You’ve heard it all before: you should be exercising, and exercising often. And you’ve probably come up with a variety of excuses for why you don’t. But the fact is, regular exercise doesn’t just make you feel better right after a trip to the gym—studies show that regular exercise has many long-term health benefits as well.
Excuse 1: I don’t have the energy to exercise!
You probably feel pretty worn out right after you exercise, but in the end exercise results in having more energy throughout your day. The process of exercising helps to deliver oxygen and important nutrients throughout your body, which makes your heart, lungs, and tissues healthier. And, if you don’t have the energy to exercise because you aren’t sleeping well, exercise can help there, too—it makes you fall asleep faster and helps you to sleep more deeply.
Excuse 2: I don’t have a weight problem and I feel fine. Why bother?
Some people are lucky enough to not to have to watch their weight. It seems like they can eat anything and it doesn’t affect them.
However, exercise can benefit these people in the long term as well. Studies show that people who exercise frequently have fewer health problems. Exercise can keep you from getting cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and even some types of cancer.
Excuse 3: I am not in the mood! In fact, I’m always in a bad mood…
You guessed it—exercise can in fact improve your mood and leave you feeling more relaxed. And it isn’t just a feeling of pride because you worked out (although that certainly can be a mood booster!). Exercise can get rid of stress and depression by altering brain chemistry.
Excuse 4: Working out at the gym is boring, and I don’t have the money to join one anyway.
One of the great things about exercise is the variety of ways you can get it—the majority of them without signing up at a gym. If you think walking is boring, try doing it with a friend and catch up on the latest gossip. Perhaps you don’t like that idea either—but maybe you would enjoy a dance class. Bike riding, swimming, playing with your dog in the yard, and gardening are all great ways to get exercise that might appeal to you more than being stuck inside a gym.
Excuse 5: I don’t have the time.
You don’t have to devote hours at a time to get the benefits of exercise. You can do it throughout the day—short walks before work, during your lunch hour, and after work, for instance. You can take the stairs instead of the elevator. You can park in a spot that is far away from work or the store. Even housework counts as exercise, and by vacuuming your house, you can kill two birds with one stone.
Exercise has so many long-term benefits that you might want to give it a try no matter what excuses you can come up with. Start out small and try to exercise a little each day, and soon you’ll be seeing both short- and long-term benefits.
By Laurie Clark