With Christmas on the horizon, it's time to start thinking about how to shed those extra pounds that you're bound to pile on over the festive period. Take note from our own 'Mr Muscles'.
1. Smaller b.m, flatter tum. No surprises there – so why aren’t we all a bit more active than we actually are. Only 22% of us do enough exercise to derive associated health benefits.
2. Reduces the chances of suffering from lower back pain. At some point in our lives, 80% of us will suffer from debilitating lower back pain – it’s amazing how many sick days are lost to this relatively easily avoidable problem.
3. Improves posture. The easiest way to improve your appearance is to improve your posture. Sitting at a desk all day long without doubt adds to the chances of muscle imbalance and therefore bad posture and associated injuries. So do your body a favour and become more active.
4. Improves general mood. Do you ever feel more miserable at this time of year, but can never quite put your finger on as to why? Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is becoming more commonplace in the winter months – basically the less sunlight during the day, the more depressed sufferers will feel. Regular exercise helps to release the feel good hormones of the body therefore making you “feel good” (or at least better than you otherwise would have!)
5. Improves self-image/confidence. Immediately after an exercise session you will feel much better about the way you look. Most regular exercisers report an improvement in body shape after the first month; most of this improvement is purely down to feeling more confident about oneself.
6. Stress buster. Again to do with hormone release - stop giving the office junior or your husband/wife a hard time and go and hit a punch bag, pound the treadmill or totally zone out with a yoga class.
7. Reduces your risk of contracting heart disease. Heart Disease is the biggest killer of the western world, yet is so easily avoidable. So start thinking of those around you. They may still want your company beyond retirement age!
8. Be fit for your kids. You don’t have to win the parents race on sports day, but please save the kids the embarrassment of coming last!
9. Improves productivity and concentration levels at work. You may think that working out will leave you feeling good for nothing afterwards, but in fact it's often the complete opposite. Many regular gym users report a much more productive working day after their breakfast / lunchtime run or gym session.
10. Improves libido. Make him or her happy this New Year.
Mr Muscles is the Gym Manager at London's Park Club,
His real name is Leon Hackett, and he can be contacted by e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org