We all know that exercise is good for us, but many of us struggle with finding time to go to the gym. The answer might be to stop trying and find a way to exercise at home, anytime that works for you. Many busy people just like you get all the benefits of exercise with their own treadmill. There are many options available and there’s a treadmill for every budget. So let’s say you do this; you get yourself a treadmill and you start exercising at least 15 minutes a day, 3 to 5 days per week. What can you expect in terms of results, and how long should it take?
The ‘how long’ is the easiest question to answer. It depends a lot upon how often you exercise, as well as the intensity and duration. If you really dedicate yourself you’ll start to feel better all over within days. Discipline your diet and you can see significant weight loss and much greater energy levels after just a few weeks. Obviously, if you have less time to commit to it, and work out at a lower level it will take longer, but exercise of any kind should start to produce a noticeable lift in your energy levels and overall muscle tone within a few weeks.
But what else? The fact is there’s a lot more to the benefits of exercise than just weight loss and greater energy levels.
The first benefits for busy people like yourself that you might not be aware of are mental and emotional rather than physical. Exercise improves mood, fights depression, increases focus, allows us to sleep better, wake more refreshed, and feel more confident. Yes, really! It does all that and study after study has confirmed it. Exercise releases a host of brain chemicals that are responsible for how we feel about ourselves, how well we deal with stress, and how easily we can regulate negative emotions such as doubt and worry.
If you’re in business, this equates to walking in to that important meeting with more energy, more confidence and greater focus. It means a higher EQ when dealing with family, friends and even the occasional rude store clerk! Better fitness also means better health, as your body becomes more resistant to infection and your energy levels increase.
Who could have imagined that just 15 minutes per day, as little as 3 days per week could do all that?
Believe it or not, there’s more though.
Exercise increases longevity, not just through the obvious means of making us less susceptible to heart disease or other organ failures, but by increasing muscle tone and increasing cardiovascular health our body actually ages slower. Imagine being one of those people who looks ten years younger than you are. In both our business and personal relationships, a more youthful demeanor is a major bonus, resulting in more positive reactions from those we deal with. Exercise can allow you to hold on to that much longer than you otherwise would, and can even take a few years off if you’re already feeling ‘over the hill’.
While we touched on this earlier, stress deserves its own special mention. We deal with it every day, and we all know people who have chosen to deal with that stress in ways that just cause even more problems, such as addiction and other self-destructive behaviours. Exercise makes us far less susceptible to stress itself, and therefore more likely to find other healthy ways to deal with it.
Exercise releases endorphins, which produce a natural high very similar to morphine, and serotonin, the body’s natural anti-depressant. While the endorphins wear off within an hour or two of a workout, regular exercise results in permanently higher levels of serotonin, a natural antidepressant, as well as norepinephrine, which improves mental focus and memory. In addition, we also get a release of dopamine, the brain’s ‘reward’ chemical, which gives us a feeling of achievement.
Finally one last anti-aging benefit, and it may be the most important of all! Exercise increases the levels of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which promotes the formation of new connections between our brain cells, repairs damaged cells and just generally slows the aging of our brain, resulting in us keeping our cognitive functions longer. It may even help to prevent degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
If you’re über busy and just don’t have time to go to a gym, consider a treadmill for your home. It stores nicely in the corner, is always there when you have time to exercise, can be used despite the weather outside, and as you’ve seen from this article has a host of health benefits that can not only make you healthier and happier, but more successful, whatever your goals in life.