We are all well aware of the obvious benefits attached to regular movement and exercise. But there are in fact a whole host of ways it can positively affect your body and mind. Here we share five of the best to motivate you and help you to understand how the way you move (and how often you move) impacts on the way you live and how you feel.
Regular exercise can make you happier in the long-term
Various studies have shown that frequent exercise improves mood and helps to alleviate depression and anxiety. This is because it changes the parts of the brain that regulate stress. Each time you exercise your brain also produces endorphins – feel-good hormones that help you to feel more positive, calm and happy. In the same way it aids relaxation, exercise also helps to facilitate more restful and healing sleep.
Staying fit boosts and sustains energy levels
Always tired and lethargic? You’d think staying away from the gym to chill out would help – but in fact the opposite is true. Getting yourself down to the gym and working out reduces feelings of fatigue and provides a welcome energy boost. These results were amplified in those suffering from chronic fatigue or persistent lethargy.
Regular exercise can provide pain relief
Often we think that exercise causes us discomfort. No pain, no gain – right? It may be true that after a particularly torturous session in the gym the muscles will ache as they recover – but studies have also revealed that frequent movement can assist people suffering with chronic pain. Once the recommended treatment was rest and inactivity – now medics have reviewed this policy, replacing it with a prescription for gentle physical activity as often as possible.
Boosting brain health and memory
Believe it or not, going to the gym can actually make you brainier. Or sharper and more focused at least, thanks to increased blood flow and oxygen to the brain as we exercise. Physical activity has also been shown to stimulate the production of hormones that enhances brain cells growth, protecting memory and improving overall brain function.
Brighter, more beautiful skin
Various studies have shown that oxidative stress in the body can affect the appearance of our skin. When this occurs the body can’t repair the damage that stress inflicts on our skin cells – in turn impacting negatively upon the way it looks. Think sagging skin, wrinkles and a tired, dull complexion. Regular moderate exercise helps the body to cope more easily with free radical damage. This is because it aids the body’s natural production of antioxidants, helping to protect and care for skin from the inside out.