You don’t need to lose weight! But you should be exercising for these 5 reasons…
Exercise can be a key component to looking great. And a lot of the time, that’s the main reason people give a damn about going for jog. And, hey, if that gets you squatting and lifting, and stretching and gaining, good for you. At Go Against the Flow, we are huge advocates for getting a workout in once a day.
Surely you’re aware of the numerous benefits of a good exercise routine. There’s losing or maintaining weight, and…um…well, feeling good naked? Nah. Screw that! We want girls to feel good about themselves no matter what! There are actually heaps of reasons to workout that benefit your insides far more than you would expect.
1) The snooze factor
Have you ever heard someone say ‘just get your blood moving’? I hope so, because it’s good advice. When you exercise, your blood vessels dilate and allow blood to move more freely through your body. This has some great, but boring, results. Carrying oxygen through your body, cell growth, healthier skin, a decrease of clots…and on and on. But getting your blood moving can also strengthen those pumps of your heart. This fact is much less boring, assuming you love sleeping as much as our team here does.
Having stronger cardiac rhythms promotes a higher sense of alertness, by which we mean, you feel more awake. YAS! We always thought Mondays would be 100% more bearable if we could have a constant intake of caffeine, but according to the National Sleep Foundation, a regular exercise pattern will increase daytime alertness, bring on sleepiness at night, AND provide a much better quality of sleep.
Are you one of the unfortunate victims of sleep apnea, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, or similar misfortunes stealing away your peaceful nighttime dreams? Try introducing a new exercise routine into your day. Giving it a go just once is unlikely to have any impact on your sleep, but after about a month, you should be seeing some awesome results. What do you have to lose? Even adding a brisk walk to your daily routine will have you catching better z’s at night.
2) Cheer up, buttercup
Sometimes it feels like we have the weight on the world on our shoulders and, with that kind of pressure, who could possibly find time to exercise? Well, that is one of the reasons why exercising is crucial!
Getting a good workout can actually minimise the stress, depression, and anxiety in your life. It won’t make your responsibilities go away, but it will help your mental state adjust and cope. Exercise actually has the same impact on your brain as most antidepressants. Crazy!
According to the Better Health Channel , those who exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes have the best mental health benefits. However, if you really are struggling for time in your day, even a quick walk for a few yoga poses will provide benefits.
Exercise is also going to release endorphins and other feel-good chemicals in your brain. And the mood impact is said to last up to 12 hours. That’s right, 30 minutes of exercise can leave you feeling happy and stress-free almost all day! And when the mood high wears off, you’ll be sleeping well at night.
So how should you harness maximum mental benefits with exercising? Do your best to enjoy it! Some people find themselves in a better mood when they exercise with music and some find that being outdoors is the brain boost they need. If you don’t like running, try a different exercise. It’s all about enjoying the exercise to reap big benefits!
3) Easy movements
And we’re not talking about easy yoga poses and flexibility. We’re talking about easy bowel movements. Have you ever thrown your head back exasperated and frustrated when realising that your dog ALWAYS poops when you take her for a walk. What’s up with that?
Just like your dog’s bowels, your bowels will benefit from getting a bit of exercise. Inactivity is one of the most common reasons for constipation. Everyone looks at constipation a little differently. Whether it’s only pooping three times a week, having painful bowel movements, or if you’re finding it painful to carry out your ‘duties’ on the loo. It is never a pleasant experience.
When you get a good workout, it helps get your food through the large intestine. This rapid movement ensures that your poo will have minimal time to lose water. A healthy poo is going to have a significant amount of water in it, which helps make it easy to pass.
If you struggle with constipation, try to include aerobic exercises to your lifestyle. You don’t need to dig up the Richard Simmons videos, just do a bit of walking, jogging, swimming, or, hell, give dancing a go! Any kind of aerobic exercise and movements will get your poo moving so you’re not stuck pushing.
4) More brain boosters!
We’ve already talked about how exercising can help your mental wellbeing, but did you know that it can improve your cognitive ability as well? A 2014 study published in Neurology followed almost 3,000 people (aged 18-30) for 25 years. They administered fitness tests in the beginning of the study, and in the end, provided the participants with a series of cognitive tests. These tests measured memory, processing speed, problem solving, and other assessments designed to measure ability to learn and reason. We already gave you the spoiler, but those who were more physically fit performed 10% better than those less fit.
While the study itself isn’t that fun to read, it is fascinating that our minds are impacted by exercise. Some researchers suggest that it is due to more oxygen circulating to the brain, and others suggest it is from a chemical reaction in the brain. Either way, if exercise is going to get us through exam season, bring it on.
5) Choosing when to empty that bladder
Did you know that 1 in 8 teenage girls pee when they don’t want to? This could happen at school, in the gym, on a date…literally anywhere. It could be triggered by a cough or a sneeze, or even just thinking about the urge to pee. 1 in 8 is pretty common, but just because it’s common sure as hell doesn’t mean it’s normal. You should never pee (even a little squirt) unless you actively choose to.
So why does it happen so much if it isn’t normal? Often it is because girls, even the fitness fanatic ones, forget about a vital set of muscles: our pelvic floor. Our pelvic floor is the muscle that sits at the bottom of our core holding everything inside. Strengthening it will help control our pee and even keep our insides inside by protecting us from vaginal prolapse.
Are you ready to strengthen your pelvic floor? We like to keep it simple by explaining how to do the exercise with two short phrases: Lift & Squeeze. Rest & Relax. Imagine that you have a zipper from way back by your bum to the front tip of your pubic bone. Lift and squeeze as you imagine that zipper closing from back to front. Now open the zipper to relax the muscle. Easy right? You can do this workout anywhere, you don’t even need to take your nose out of the textbook!
Do you need a bit more guidance or information about pelvic floor exercises? Check out our Below the Belt section and join the #iworkout movement!