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The top 5 reasons you need to exercise

A trim waist and toned arms may be your initial motivation for working out, but there are other important reasons to exercise that have nothing to do with how you look. Here are five important reasons to get moving

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fitness exercise weights dumbbells

It’s about more than how you look

Losing weight, prepping for bikini season or looking good in those jeans are common fitness goals, especially in the New Year. But while dropping pounds is a great motivator and byproduct of exercise, there are other reasons why we need to tie up our laces and get our sweat on.

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fitness role model

1. Be a good role model

Child obesity is becoming a serious problem. Approximately 26 percent of Canadian kids aged 2-17 are overweight or obese. Even scarier, stats show that for the first time ever, today’s children will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. With school gym programs being reduced and screen time on the rise, we need to be our kids’ fitness role models. Encourage fitness by taking family walks after dinner, enjoying an outdoor rink skate, or even turn snow shovelling into a fun family competition.

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2. Lower your risk for disease

There’s no question losing weight is good for your health, and kicking your fitness up a notch has even greater benefits. Regular exercise has been shown to boost mood and banish anxiety, and lower your risk for stroke, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer (such as colon). It can also help you nod off more easily and sleep more deeply (just don’t exercise too close to bedtime). And did we mention it could enhance your sex life? All great reasons to get your body moving on a daily basis!

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fitness class

3. Get motivated to do something you enjoy

As a new mom, Amanda Shapiro was often frustrated by fitness articles, which always seemed to focus on losing the baby weight. She recently decided it was time to get fit again, but chose a bucket list goal as her motivator – not her waistline. “At this point in my life exercise is for my health and to be a good example to my daughter,” says Shapiro, who just started roller derby training. “You get to a point where how you look is truly nothing but a benefit.”

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back pain causes

4. Ease back pain and improve your posture

A daily regimen of stretches and exercise can also do wonders for your back. By strengthening your core abdominal muscles, you’ll increase your overall strength, taking the pressure away from your back and helping to alleviate any existing back pain.

This is especially important after pregnancy, explains Toronto physiotherapist Courtney Steele. “After pregnancy there is no part of the body under more stress than the lower back and pelvic region.”

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running woman

5. Take some time for yourself

Whether it’s an early morning jog, an afternoon body pump class or a late night walk with the dog, solo exercise gives you the opportunity to have a few moments of peace and quiet, think about future goals, and take some much-deserved “you” time. It’s also the perfect excuse to catch up on your guilty pleasure television show or listen to your favourite soundtrack while you work out!

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