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By Resean Reece

Virtually one month ago, before the clock struck 12:00 dawning a new year, I am sure many of you started an exercise program and made fitness goals. Now you are experiencing hindrance meeting your goals.  Typical reasons being, “…I was just too busy…”, “…I wasn’t motivated…”, “…I didn’thavecompany…”and “…exercisedidn’tseem to be helping…”.  Unfortunately, some of you had new or exacerbated health issues that could have been complicated by exercise.  However, is that what we really exercise for, just to build muscle or lose weight?!  It is good to aim high.  Go for the ultimate bod of your dreams!  Know though that exercise does more for you than what meets the eyes.  Understanding the benefits of exercise in greater depth and hence knowing the reason you exercise should help you to feel more motivated to reorganize your goals in this not so new year.  Here are some surprising benefits of exercise and hence why you should start NOW! Mood Enhancement  – Exercise helps the brain to release more dopamine and endorphin neurotransmitters, which are the body’s feel good hormones. Research shows that higher levels of thesenaturalchemicalscontributes toone feeling happier, more motivated and more productive. Curefor Insomnia –Anothernaturalhormonethat increases in concentration in your bloodstream after exercise, is serotonin. This nature drug facilitates relaxation of the body and induces sleep.  Indeed, adequate sleep allows the body to repair itself, better preparing it for future tasks. Exercise is your Psychiatrist! – Fight dementia, depression,anxiety,ADHDandotherpsychosocial disorders while engaging in regular physical activity.Exercise trainsone’scognition, improving judgment, memory and attention span.  I would even go on to say that exercise requires a lot mentally just as physically, in order for you to be committed, understand and reap the benefits of your exercise plan. StressRelief – Iremember learning inhighschool that exercise is ‘Eustress’. This term describes the psychological state of experiencing a difficult or challenging task, that brings about a positive

Energy Booster – A lot of us complain about not having theenergy toexercise,butwhat ifexercise gives us the energy we need. Low intensity or even a short duration exercise can decrease fatigue or lethargy.  Circulation is increased to the brain which makes us more alert with exercise.  Energy is more efficiently utilized from food nutrients that would otherwise be stored away is converted to fat or become waste, based on the increased physical demand of exercise.  Accelerate your metabolism with exercise! Painkiller – No, I am not speaking about tablets or ointments. Exercise can help to reduce joint, muscle and nerve pain, so think twice before you pop some pills in your mouth to later endure their side effects.  Here we go again with the body’s natural chemicals.  Endorphins, enkephalins and dynorphins are the body’s own opioids that attach to cell receptors, blocking pain signals.  Numerous fibromyalgia and lupus patients have responded to health professionals and surveys, indicating exercise as one of their best methods of pain control. Please note, that these natural opioids may not provide adequate analgesia for severe or chronic pain and on the flipside, will not cause addiction.  Beware, exercise may cause increased pain in some conditions so it would be best to consult your doctor or physiotherapist if you would like to exercise as an option for pain relief, especially if you are not sure and have no experience doing so. What about sex?! – Having better strength, endurance and flexibility in the ‘sack’ should excite you and your partner, all achieved with regular exercise. However, on the more serious side of reproductive health men with erectile dysfunction have turned to aerobic exercises to improve blood flow for better results.  It is evidenced that men suffering from premature ejaculation benefit considerably from pelvic floor strengthening. Women who have had abdominal or pelvic-related surgeries have managed to strengthen their reproductive muscles with Kegel exercises.  Such exercises can help treat urinary incontinence for both sexes.  Lamaze classes have helped pregnant women to lessen the complications and discomfort of labor and delivery.  Some exercises can help to relieve menstrual cramps. (CONTINUED ON REVERSE)

change in body or mind.  You are therefore able to adapt to and benefit from exercise in the long run.  The mood-enhancing chemicals play a big role here as well.  Also, it is quite difficult to worry about your monthly bills or terrible boss, the very moment your body is shaking under a heavy barbell during squats. Cheers to Self-Confidence – Oh yes! Exercise will boost your self-esteem. You definitely feel great when you look in the mirror, but there is just a unique feeling that you get when you are able to safely bench press 100+ lbs or run a mile.  You feel like you can take on the day or take on the world and you probably will!  You will appreciate yourself more based on your fitness accomplishments and you are more inclined to reward yourself. Exercise at least every other day; To keep the doctor away – “Prevention is better than cure,” they said. They were right!  Studies are showing that regular exercise can significantly decrease the risk of having several illnesses, not limited to, cancer, heart disease, strokes, seizures, hypertension, diabetes and even the common flu.  Even if you are plagued by these conditions exercise helps to manage the associated complications and prevent relapses.  Your white blood cells increase in number and arecirculated throughoutyourbodymorequickly, which kill harmful microorganisms and repair injured tissue.

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