We all know, and have been told more times than we can count, that exercise is good for our health. However, just because we know it doesn’t mean we’ll do it. There are many other things on people’s mind, like work, school and our personal lives, so sometimes our health takes a backseat because there isn’t enough time for exercise.

Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret. There’s no better time to start exercising than now. So get out your takkies and let’s run through this.

Why exercise is important?

  • Exercising makes one feel good. A report by Healthline says that exercise, “… produces changes in the parts of the brain that regulate stress and anxiety. It can also increase brain sensitivity for the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which relieve feelings of depression.”
  • With the help of exercise, you will have healthier muscles and bones; this is especially helpful once you grow older. According to Healthline, exercise helps with the release of hormones that assist your muscles to absorb amino acids. This helps your muscles to grow and reduces breakdown.
  • Exercise also helps you get a better night’s rest. The energy that you burn during exercise is recuperated while you sleep. Healthline further adds, “Moreover, the increase in body temperaturethat occurs during exercise is thought to improve sleep quality by helping it drop during sleep.”
  • You know when people say they need coffee in the morning to function throughout the day? Well exercise is exactly like that too. By exercising, let’s say early morning, it provides you with an extra boost of energy.
  • Regular exercise can also improve brain function and help retain memory. When you exercise your heart rate picks up and this in turn encourages blood flow and oxygen to your brain. Exercise also helps with hormone production that aids the growth of brain cells.

Getting down to exercise

When first starting to exercise it’s important to always have a goal in mind. So would you like to lose weight or stay healthy? Well my goal is a bit of both. I’d like to lose a bit of weight around my stomach area, but also exercise to stay in shape.

When working out I think it’s also really important to be determined. You have to have some determination to change your current lifestyle. Once you commit and are ready for the challenge then nothing can stop you.

I think it’s also crucial to mention that not every workout has to be 30-60 minutes long. I’ve done workouts where it was simply 10 minutes. But during that 10 minutes I worked hard without any breaks.

Despite taking no breaks during the 10 minutes, it’s important to stress that you should always listen to your body. If you need to take a break then do so, you can always come back later and continue or stop the workout altogether.

Alternative workouts

Exercise can be hard, but also so much fun. If you’re one of those people, like I was, then you’d certainly think that the only way to exercise is by getting all sweaty and jumping around by doing cardio. Well you are wrong I can proudly say. Although, cardio is absolutely helpful and beneficial, it’s not the only way to get our hearts pumping.

  1. Zumba

If you haven’t heard of Zumba then where have you been?  According to Edward R. Laskowsk, “Zumba is a fitness program that combines Latin and international music with dance moves. Zumba routines incorporate interval training — alternating fast and slow rhythms — to help improve cardiovascular fitness.”

I think why so many people love Zumba, about 15 million worldwide, is because it doesn’t really feel like you’re working out, but feels more like dancing. And who wouldn’t want to start dancing once you hear tantalising Latin music.

  1. Pilates

According to an article by Emily Abbate, Pilates is, “Pilates is a form of low-impact exercise that aims to strengthen muscles while improving postural alignment and flexibility. Pilates moves tend to target the core, although the exercises work other areas of your body as well.”

I decided to try Pilates on a whim, but let me tell you it changed the way I exercise. Besides the fact that I don’t have to wear takkies for Pilates, I also like how timid it is. There’s no jumping up and down and no loud music, which I like from time to time. But don’t be fooled by the no jumping around, you’ll still be working hard to stay in shape.

  1. Yoga

According to Manoj Sharma yoga can be described as, “The practice entails low-impact physical activity, postures (called asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), relaxation, and meditation.”

I found yoga and Pilates to be quite similar in the sense that both deal with a lot of stretching and breathing compared to cardio. But yoga seems to be of a slower pace compared to Pilates and has elements of meditation and focus.

I’ve given you three alternatives to regular cardio exercise and I hope that you’ll find some time and get some motivation to get up from the couch. Exercise can help you in many areas of your life so why not make the time for it every so often.


Read here on how to de-stress

Tell us: Do you have any alternatives to cardio workouts?