We all know that exercise is good for us, but how much do we know about the benefits of exercise? From boosting your mood to improving your overall health status, find out more about how exercise can change your life.
Exercise - why should you care?
Want to feel better, have more energy and even add years to your life? Let's get moving!
The health benefits of regular exercise are hard to ignore. Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age, sex or physical ability. Exercise is highly beneficial for you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It's something that’s extra important right now, as social distancing due to the coronavirus has left many of us feeling stressed and isolated (1, 2, 3, 4).
Check out these 6 benefits of exercise that may lead to a happier, healthier you.
1. Exercise relieves stress and tension
Starting and sticking to an exercise routine is not an extra burden, a punishment or a chore, rather, it is a form of freedom you’ll find in the midst of busyness. Imagine you’ve been sitting at your desk the whole day, you may find yourself feeling under stress and your muscles are tense. What exercise does is to relieve stress that’s been accumulated throughout the day. That’s because stress hormones are likely being kicked out when you exercise. In addition, you’re able to relax different muscle groups, thereby relieving tension in the body (1).
2. Exercise improves your sleep
People who engage in regular exercise generally feel less sleepy during the day. One study found that moderate-intensity exercise promoted faster sleep onset and increased the length of restorative sleep of people suffering insomnia. The increase in body temperature during exercise is thought to improve sleep by lowering body temperature during sleep.
3. Exercise strengthens your immune system
Exercise of many types is beneficial for maintaining normal immune function. It does so by promoting blood circulation, which allows the immune cells such as natural killer cells to do their job efficiently (2).
4. Exercise improves mood and boosts energy levels
When you exercise, your body releases powerful chemicals (endorphins) in your brain that will energise you and make you feel happier. Maintaining physical activity is a natural depression fighter itself. It helps you block negative thoughts or interrupt the constant flow of worries. Plus, it enables you to feel the rhythm of your breath, promoting feelings of calmness (3, 4).
5. Exercise enhances memory
The same endorphins that boost your mood also help you concentrate and sharpen memory by stimulating the growth of new brain cells. Regular exercise has been shown to protect the brain structure, which can be modified by factors such as age, inflammation and oxidative damage (5, 6).
6️. Exercise increases family bonding
Last but not least, going out and about with your loved ones are such a precious time to remember. It creates a relaxed environment where you can share your ups and downs moments with your spouse. Parents can set a good example to their kids by getting them out in the nature and creating positive childhood memories.
How do you know if your exercise is working?
“I do exercise only for the scale."
Let's break this false limiting belief and start developing a healthy relationship with exercise. No matter if you are in a healthy state, carrying excess fat or underweight, exercise is a must-do routine and it works to provide enormous positive changes outside of your weight issue. .
Take this opportunity to reflect on the reasons you want to move your body. Focus on your health and how it can improve the quality of your life. You may say something like "I want to keep my body in a good condition by keeping active so that I can travel around the world” or “I can de-stress by permitting myself a break from work and going for a walk”.
For a general rule of thumb, exercise:
📍should be enjoyable and you aren’t feeling stressed to do it.
📍is a means to clear your thoughts and mind.
📍will make you feel good, strong, empowered and energised.
📍works if it helps you fall asleep faster and sleep better.
On the other hand, it is not the end of the world if you’ve taken a rest day. Your body needs a balance, learn to listen to your body needs. It is the overall patterns that add up and matter most.
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Much love ❤️