Have you ever gotten high off of endorphins as a result of exercise? It is awesome! Exercise not only helps you physically but also mentally!
Exercise (and the endorphin high) is readily accessible by all of us. Yet each year, chronic diseases cause 7 of 10 deaths among Americans. Heart disease, cancer, and stroke account for more than 50% of all deaths each year. Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. Four personal behaviors that can affect chronic diseases are: lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol use.
We have known about the risk of inactivity for a long time, and in developed nations the risk of early death is even greater due to inactivity (along with poor diet) as a primary driver of “lifestyle diseases”. In 2010 (this is not new news), the WHO reported on the public health significance of inactivity: physical inactivity had been identified as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality.
On the bright side, it has been shown that participation in regular exercise reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, diabetes, hypertension, colon cancer, breast cancer and depression.
So yeah, exercise will reduce your risk of death. Not exercising will increase your risk of death. It’s that simple.
Just as important, day in and day out, physical exercise improves our mental health and outlook. A cross-sectional study collected data on more than 1.2 million adults in the United States from 2011 to 2015 and found people who exercised experienced a 43.2-percent decrease in mental health issues (again, this is not new information). Further, exercise has been shown to improve cognitive function as we get older. Perhaps former MMA Champion and current State of Hawaii Gubernatorial candidate BJ Penn said it best on a recent Joe Rogan podcast on Spotify, “Working the Body Heals the Mind”. Hell yeah it does!
Exercising with others can be even better, and I have seen this firsthand not only with myself but also with a number of members at Revolution Fitness. During the early months of 2020, the gym was forced to close for two months. While we held zoom workout sessions and allowed members to borrow our equipment, it just wasn’t the same. Once we opened back up, I heard from many of our members that the positive mental vibes and community the gym provided were a big reason they missed not coming in. The social and community impact of exercising with others, for some, can be incredibly beneficial. Over the years, I have seen this by participating with teams in obstacle course races, such as Spartan Race. Incredibly fun, lots of endorphins, and a shared experience with others – makes it that much more enjoyable, memorable, and keeps you coming back for more!
Another recent example of exercise improving people’s mental outlook was something one of our Total Fit participants mentioned. He said that after a couple months in our program and proving to himself that he could change his nutrition and exercise habits that he had the confidence to change how he approached difficult situations at work. He is now more willing to tackle challenging conversations and responsibilities at work because of the confidence he gained by exercising and being healthier.
The more I see and hear first-hand accounts from others, the more I understand just how important exercise is. Personally, when I do tough shit physically, I feel I can handle other challenges throughout the day much better. And I love the endorphin high.
There is no excuse to not exercise and be healthy. If you continue to put it off, before you know it, it will be too late. No excuses – get started, and if you need help, just reach out!