You know exercise is one of the very best things you can do for your body, your mind, and your life as a whole. But when it’s cold outside, your couch is calling, and your New Year’s Resolutions seem a lifetime ago, it can be hard to stay motivated.
To inspire you, we’ve put together this list of no fewer than 63 reasons why you should get moving.
You could exercise to...
1. Reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases
Staying active lowers your chance of experiencing cardiac ‘events’ such as a heart attack or a stroke.
2. Improve your endurance
Struggling to climb the stairs? Or do you already run 10k every day? Either way: the more you do, the more you can do.
3. Reduce and manage anxiety
Aerobic exercise in particular can reduce feelings of anxiety and give you a greater sense of control over your life.
4. Avoid type 2 diabetes…
Staying physically active and maintaining a healthy body weight reduces your risks of developing this form of the disease.
5. ...but if you do develop it, exercise can help you control it.
Exercise makes the insulin in your body work more effectively to help control your glucose levels.
6. Keep your bones healthy
Exercise makes muscles stronger, but did you know it can do the same for your bones? Regular weight-bearing exercise helps prevent osteoporosis.
7. Keep your bowels healthy
Staying active is an important part of keeping your digestive system regular - just remember to drink more water when you exercise.
8. Reach and maintain a healthy weight
Exercise is about much more than weight loss. But if you’re trying to shed some pounds (or keep them off), you’ll need cardio!
9. Lower your blood pressure
Raising your heart rate can reduce your blood pressure, and help blood pressure medication work better: ask your doctor for an exercise program.
10. Lower your cholesterol
40 minutes of aerobic exercise per week can lower your cholesterol numbers and protect your heart from disease.
11. Prevent cancer
There is scientific evidence that staying physically active reduces your risk of cancer in the breast, bowel and uterus, by regulating your hormone levels.
12. Beat depression
Studies have shown that alongside treatment, yoga, walking or any moderate intensity exercise can help to reduce symptoms in people living with depression.
13. Look good
Whether you want to work on your weight, your muscle tone, or simply your body confidence, sensible exercise helps you look and feel great.
14. Meet people
Finding it hard to fit in a social life? A fitness class or sports team can be a fun way to meet like-minded people.
15. Experience nature
If you live near a forest or beach - or just have a park nearby - running, walking or cycling in nature is good for the soul.
16. See the world
Every running magazine lists ‘races to run before you die’; every skier has a mountain they’d love to conquer. Book a trip today!
17. ...or get to know your home town
Whether you live in a city or suburb, get moving outdoors to discover hidden gems you never knew existed.
18. Improve flexibility
Increased flexibility means better sports performance and fewer injuries. Join a yoga class or just try some dynamic stretches at home.
19. Raise your self-esteem
Aside from all the physiological benefits of exercise for your mental health, simply feeling yourself improve at something challenging is a huge confidence boost.
20. Blow off steam
We all get frustrated now and again. Get it all out of your system by pumping iron or pounding the pavements.
21. Spend quality time with your partner
By working out together you’ll spur each other on to achieve your goals and build a stronger bond as a couple.
22. Spend quality time with a pet
Treat your pup to an extra-long walk (or run - but speak to a vet first) and you’ll both come home tired-out and happy.
Cut the cost and environmental impact of your commute by walking, cycling or running to or from work.
24. Experience healthy competition (and maybe even win something!)
Nothing motivates us like competition. Enter a race, challenge a colleague to squash, or pick out a rival at the gym.
25. Remind yourself what you’re capable of
When you’re feeling down or overwhelmed, take a long run or work out just to wow yourself with what your body can do.
26. Get more energy for the everyday
Life takes it out of you, whether you’re powerlifting a toddler or just trying to get through the day. Regular exercise helps you power through.
26. Manage stress
Beat stress by getting those endorphins pumping. Walking, running and yoga can all help you relax and concentrate when you’re stressed out.
27. Take some time for yourself
If you have kids, exercise could be the only thing on your calendar for you alone. Make the most of it!
Endorphins are great for boosting your creativity and getting ideas flowing. If you’re stuck on a project why not head out for a run?
29. Spark other positive changes
For many people, regular exercise is what’s known as a keystone habit - a single change with a huge impact on your whole life.
30. Boost your immune system
Just 20 minutes of light exercise, like a brisk walk, helps your body stay healthy, fight off germs and recover more quickly from illness.
31. Model a healthy lifestyle for your kids
We all know your kids learn from your example. Want them to have a healthy, active life? Then get moving!
32. Get out of the house
If you’re at home a lot during the day, even a short walk can be a huge boost for your health and mood.
33. Switch your brain off
Especially if you have a mentally or emotionally taxing job, it feels really great to just stop thinking for half an hour and let your muscles take over.
34. Try something new
It’s always good to bust out of a rut! Join a new class, take up a new sport or just mix up your workout routine.
35. Maintain the habit
The more you ingrain a daily exercise habit, the easier it is to keep it up. Eventually you’ll be up and moving without a thought.
36. Get more and better sleep
Just 10 minutes of aerobic exercise today could help you sleep better and for longer tonight - and reduce your risk of sleep disorders.
It can be hard to fit in time for your friends: why not make a date to play tennis or go for a run together?
38. Improve your posture
Yoga, pilates or a core strength workout can all help strengthen the muscles connected to your spine to keep you feeling great and looking graceful.
39. Reset your body clock
If your circadian rhythm is off due to jet lag, shift work or daylight savings time, well-timed exercise can help you shift back into gear.
40. Beat loneliness
Loneliness is particularly prevalent among older people. Connect with other humans at an exercise class, a running club or even on a walk around your neighborhood.
41. Get some natural light
Exposure to natural light is vital for your health, mood and productivity. Run, walk or work out outdoors - feel the sun on your face!
42. Give back to your community
Spread the love by teaching a yoga class, coaching a sports team, marshaling a local race or run...the possibilities are endless!
43. Cut down your car use
Switching to active travel for as many trips as you can will cut your impact on the planet and local air quality.
44. Fill some dead time
On hold? Waiting for your dinner to cook? Or just at a loose end for two minutes? Why not rock some crunches, squats or push-ups?
45. Learn how to keep yourself safe
Get stronger, get fitter, and learn some basic self-defense to make sure you can always handle yourself in a dangerous situation.
46. Start your day off right
Getting a workout in first thing in the morning is the best way to kickstart a whole day of productivity and healthy habits.
47. Help prevent Alzheimer’s
Just 150 minutes of exercise a week can improve your memory and protect against dementia.
48. Improve your sex life
Aside from the obvious bedroom benefits of increased endurance and flexibility, exercise has also been found to promote greater satisfaction...
49. Improve your focus
Aerobic exercise improves blood flow to the brain, which aids concentration.
50. Get comfortable with discomfort
Once you’re accustomed to pushing through the pain of one more set of crunches, you’re ready to face whatever difficulties your day holds. That phone call you’ve been putting off? No problem!
51. Relieve back pain
For most causes of back pain, the right exercise - done in moderation - will help ease it. Speak to a physiotherapist about the right workout for you.
52. Get stronger
Stronger muscles, stronger bones, stronger lungs and heart and mindset: whether it’s physical or mental strength you need to build, exercise will help you out.
53. Boost your happiness
There is scientific evidence that people who exercise are generally happier - and the mood boost of just 20 minutes of exercise can last up to 12 hours!
54. Live longer
Regular exercise could add 4 years to your lifespan! Why would you say no? Just think what you could do with all that time...
55. Age better
...like exercise more! Exercise doesn’t stop when you hit 50, 60, 70 or even 80: and studies have shown that older people who exercise regularly have a healthier, happier, longer old age.
56. Have fun
We can’t promise you’re going to enjoy every single run or gym session, and it’s important to make exercise such a regular habit that you’ll get it done even when you don’t love it. But if you don’t have fun while you exercise at least some of the time, you’re doing it wrong!
57. Have a healthy pregnancy
Staying fit and active during pregnancy - without overdoing it - is important to help you adapt to your changing shape. It will also help you cope with labor. Speak to your doctor about safe, moderate exercise, or look into a pregnancy yoga class.
58. Quit smoking
If you smoke, quitting is hands done the single best thing you can do for your health, your wallet and your life. It’s not easy - but exercise can help. Exercise provides a way to calm your stress and your cravings, a counter to any weight gain, and something to focus on.
59. Regulate your appetite
Anyone who does a lot of exercise will know that they crave food differently after a workout than they do the rest of the time, and science is starting to find the reasons why. All we know is, the more exercise you do, the healthier your food choices are likely to be.
60. Manage allergies
If you’ve ever used allergy season as an excuse to skip a run, think again: research has shown that you can reduce the severity of allergy symptoms with a 30-minute run. Just...maybe run on a treadmill, not through the woods!
61. Control PMS
When you’re bloated, aching and cranky, exercise might be the last thing on your mind: but a lot of women find that exercise helps reduce symptoms like depression, fatigue, mood swings and cramps.
62. Brighten your skin
Sweat, the increased blood flow from exercise and time outdoors will all give you a gorgeous glow - just don’t forget to put on sunblock before you run, and to use a good facial cleanser afterward.
63. It’s free
Sure, you can spend hundreds of dollars a month on fancy equipment or gym membership. But there are hundreds of ways you can get moving without spending a dime. Drop and do some push-ups; find a workout video on YouTube - or just head out for a walk.
There is pretty much no area of your life that won’t be improved by getting a little exercise. You’ll get the most benefit from a regular routine, but the most important thing is to make a start. What are you waiting for?