• 5 reasons why I exercise every day

  • May 25, 2020

  • I realise that I a statement like this may not seem to have much to do with magic, but I obviously do, or I wouldn’t be writing it right now. There are so many benefits to exercise that it seems almost pointless to mention them here. But as magicians, it is our job to look after ourselves so that we can put on the best show possible.

    Now, before going any further, I want to make some things very clear. This is not going to be a criticism on anyone or a lecture to incite fat-shaming or anything even approaching that. You should live the life the way you want to and do it however makes you happy.

    Okay, disclaimer out of the way, do some exercise. We are not sedentary creatures, having evolved to move around and be an active part of the world around us. So here are some of the obvious benefits to exercise (in no particular order):

    1. Control my weight

    If you burn more calories than you eat, your weight goes down. It’s that simple. As I mentioned, everyone is beautiful and should be proud of the body they have. I have a slim build (for now, it is sort of blossoming into a so-called “dad-bod” at the moment, so perhaps I can’t talk!) and I will always remember an exercise they had us do at school. We were given a rucksack to carry around all day on top of everything else we would generally take that had an extra twenty kilograms in it.

    I recommend you give it a go. Having to wear all that extra weight was a whole new level of exhaustion, I had not been ready to experience. For me, that was all the teaching I needed to make me spend the rest of my life trying to keep my weight down.

    2. Reduce the risk of major illnesses

    Studies have shown that regular exercise can reduce your risk of major illnesses such as heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50%. That’s not all though, 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis, 68% lower risk of hip fracture, the list goes on and on.

    “If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented” – Dr Nick Cavill, a health promotion consultant.

    3. It helps me feel better

    Aside from the physical health benefits I just mentioned, there are mental health benefits as well, with up to a 30% lower chance of depression and dementia.

    Yes I know exercise while you’re doing it is just the worst. It hurts, every part of your body demands that you stop as soon as possible, head back to the sofa and start eating another chocolate bar. The thing is, as soon as it is over, I feel amazing. My body floods with endorphins, and for the rest of the day, I just feel so much better, and significantly more motivated.

    4. Getting up and going for a run is the worst part of my day

    Getting up in the morning is the hardest part of my day. I hate doing it, my bed is always so comfy, warm, and soft and all those other lovely adjectives that make me want to stay in my little cocoon for the rest of the day instead of the alternative. So why do I get out of bed at all? Because my morning run is probably the worst part of the day for me. I used to hate running, I still do, but I used to too (one of my favourite Mitch Hedberg jokes, definitely worth watching some of his stand up if you have the time).

    Trying to be serious again, though, knowing that my run is the worst part of my day, gives me a nice bit of optimism. I just have to get that done, and the rest of the day is a breeze by comparison. I think there is a great book called “Eat the Frog” which is all about this concept of doing the worst thing each day first, and I love it. I think it originated from a joke about how if you eat a frog first thing in the morning; your day can only get better. Or something like that. What do I know, I’m just a magician.

    5. It creates mental fortitude  

    Running, jumping, swimming and lifting weights are all difficult if you do them long enough and hard enough. We all knew that, but what can be less apparent is how that can affect your mind. And I’m not talking about the benefits of exercise against depression etc. But instead, it gives you a mental toughness that is difficult to replicate differently.

    Looking at running, for example, it is tiring. Run long enough, and your body will tell you to stop. But our mind can tell our body to shut up and drive us to keep going far longer than we think possible. We’ve all heard coaches, trainers, a cheerleader from the sidelines and family members refer to the analogy of “digging deep”, or to really “give it our all”. This is not an easy thing to do by any means. But you can make it easier. Every time you swim a bit further than you thought you could or lift something a bit heavier than last time, you teach your body that it is wrong about its limitations, and you train your mind that you can easily step over those limitations if you push forward.

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