What I Wish More People Knew About Exercise
When you think of “exercise”, what is the first word that pops into your head?
To the clients of Royal Figures, you are probably a lot like me! I think of words like “calming, fun, enjoyable, exciting, motivating”.
But, this message is meant to influence the people who might NOT think of exercise that way... to THE GENERAL POPULATION, “hard, painful, difficult, stressful, boring, waste of time,” are all common responses.
What is the difference between people who think exercise is hard or a chore, versus, those who view it as the complete opposite? The answer is: the latter group already consistently exercises.
There are countless non-physical benefits of consistent, rigorous exercise. Exercise can be (and is) about physical improvements... but they are both visible and invisible. The group who already exercises, loves it, because they are unknowingly experiencing those invisible benefits. The secret to STARTING exercise is to understand that, regardless of its rigor, it will provide benefits to your mood, your confidence, your energy levels, your quality of sleep, your cognitive functioning, your relationships, and your emotional wellbeing. The secret to LOVING it; is just starting... and the rest WILL come.
It frustrates me to hear people say, “I'm not overweight, so I don’t need exercise.” Or, “I don’t want to get too muscular, so I won’t lift weights.” Or “I’m too busy to exercise.”
Exercise is for everybody. Every age, every gender, every body type, every occupation, every nationality... Everybody. Period. There is not a single person who cannot improve their life through exercise.
And almost everyone knows this... so how do we get people to start?
As the exercise specialist for Royal Figures; how can I spread this message, so that the people who NEED to hear it, will receive it?
I believe that one of the main problems is: most people have such a narrow perception of what “exercise” is. Exercise is defined as “bodily or mental exertion, especially for the sake of training or improvement of health”.
The terms “weightlifting” or “running” or “bench press” etc., are NOT a part of that definition... yet many people only think of Arnold Schwarzenegger and crowded weightlifting gyms when they talk about exercise. They believe that uprooting their current routine is the only way to receive the benefits.
Exercise can be lifting weights, running, walking, playing sports, dancing, or ANYTHING that gets you moving and challenging your body. Exercise, to me, is about so much more than improving the aesthetics of your body, or about being able to deadlift 500 pounds.
With an exercise science degree, most of my studies involved how exercise improves the quality of all lives, including those in extreme disease states. Don’t just take my word for it... look at the research! I challenge you to do a quick google search for “exercise and (input disease state here).” You will almost definitely find something about how some form of exercise is beneficial in any disease state.
Let’s take mental health for example. An overwhelming number of adolescents are being diagnosed with depression and anxiety every year, more than any other time in history.
But what else are they doing? In a digital age... they are less active than ever before.
Even with just a couple 20-minute sessions per week, aerobic exercise was shown to significantly reduce both depression and anxiety (rated using the Beck Depression Inventory) in individuals diagnosed with depression after a 12-week program (Silva et. al. 2019). And not only that, but the effects lasted up to 6 weeks after the program was completed (Abdelbasset et. al. 2019).
You don’t have to reconfigure your entire day to see these benefits. Let’s say you decide to add 20 minutes (20 minutes is only 1% of an entire day)...
Your muscles stay loose, so your back pain gets better. Your mood improves because you feel the relief from the chronic pain. Your confidence and relationships improve as you can spend more time and participate in more activities with your family and friends. You never have to spend untold amounts of money and time going through doctors’ visits, PT appointments, surgeries, and recoveries...
This improvement is truly THAT linear, and it is really that simple.
What do I wish more people knew about exercising?
I wish they knew how exercise would make them feel. I wish people understood that exercise can be whatever you want it to be, not what anybody else tells you it should be.
I wish people knew that exercise can be the ignition to a chain reaction by increasing confidence, elevating mood, improving relationships, and improving life satisfaction.
I wish people understood that by adding exercise, even a little bit, they can save themselves time, money, and struggle later in life.
I wish people knew that the hardest part is just starting, BUT ONCE YOU KNOW THE SECRET, it’s not hard anymore.
I want more trainers and coaches to emphasize the non-physical results of consistent training. As the exercise specialist with Royal Figures; I plan on doing what I can to start that movement.
Abdelbasset, W. K., Alqahtani, B. A., Alrawaili, S. M., Ahmed, A. S., Elnegamy, T. E., Ibrahim,
- A., & Soliman, G. S. (2019). Similar effects of low to moderate-intensity exercise
program vs moderate-intensity continuous exercise program on depressive disorder in
heart failure patients: A 12-week randomized controlled trial. Medicine, 98(32), e16820.
Silva, L., Tortelli, L., Motta, J., Menguer, L., Mariano, S., Tasca, G., Silveira, G. B., Pinho, R.
A., & Silveira, P. (2019). Effects of aquatic exercise on mental health, functional
autonomy and oxidative stress in depressed elderly individuals: A randomized clinical
trial. Clinics (Sao Paulo, Brazil), 74, e322. https://doi.org/10.6061/clinics/2019/e322