7 Benefits of Exercise for Women
"I don't like working out because I don't see fast enough results... " this is a genuine problem. We are, more than ever, trained to like instant results. We buy gimmicks that are meant to solve problems. If something doesn't start making us feel better right away, we think it failed. You'll notice in this blog I'm not going to mention weight loss as a benefit of working out because I think the benefits of exercise and physical activity are often forgotten under the weight of that one possible benefit of weight loss. There is more to the benefits of exercise than maintaining a healthy weight, though that's always a nice one too!
Exercise or physical activity of any kind will change you, just like sitting on the couch and binge watching your favorite shows will change you though obviously not in the same way.
The key thing to take away from this blog today is your mindset. If you have a hard time getting yourself to do regular exercise, mentally change the way you're thinking about it. It's not about seeing instant results, it's about improving and maintaining your overall mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. If you really get moving, start sweating and exhaust yourself, you'll feel complete elation. The more you do it, the better it will make you feel.
Here is why:
1) Improve Mental Health - exercise helps balance your emotions and relieve stress, anxiety and depression
I personally have gotten out of two major depressions in my life with exercise. I'm not talking innocent running in place and hardly sweating. I'm talking 2-3 hours of intense exercise, the kind that makes your body hurt. It wasn't every night, it was about 3-4 nights a week that kept my depression at bay.
It's no secret either, exercise has helped many people rebalance their mental health. This is because endorphins are released that make you feel-good. Different amounts are released depending on the type of exercise and intensity of the workout. Some studies show that an hour of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) should be enough to increase your endorphins as well as release dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, which all help with mood regulation.
Even if you aren't at that level yet, any amount of exercise done regularly can positively boost your serotonin levels in your brain which will also increase your moods. Just notice the next time a character on one of your favorite shows runs when they are emotional, in order to calm down... interesting.
If you're stressed or anxious, try doing a more intense exercise or even more complex yoga that makes you really breath through the difficulty of the exercise and you'll notice that if it is challenging enough you won't be able to think about the rest of your life and it will give you a mental break. Studies show exercise can even stop a panic attack... so it's worth a try!
Plus don't forget that there are many forms of exercise. Rollerskating & dancing are two ideas that are fun and will work your legs, they also have communities that are super supportive.
2) Sleep - Exercise can give you a peaceful night of sleep
The amount of blogs I've written where women are struggling with sleep or on the flip side, how a good night sleep can help fix your problems... let's just say I write about it a lot. A good night sleep can help your body repair itself, while also decreasing bodily inflammation and enhancing your memory. Too bad getting a goodnight sleep isn't always easy.
The older we get, the harder it is to have a truly amazing sleep which is where exercise can help. According to The National Sleep Foundation, exercise raises your body temperature a few degrees and when your body temperature drops back down, it can trigger that nice sleepy feeling.
I know from my own personal experience that if you do a super intense exercise I can't help but fall asleep later that night and even if I take the next day off, I'm still sleeping better because physical activity makes your body demand sleep for repair. It's really up to you how far you want to take it.
Either way, the majority of your human growth hormone (HGH) is released when you sleep. This plays a key role in metabolism, body composition, cell repair, and more. So in super simple terms, a good night sleep will keep you young... and exercise can help you accomplish that awesome night of sleep.
3) Reduces chronic inflammation
Regular exercise can reduce inflammation to allow our immune system to perform better. Chronic inflammation actually slows down the immune system and we see a lot of chronic inflammation in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Exercise can help reduce this inflammation. Even if you aren't struggling with PCOS, Women with PCOS aren't the only ones who suffer from Chronic inflammation, it's believed that inflammation may contribute to a wide range of chronic diseases like metabolic syndrome, which includes type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
What is Chronic Inflammation? Inflammation is a natural part of our immune system. Inflammation is a basic method by which we respond to infection, irritation, or injury. However, too much of anything isn't good!
For women with PCOS, low-grade inflammation often occurs and is associated with insulin resistance in PCOS. When women with PCOS have chronic inflammations, their bodies are constantly inflamed inside. Not all inflammation is bad, Acute inflammation helps us heal and only lasts a few days, while Chronic Inflammation can last for months to years. Chronic inflammation is also called low-grade inflammation because it produces a steady, low-level of inflammation throughout the body. Chronic low-grade inflammation is a contributor to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). This is believed to be created from a higher amount of androgens, which creates increased insulin, and these higher insulin levels can cause weight gain which causes more inflammation.
4) Beat the Cramps! Exercise might help with the pain.
I'm not going to lie, I was never able to do much with my super bad menstrual cramps besides lay in bed when I was a teenager. However as an adult who exercises regularly and balances her hormones with the right food and S'moo, I haven't had bad cramps at all. Studies actually have looked into this and it seems that for some women who exercise regularly, they do have fewer painful cramps during their menstrual cycle cycle. However, everyone is super different and your diet and overall balance of your hormones could be preventing you from having the full benefits from exercising. Always do what's best for your overall health, sometimes you might need to take other steps to help with your menstrual cycle related cramps before jumping into exercise, still it's an option to try.
5) Stay Healthy - Exercise will help you boost your immune system.
Regular exercise helps you build a strong immune system. It does this by reducing inflammation to allow our immune system to perform better. Exercise also helps increase blood flow and can strengthen antibodies. If you were like me, you'd just recently signed up for a gym membership and were doing great going every other day for a month before Covid hit. Though let's remember physical activity doesn't only happen at a gym. Sure it's easier, especially if you live in a cold climate and have a small apartment... gyms are super helpful in that situation or if you're trying to build a lot of muscle mass, the gym has the right tools to make this happen no matter what level you start at. Though Covid has set us back and we have to find other ways of working out, making sure we stay active is essential to our health.
6) Beautiful skin - Exercise for that perfect glow!
Yep! Enough exercise will get your heart pumping and increase circulation. Exercise gives your skin oxygenated blood and it nourishes your skin cells. There is also sweat which helps flush out your pores of dirt and bacteria. So make sure you wash your face after a good workout to help get all that extra stuff off your face! Between your oxygenated blood and sweat, you'll look vibrant and alive!
P.S. if you're dealing with skin conditions like rosacea that flare-up after exercise, try working out in a colder environment or applying cool compress after the workout.
7) Strengthen Muscle - Exercise will help you keep the muscles you already have.
It's a great idea to start building muscle, not to get buff but just to keep yourself toned and capable. As you get older, even after 30, you want to building muscle to keep what you have! That's right, you can start to lose muscle, just from age. So staying on top of it! Try doing exercises that will keep your muscles engaged. Disuse is the largest reason why you'll start to loose muscle, find ways to keep your body engaged, even if you're going to watch a movie or show. Things to focus on if you're stuck in your home because of Covid are yoga and pilates, and resistance training.
How much should I exercise?
Exercise is great but keep in mind that if you want a healthy life with all the benefits of exercise then you need to pair a healthy diet with regular exercise and vice versa. However, how much exercise in generally depends on you and what you're able to handle. Exercise, eating healthy and drinking a lot of water are all things we are working on together in the S'moo45, a challenge to get us all on track again and healthy. If you want to join us for extra motivation to, please do! It's free and you can download a free planner to help you keep track of your healthy habits, plus it also helps us plan our days, have a gratitude journal entry each day and more. Check it out and join us, if you want motivational texts to keep you going then text Smoo45 to 562-262-4755
Don't forget that exercise is about maintaining your health, your body will benefit from it physically and mentally.
This content is strictly the opinion of S'moo and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither S'moo nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.