Stay Motivated?
In order to stay motivated to go to the gym, you have to make exercise a habit and have fun while doing it. The key is to not dread having to exercise. Don’t just stick to one routine; you can mix up activities while keeping it fun for you.
Alternate gym days with group fitness classes like yoga or Pilates. Doing team sports are also a good idea for increasing motivation and enjoyment.
Finding a buddy to go to the gym can also be a motivating factor. It results in maintaining accountability and motivating both of you to keep up the good work. Furthermore, don’t forget to keep tracking your progress, such as your weight lifting weights or noting your running times and tracking your weight loss and BMI. This will help you keep motivated to improve your personal records.
Make sure that you don’t set overly-ambitious goals. If you’re planning to lose 5kg in a week, then that’s just going to stress you out.
The biggest motivation killer is going to the gym for months on end and feeling as though you’re not getting anywhere. The process of progress can be gradual so chances are that it is difficult to notice but there’s no doubt that you are making progress. This is why tracking is really important.
The Final Word…
We live in a fast-paced culture that doesn’t like slow progress. Instant success is a far sexier option, but also really unrealistic. Most people go to the gym and drop their membership after just a few months because they get frustrated that they haven’t been instantly transformed into super athletes.
The progress may be slow but gymming is the best decision you’ll ever make. Don’t let you get frustrated and keep yourself motivated. Keep following this blog to get other articles on how to get started on your journey to healthy living. Happy gymming 🙂