The physical and mental health benefits of exercise
Most of us know how important regular exercise is when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle. Study after study has shown that physical activity is as good for the mind as it is the body. It has the potential to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, which can lead to heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure and angina.
Leading a more active lifestyle can also boost our mental wellbeing too, making us feel happier and more energetic. Just exercising a minimum of 30 minutes each day would go a long way to helping keep our minds and bodies healthy. But sedentary lifestyles, as well as work and family commitments are keeping us more inactive than ever.
We really need to start taking our health and fitness a lot more seriously than we do. So here at the Brandon Health Club we thought we’d run through a few key health and wellness benefits to be achieved through regular exercise.
Exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular and other diseases
If you want to keep your heart healthy, the best thing to do is exercise more. Inactivity increases your chances of developing high blood pressure and angina which could lead to a heart attack or stroke. Incorporating more physical activity into your life can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and by as much as a third, according to some health experts.
Regular exercise helps us to maintain a healthy weight and keep our muscles, joints and bones strong, healthy and happy. Being overweight or obese can also increase the chances of diabetes. But becoming more physically active can lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 40%.
Exercise can improve your sleep and memory
If you have problems getting a good night’s sleep, exercise can work wonders. Keeping active throughout the day will significantly improve your ability to sleep, because you’ll feel more tired due to increased physical activity, resulting in more sound and restful sleep. Focusing on aerobic exercises like jogging, walking, swimming and cycling will help you to sleep for longer periods and the quality of your sleep will be much improved too. Just remember not to exercise too close to bedtime, otherwise it could have the opposite effect.
According to research from McMaster University in Canada, high intensity type exercise – one of the latest fitness trends – has shown signs of being able to boost memory too. The potential benefits of this type of workout on an ageing population – especially individuals suffering with impaired memory due to dementia and even Alzheimer’s – is significant.
Exercise will give you an energy boost
Forget that extra cup of coffee, exercise is a great way to give your energy a much needed boost. If you’re feeling sluggish and tired, a little workout is the best cure. People who take part in some form of regular exercise are less likely to find themselves having to fight fatigue throughout the day.
When you’re feeling tired though, it can be a real struggle to summon up the energy to get moving. But if you can find the motivation to work past that initial tiredness, you’ll soon find yourself feeling much more energized. Start with something manageable, like a short 15-minute walk every day and before you know it you’ll be reaching for your trainers instead of caffeinated beverages or a chocolate bar for that energy boost.
Exercise can make you feel happier
Whether you’re exercising to increase your energy levels, improve your sleep, lose weight or because you simply want to embrace a healthier lifestyle, physical activity will also have a positive impact on your mental health. When we exercise, it increases the production of dopamine in the brain, a chemical that helps us to feel happiness and pleasure. Exercise also releases endorphins, which are known as feel good hormones.
Exercise is also a very useful tool to help to manage stress and lower the risk of anxiety and depression. If you do experience mild to moderate depression and anxiety, exercise can help tremendously at managing the symptoms. Studies have also shown that even moderate exercise, as long as done regularly, can also increase self-esteem.
We’ve briefly touched upon how beneficial exercise can be for the mind and body. If you would like to experience the long-term benefits of exercise for yourself, take a look at the Brandon Health Club and our range of gym equipment, fitness classes and facilities. Our friendly team of fitness instructors are ready and waiting to help you become more physically and mentally fit. Please give us a call on 024 7654 6007 to find out more about our membership options.
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