We all know exercise is important. Movement is really good for you. We all know it, right? But just how good is it for you.
Well, in a massive study published in the Journal of American Medical Association found that people who exercise regularly are at a lower risk of 13 different types of cancers than those that are less active. This study came from data from 1.4 million people over the course of 11 years – in other words, a massive study. Consider the fact that right now 1 in 3 women and 1 in 3 men get cancer in their lifetime. That is a huge staggering fact. So the fact that movement can lower our risk for 13 different types of cancers is huge.
But that’s not all!
Experts have suggested that regular exercise is the closest to a magic bullet to help combat the worldwide epidemic of obesity and cardiovascular disease. Long term benefits of regular exercise include: Reduce blood pressure, lower risk of diabetes, lower risk of heart attack, lower risk of stroke, lower risk of arthritis
Lots of benefits, but still…
Most Americans don’t move. Four out of five gym memberships go unused. 80% of Americans don’t get the recommended amount of exercise. 64% don’t do any physical activities at all. That means more than half of the American people simply don’t move beyond what they absolutely have to to get by in their day.
Inactivity is tied to 5.3 million deaths worldwide per year. And to understand exactly how that stat compares – it’s similar to smoking. Not moving can be just as dangerous to your health as smoking is.
In 2010, a group of organizations banded together to develop the first National Physical Activity Plan. This included groups like the American Heart Association, the CDC, The American Cancer Association, etc. They all banded together to create this sort of blueprint to get Americans moving. But since the release of that plan physical activity levels in the United States have barely budged, and for many people, they have declined.
We all know we should move more.
So why aren’t we doing it?
After surveying more than 1000 people, I found the most common excuses people have for not moving are:
- Disliking exercise
- Motivation to change
Researcher, author, and motivation scientist, Michelle Segar (University of Michigan) said: “We may be thinking about exercise in the most negative and demotivating way possible.”
She explains that most people tend to focus on the long-term benefits: Weight loss, less cancer risk, improved cardiovascular health, and so forth.
The problem is that when we focus on the long-term benefits exercise becomes an obligation.
And if we don’t do it we feel guilty. While guilt is a motivator of sorts, it isn’t a very good one in the long term.
Segar then says that if we focus on the short-term benefits movement becomes a gift. It becomes something we want to do. It becomes something that we begin to have a desire to do that brings joy to our life.
If we want to make exercise “stick” we have to focus on the short-term benefits.
Let’s focus on the gift of movement. That may sound a little cheesy or like a Christmas carol is about to start, but stick with me on this.
I love movement. I don’t really like exercise, though. Sometimes it’s okay, other days I don’t want to do it. But for me, the short term benefits of movement have always been at the forefront of why I make time for it. When I focus on the immediate benefits of movement and exercise it’s not just something I want to do. It becomes something I crave.
The Immediate Benefits of Movement
Movement and exercise can do a lot of things to make you feel awesome right away. Things like:
- Boosts your mood
- Helps you sleep better
- Helps you think more clearly
- Increases your self-esteem and confidence
Let’s talk about that last one for a moment.
One of my favorite examples of higher self-esteem through movement is a study done by Amy Cuddy who has one of the top three watched TED talks of all time. She did a study where people held themselves in a power pose (think hands on the hips type of pose) versus others who held themselves in closed, weak poses. And they discovered that those that held these power poses for just two minutes saw their stress hormones go down and they had more adrenalin and energy.
What’s interesting is hearing the accounts of people who used these methods in first dates, interviews, public speaking and so forth and how it drastically changed these events.
Of course, my favorite reason for moving is that it makes me feel alive. Nothing confirms my own sense of being like movement. It’s the key to feeling, experiencing life and sensations, and connecting with others. Moving is critical for the whole human experience.
At SomaFit our mission is to help you feel alive.
We are not interested in guilting you into exercise. We know movement can be restorative, energizing, therapeutic, and fun. Our approach to fitness is one that honors you – body, mind, and spirit. Our short (and yummy) classes will put a smile on your face and remind you of the immediate benefits of moving your body the way nature intended.
So, if you’re finally ready to make movement a habit and reap the MANY long-term benefits, focus on the short-term ones first. SomaFit is the easy solution to changing the way you exercise and move. Right now we’re giving you lifetime access to all 250+ classes for less than a monthly gym membership.
Move over chocolate, there’s a new craving in town.
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