In January, there’s a tendency for people to start exercising and eating healthier after an excess in the festive season. Unfortunately, so many of my patients in clinic seem to do this for all the wrong reasons… “I’ve put so much weight on”, “I feel so fat!”, “I can’t believe how wobbly I look!” – these are just some of the self-deprecating phrases I’ve heard so far this week! We must be kinder to ourselves!


It seems people are trying to adopt healthy habits as a penance, rather than a positive! It’s just so sad to me! We should celebrate and enjoy our healthy bodies, and look after them rather than punish them. Here are my best reasons to exercise – and they have nothing to do with extra Christmas pounds!


Mental Health

I feel so sluggish if I don’t exercise. The endorphins released by your brain when you exercise have been shown to decrease anxiety and depression in populations that exercise regularly. Better circulation makes you more mentally acute, and exercise has been shown to increase performance in mentally challenging tasks.


Better Appetite

I often hear people say they exercise so they can eat more – but I find I actually enjoy my meals a lot more if I’m exercising that week. Building up an appetite through exercise is a real thing, and you don’t have to do much to feel the effects. I walk to work before my breakfast most mornings, and find I enjoy it a lot more than mornings that I stay at home.


Better Sleep

Lying in bed at night wishing you could drop off is a horrible feeling. Checking the clock every 10 minutes and calculating how much sleep you will get “If I fall asleep now I’ll have… hours sleep…” is the worst!! People who regularly exercise enjoy a better quality of sleep and wake up feeling refreshed more often. That’s certainly worth a little sweat in my book!