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Even though we all know that exercising has an abundance of benefits, we can lose track of how exactly it can help. At a time where getting up and moving around is harder than ever, keeping up with a routine is extremely important. Gyms are closed, we’re social distancing, and we have to limit our time out of the house. It’s important to keep moving, despite all of this, in whatever small ways you can.
So, how exactly does working out affect our wellbeing? We’ve put together just some of the ways that exercise improves your mental and physical health.
Exercising is great for boosting brain cognition. From improved memory to enhanced concentration, getting in a workout always helps. This was confirmed in a study by the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Georgia, which found that brief aerobic exercise facilitates information processing and memory functions in the brain.
But, how does working out do this? According to Harvard, the benefits of exercise all come from the ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation and stimulate the release of growth factors (chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells). This all essentially means that the cells in your brain are stronger, working harder, and even produced in higher numbers. This all leads to increased brain cognition.
So, if you’ve got a big day at work coming up that requires a lot of concentration, or an important report you need finishing, then working out is the perfect way to make sure you’re preforming at your best.
As we talked about in our previous blog on reducing stress through exercise, an improved mood is an obvious benefit from exercise. At the moment, our moods are likely to be somewhat poorer than usual, as we’re missing out on the abundance of benefits of being outside. These benefits include alleviating symptoms of depression, upping your energy, and increasing your wellbeing.
By elevating your heart rate through exercise, your body creates feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters that lift your mood. Through the production of these endorphins, the hormones in your body are better balanced. This leads to a healthier frequency of stress hormones compared to when we don’t exercise.
With the current climate meaning we’re limiting our ability to see other people, it’s more important than ever that we’re getting outside and moving our bodies. Our moods may be depleting due to the lack of social interaction, so replacing this with a quick jog or a TFT online session is a great mood enhancer. Just make sure that any exercise is done within the constraints of the government’s COVID-19 advice.
We’re so passionate that working out benefits your stress levels, that we’ve written a whole blog post on how. From building emotional resilience to improving sleep, the link between exercise and stress levels are clear.
As stated in our blog: “Working out reduces the levels of cortisol and adrenaline in the body, and by combining this with an increase in endorphins, the result is ultimately a reduction in your stress levels – both in the short and long term.” This is extremely important in the current climate, with our stress levels likely to be increased due to COVID-19 causing such massive fluctuations in our day-to-day life.
If you want to know more, check out that blog post for more information.
Working out is the biggest factor to avoiding health problems. Studies have increasingly found that a sedentary lifestyle is associated with increased cardiovascular events and premature death. From an increased chance of cancer, adverse cardiovascular health, increased obesity and a higher chance of diabetes, inactivity has harmful effects on the body. From better blood pressure to better blood sugar levels, exercise has a positive effect on our vital signs too.
Physical activity has been proven again and again to reduce our chances of a multitude of health problems, so getting out and moving your body is fundamental to a healthy body. Whether it’s just a brisk walk around the block with the dog, or a full-on home workout, there are a bunch of ways you can exercise within the constraints of coronavirus guidelines.
Working out leads to better muscle strength, which has a knock-on effect on many other areas of day-to-day life. From lifting and carrying objects, to finding it easier to walk up your stairs, improved strength makes life that little bit easier. Exercise also improves bone strength, meaning you’re less likely to injure yourself from trips and falls.
Another positive benefit of being stronger is a reduced risk of injury, meaning fewer pulled muscles and less chance back pain, contributing to an enhanced overall wellbeing. This is extremely important as we get older, as it keeps us physically able to live our day-to-day activities.
The NHS recommends strength training twice a week to increase your muscles’ strength, size, power and endurance. Activities include lifting weights and yoga, to simply doing heavy gardening or hill walking.
Despite sounding counterproductive, working out is proven to increase energy. It wakes your body and mind up, having a massive impact on your daily drive. It does this by delivering oxygen and nutrients to the tissues in your body, helping your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. In fact, in a study on fatigued patients by the University of Georgia, it was found that those who were prescribed exercise had a 20% increase in energy levels by the end of the study.
It’s obvious that exercise is key to increasing mental and physical drive, and decreasing fatigue. So, if you’re getting down about self-isolation, or not feeling up to your normal workload because you’re stuck inside, try committing to a 20-minute home workout in the morning.