It’s no secret that moving more helps us to be fitter and healthier. Research shows that as little as 30 minutes of exercise per day can boost our general health and well-being. What are some other benefits of getting in half an hour of exercise every day?
1. Heart health
Stroke, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes – minimise your risk with a half hour gym session and keep your heart and blood flow happy.
2. Weight loss
Yep – even half an hour of exercise per day can help you to prevent excess weight gain or maintain weight loss. Stick to high-intensity sessions to burn more calories – if you’re struggling for time, get more active in your day to day duties (e.g. taking the stairs or walking to work).
3. Reduce stress
Exercise increases the amount of norepinephrine in your body – the chemical that can moderate our brain’s response to stress and stressful situations. If you’ve had a tough day, go ahead and get sweaty — a quick work out can reduce stress, as well as boost your ability to deal with existing mental tension.
4. Mood booster
That hatred you can have for your running shoes? Put it to good use in a quick HIIT session – physical activity stimulates chemicals in your brain to leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy the post-exercise endorphin rush?
5. Energy burst
When your energy levels are at zero, it can be tempting to skip gym in favour of Netflix – but that half hour of exercise can give you the boost you’re looking for. Delivering oxygen and nutrients to your muscle tissues while helping your cardiovascular system to work more efficiently, exercise will give your body the shake-up it needs to continue working effectively.
6. Improve memory
If you’re looking to boost your powers of recollection, take a half hour trek around the neighbourhood. Exercise increases the production of cells in hippocampus responsible for memory and learning.
7. Increase productivity
Ever feel like your afternoon coffee break just doesn’t cut it? Taking a half hour walk during your lunch break could be the difference between a 2pm slump and a productive afternoon. Research shows that workers who take time away from their desk to get moving are more productive than their sedentary co-workers.
8. Tap into creativity
Writer’s block can’t be avoided by staring extra hard into your laptop screen, so get away from the computer for a half hour exercise session instead. Refreshing and recharging with some outdoor exercise could be your ticket to creative heaven.
9. Improve self confidence
We all have days where we feel less than average – half an hour of exercise could be the difference between a self-pity sob session and a well-deserved hit of self-confidence, so get sweaty. Your body will thank you in the long run.
When setting out on a health kick or weight loss journey, we all know how important diet and exercise are, but did you know that stress also plays a role? Even if you eat well and exercise daily, stress can wreak havoc on your health, and it’s all thanks to a little hormone called cortisol.
Cortisol is naturally released into the bloodstream in times of stress and is automatically regulated by your body. For short term bouts of stress triggered by the famous ‘fight or flight’ response, cortisol levels temporarily spike, but are quickly returned to a regulated level, however prolonged periods of stress can result in the production of too much cortisol, which can have a negative impact on your health, and in particular, your waistline.
When cortisol levels rise, so too does the body’s insulin levels, causing an immediate spike in blood sugar levels, followed of course by the inevitable sugar crash. This leads to the body craving foods high in sugar, salt and fat as a means to regain energy.
Signs your body might be producing too much cortisol:
- Elevated blood pressure
- Suppressed immune system
- Stomach ache
- Difficulty sleeping
- Unhealthy food cravings
- Weight gain
- Cold and flu symptoms
These factors might be causing your cortisol levels to spike:
- Overcommitted schedule
- Working long hours
- Exercising more than once a day
- Doing a lot of HIIT training
- Drinking excess caffeine or alcohol
How to lower your cortisol levels, naturally:
- Limit consumption of caffeine and alcohol
- Exercise regularly, but at a moderate level (limit HIIT training to 1-2 per week)
- Practice mindfulness or meditation
- Get 8-9 hours of sleep every night
- Switch off from technology a few hours before bed
Hands up those of you who start every new year with a long list of health and fitness resolutions you’re determined to uphold? Now keep your hand up if you get to March and realise you’ve fallen off the bandwagon? FYI – our hands are up too. Our point is, that you don’t need a new year to set new goals… so to prove it, we thought it was time for a mid-year goal check-in.
Our goals are as unique as we are, so whether it’s fitting back into your favourite pair of jeans, getting bikini confident in time for summer or simply challenging yourself to commit to something new, think about what you really want to achieve, because having a clear goal will help you stay motivated and on track.
Having this overarching goal in the forefront of your mind will help hold you accountable and pull you out of bed on those mornings you just don’t want to get up, it will stop you from ordering that burger and fries when you really want them and it will help you stay on track when you feel like giving up.
Once you decide on your goal, make sure it’s smart. Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely.
Put your goal to the smart test and stack it up against the below criteria to increase your chances of achieving it!
Goals that are too vague are hard to achieve… think: who, what, when, where, why?
If you can’t quantify the goal, how do you know when you’ve achieved it?
Can you break it down into smaller, more manageable steps
It it possible for you to actually achieve it?
Remember, a goal without a deadline is just a dream.
So if you want to lose weight, don’t generalise and say “I want to lose weight”… where’s the accountability? Set a smart goal, reframe the situation and try saying “I want to lose 2kgs in 8 weeks”.