Exercise your choice to change your life

We all know that exercise boosts out health and fitness, but we often overlook it, procrastinate, avoid it or are sporadic in our efforts.

It’s too cold, it’s too hot…

I don’t have enough time…

I am feeling lazy…

I am happy with the way I look…

I don’t have health issues…

Round is a shape too…

The excuses are endless. But pay heed because by not exercising your choice to stay fit and healthy, you are choosing to hurt your body and quality of life. Today, science is going beyond looking at the obvious positive outcomes of exercise, to researching on how exercise enhances our genes. The studies will have broader implications in the days to come. But even today, studies estimate that 80 percent of all diabetes and cardiovascular diseases could be prevented through better lifestyle: no smoking, drinking in moderation, maintaining a healthy body weight, eating consciously, and the largest contributing factor of becoming physically active.

Many people understand the benefits of exercise on physiological and psychological levels, but it goes beyond that. Having fitness goals and being active can change you as a person. If you can commit to self improvement in one area of your life, it is improbable that other areas of your life will not change for the better too. Our bodies are meant to move. But the increasingly sedentary lifestyles we are opting for will have damaging consequences on our health and well being. Whatever your age, being physically active can help you lead a healthier and happier life. It’s never too late to begin.

I am listing below a few exercise suggestions for you to try in the New Year:

  • Yoga – It is a physical and spiritual discipline and an ideal practice for most people. Concentrating on the simple act of watching your breath will have immense benefits on your physical health and calming of the mind. Ensure that you have a good teacher and commit yourself to at least 3-5 days of practice.
  • Cycling – All you need is a bicycle and a helmet. It’s great to be outdoors and meeting the challenges of a long ride will help build your inner strength too.
  • Running – Recreational joggers and serious runners swear by this exercise form. The health benefits are huge. 30-45 minutes on track will do wonders for your health. Do invest in a good pair of trainers. Not up for running yet, try walking, but do it every day.
  • Boxing – This is a great sport and fast gaining popularity among fitness enthusiasts. Boxing builds confidence, strength coordination and cardiovascular fitness. The mental benefits are huge too increasing your focus and your reflexes. Ensure that you learn from a certified trainer.
  • Mixed Martial Arts – Gaining immense popularity across the globe, MMA gets you stronger and fitter and demands a high level of intensity and dedication. You can try and find a more well rounded athlete in terms of overall fitness than a MMA fighter, but I doubt you’ll be able to. It’s a progressive sport and you learn all the time.

Over a career spanning 20 years, I cannot emphasize enough how important and life changing exercise can be. Here I am sharing a few experiences of clients who have emerged stronger, fitter and healthier.

  • When I was in college, I suffered from stomach problems all the time. After getting on a regular exercise routine, I am now less stressed, have lost weight and look better. The best part, I choose what I eat intentionally and am not on medication any more.
  • Exercise got me pregnant. I was trying for years to get pregnant and was even on medication. But after exercising consistently and eating better, I got pregnant and am the proud mother of a two year old.
  • My workout is my ‘me’ time. I feel great after a good workout and it shows in how I behave. I work better at office and am a better person at home. I have more energy to do more stuff now. I am also a more confident person.
  • I always knew the benefits of exercise, but could not get myself going until the doctor decided for me. Today exercise is an important part of how I start my day. I don’t do it just because the doctor told me to anymore, I do it for me.
  • I am cancer survivor and was physically and mentally low when I started to exercise. Months later, I am a stronger and more positive person. I still worry about my cancer coming back again, but I feel that I can deal with anything now. Everybody should make time for organised exercise. Its life changing.

The author is a certified professional fitness instructor, founder and master trainer at Rage Fitness and a fitness columnist who specialises in mixed martial arts.