Did you know the average American is sedentary for 21 hours a day?
Eight of these hours account for sleep, which we all need. But the other 13? It’s divided between working, watching TV, or lounging around.
While it’s important to take time to relax, the truth is that most of us spend far too much time sitting. Adopting an active lifestyle is easier said than done, but your long-term health depends on it.
Don’t believe us? Lack of physical activity is one of three leading causes of premature death in the US!
You may not be able to change the fact that you sit all day at work. But why should you make time to include some physical activity in your everyday routine?
In this post, we’ll outline 9 proven health benefits of an active lifestyle. Read on to learn more–and then get moving!
1. Improved Physical Condition
The first and most obvious benefit of an active lifestyle is you’ll get into better shape.
Sitting on the couch isn’t going to tone your muscles or help you lose weight. But moderate exercise 3-5 days a week will make a world of difference in how your body feels.
If you’re not sure where to start with an exercise plan, you might consider semi private training sessions.
Bonus: Improved cardiovascular health can significantly increase your lifespan. If that’s not a reason to jump on the treadmill, we don’t know what is.
2. Fewer Aches & Pains
Do you often experience headaches, back pain, or a stiff neck? Each of these is a symptom of a sedentary lifestyle.
You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel simply by getting up and moving around. An active lifestyle improves circulation and brings oxygen to your muscles, relieving those pesky aches and pains.
Combine an active lifestyle with natural pain remedies and you may never reach for that bottle of Advil again.
3. Reduced Risk of Disease
Many modern diseases can be traced back to a sedentary lifestyle.
To ward off your risk of developing hypertension, diabetes, or high cholesterol, add some activity to your daily routine. Even a brisk walk around the block can do wonders for your blood pressure.
Exercise also strengthens your bone and joints. As you age, you’re less likely to develop conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis.
Want to keep your mind healthy too? Studies have found that regular exercise may reduce your risk of cognitive disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Better Sleep
Do you often have trouble falling (or staying) asleep? If so, a sedentary lifestyle may be the culprit.
Without a healthy dose of physical activity, your body is likely to have pent-up energy. This can come back to haunt you at the end of the day when you’re trying to unwind and go to sleep.
Studies have found a direct correlation between regular exercise and better sleep. Participants reported fewer symptoms of insomnia as well as improved mood in the mornings.
5. Natural Anti-Depressant
If you struggle with depression, a more active lifestyle could help you feel better.
How does this happen? For starters, exercise produces a rush of endorphins, your body’s natural “feel good” hormones. It also creates positive changes in brain chemistry, forging new connections and activity patterns.
Another way an active lifestyle helps to fight depression is it provides a healthy distraction for the body and mind. Rather than getting trapped in a negative thought cycle, exercise gives your mind something positive to focus on.
6. Reduces Anxiety
One of the best outlets for anxiety and tension is a little bit (or a lot) of exercise.
Those same endorphins and chemicals that fight depression can also ease your symptoms of anxiety. It also helps your muscles to relax, breaking any negative patterns of physical and mental stress.
To quiet your mind during physical activity, focus on individual sensations. How do your feet feel when they hit the pavement? Can you feel the wind on your face or find the rhythm to your breathing?
If you can interrupt that flow of worries in your brain, you’ve found a natural and very powerful antidote for anxiety.
7. Improved Self-Esteem
With all that good energy flowing, how could you not begin to feel better about yourself?
An active lifestyle contributes to better physical, mental, and emotional health. The better you look and feel, the more confident you’ll feel in yourself and your abilities.
Really want to make that self-esteem soar? Set fitness or activity goals for yourself and then work towards them. This could be as ambitious as running a 10K or as simple as walking around the block every day.
8. Emotional Resilience
When we’re tired and stressed, it’s all too easy to curl up on the couch and wish our worries would disappear.
Worse still, when the going gets tough, many of us turn to alcohol, drugs, or overeating for comfort.
Adopting an active lifestyle gives you the tools you need to successfully cope with stress and anxiety. Best of all, it’s completely natural and–in many cases–completely free!
9. Effective Weight Control
If you’re overweight, a more active lifestyle is key to losing that extra weight (and keeping it off).
What if you’re already at a healthy weight? As you age, your metabolism slows, making physical activity ever more important.
Staying active is the perfect way to lose those extra pounds or maintain your current weight.
Ready to Adopt an Active Lifestyle?
As you can see, the benefits of being active are worth the effort it requires.
You don’t have to become a bodybuilder or a marathon runner to get into shape. Even the smallest changes can make a world of difference in your health.
An active lifestyle isn’t the only pathway to good health. Check out our recent post about vital minerals your body also needs to thrive.