There are many benefits of exercise (regular) not only on your physical health but your mental health as well.

During the COVID Pandemic, it has changed the way we live. For some, it has had a positive impact on their health and mental health. But sadly, for many, it has had a negative effect from the lockdown.

In many ways, life has slowed down during the pandemic with less long commutes to and from work which allows more time to exercise. The negative downside to this is working from home could mean that you have become less active as there isn’t the walk from the train station, car park, the several flights of stairs to the office, the short walk at lunchtime to grab some lunch or a walk to a business meeting, making lives more sedentary than they were before. 

The NHS Physical activity guidelines for adults aged 19 to 64, recommends that adults should do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise over the course of a week this amounts to 30 minutes a day, five times a week, just the same amount of time as that soap or episode of reality TV you sit down to watch each night.

Along with doing 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, it is also essential to do some strengthening exercises on at least two days a week.

If you haven’t done any exercise for a while or even a long time it doesn’t mean you have got to go out and run 30 minutes every day five times a week and hit it hard in the gym with the weights.

You must build it up slowly to help prevent injuries, fatigue and not enjoying exercise.

Start by just getting out for a daily walk, being more active in your everyday life, if you like the idea of being able to start with the Couch to 5k run.

6 Incredible Reasons Why You Need To Be Active

  1. Exercise can improve your mood and reduce stress

Your only one workout away from a Good Mood.”

Bridie Darcy

This is one of my mottos and something I share with my clients.

We all go through times of stress; it could be a bad day at work where it all just been too much, or it could be long periods of stress due to life challenges and events.

Research has shown that one of the common mental benefits of stress relief is exercise when you work up the sweat it helps you to manage stress and anxiety, while you are exercising the concentrations of norepinephrine will be increased this chemical moderates your brain’s response to stress.

As one example, a recent study done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%

While you are churning the miles out running, walking, circuits it can feel hard work, but it is worth it, during this time your body is producing endorphins and these trigger happiness and euphoria. These are the mental benefits of exercise.

You don’t have to become a cardio junkie or gym bunny just adding 30 minutes of exercise in 5 times a week can immediately boost your overall mood.

Its also great if you workout with others, as there are social benefits of exercise with others. As an example, here at Darcy Fitness, we provide small class sessions. They are specifically designed to cater to your fitness goals… And they’re fun and friendly!

  1. Exercise improves self-confidence

Exercise can improve your self-confidence as you begin to reach goals you will gain a sense of achievement, as your body composition changes you will become more confident within yourself, exercise is a way of looking after yourself, we must look after ourselves to be able to look after others.

Exercising is a way of reminding yourself of how amazing you are and taking a step to be the Best Version of You, so take that step and start exercising.

Any form of exercise, from strength training, aerobics to pilates and yoga, can act as a stress reliever. Physical activity in any way boosts feel-good endorphins and distracts the mind from daily stresses.

I am amazed by how I have seen many of my client’s confidence change with the more exercise they do and many getting job promotions or having the confidence to change careers and make positive changes in their life. 

  1. Exercise helps control weight 

When you exercise regularly, it can help you prevent weight gain or help you maintain weight loss, by burning calories during exercise, and the more you exercise, the more calories you burn. This has many physical benefits of exercise.

Consistent and regular exercise are critical to this and increasing your NEAT, which stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis, adding in a daily walk, more household chores even fidgeting is increasing your NEAT.

European and Eastern Mediterranean countries show an overweight prevalence of up to 50% according to statistics. Obesity is one of the most important avoidable risk factors which can result in lower quality of life, elevated disability rates, and reducing expected life span by 7 years (6-9).

However, it’s never too late, need to be too old or too overweight to reverse the effects. Reducing your calorie intake into a calorie deficit occurs when you consume fewer calories than your body expends. A calorie deficit of 500 calories per day is sufficient for healthy and sustainable weight loss.

NOTE – before you start any calorie deficient changes to your diet, speak to your trusted professional, which could include qualified Personal Trainer like me, your GP, or a health professional.

  1. Exercise can help combat health conditions, prevent, or help manage diseases 

Regular exercise can help prevent or manage health conditions, such as:

  • Stroke 
  • Metabolic Syndrome 
  • High Blood Pressure 
  • Type 2 Diabetes 
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety 
  • Many Types of Cancer 
  • Arthritis 
  • Falls

According to the NHS, it’s medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have: up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes. up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer.

Physiological benefits of exercise to help improve depression, risk of dementia, and other forms of anxiety.

For long term benefits of exercise, it is medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have:

  • up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
  • up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
  • a 30% lower risk of early death
  • up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
  • up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
  • a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
  • up to a 30% lower risk of depression
  • up to a 30% lower risk of dementia
  1. Do you have trouble sleeping? 

If you have trouble sleeping, engaging in regular exercise will help you fall asleep faster, have a better quality of sleep, but try not to exercise too close to going to bed as you could be to energised to sleep. 

Research suggests that exercise decreases sleep complaints and insomnia. The effects of aerobic exercise on sleep appear to be similar to those of sleeping pills.

“We have solid evidence that exercise does, in fact, help you fall asleep more quickly and improves sleep quality,”

Charlene Gamaldo, M.D, medical director of John Hopkins Centre for Sleep at Howard County General Hospital, USA.

Says Charlene Gamaldo, M.D., medical director of Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep at Howard County General Hospital, USA.

“But there’s still some debate as to what time of day you should exercise. I encourage people to listen to their bodies to see how well they sleep in response to when they work out,” she adds.

Charlene Gamaldo, M.D, medical director of John Hopkins Centre for Sleep at Howard County General Hospital, USA.
  1. Exercise is vital for muscles and bones

Unfortunately, as we age, we tend to lose muscle mass and function; this can lead to injuries, disabilities, and illnesses such as osteoporosis. Engaging in regular exercise is essential in reducing muscle loss and maintain strength. Exercise activity such as strength training when paired with the correct amount of protein can help to stimulate muscle building.

In contrast, high impact exercise such as running has been shown to promote a higher bone density than non-impacts such as swimming and cycling. 

Conclusion

With all these benefits to your physical and mental health now is the time to take the step to increase your exercise levels and start working to The Best Version of You.

If you found this post of value to your current life, or think it might be helpful for someone you know, feel free to share on Facebook and Twitter! Thanks.

For anyone who lives in the North West Leicestershire region, like Loughborough, Napanton, Coalville, Whitwick, Markfield, Shepshed, Woodhouse Eaves and would benefit from a personalised exercise training program, and/or small size exercise classes including Yoga, with like-minded people, do contact me with your questions and interest or drop by my studio which is near Copt Oak.

I also offer Zoom 1 to 1 personal training, which has really taken off this summer due to COVID, so even if you are not local, then I can still provide different training programs including bespoke customised training to suit your specific needs. Call or email me to have a chat.

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