A simple change or adjustment in lifestyle can be the most cost-effective way to improve health, wellness, and vitality. A little modification can come from regular physical exercise.
The positive effects of engaging in physical activities can be profound, covering both physical and mental wellbeing. Exercise can be either underappreciated or even overrated, but we know that the benefits are real.
Some of them are as follows:
1- Improving Mood
Spending about 30 minutes running on a treadmill can help reduce tension in your mind as the brain releases certain chemicals including serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine during physical activities. All of those chemicals give soothing effects on the cellular level to reverse stress and improve mood.
Another useful brain chemical released during exercise is the growth factor. The main function of this chemical is to help the brain make new cells and establish new connections between them. As the exercise becomes more complicated, such as in sport or dancing class, our brain learns to work faster and concentrate better.
3- Reduce Stress and depressed mood
Regular sweat-inducing activities for 30 minutes help burn about 350 calories every day. As a matter of fact, such activity can be as effective as an antidepressant drug in reducing stress and depression. It is probable that physical exercise stimulates the growth of neurons in brain regions damaged by depressions. You may think of taking antidepressant instead, but you will not get the calorie burning benefit.
4- Improve Sleep Habits
For some people, a moderate or vigorous workout is better as sleep-inducing agents compared to sleeping pills. More interestingly, people with sleeping disorders such as insomnia also feel the same effects from exercise. Physical activities about 5 or 6 hours before bedtime will increase the body’s core temperature. When the temperature cools down in the following hours, the body receives it as a signal to sleep.
5- Help You Maintain Healthy Weight
Decreased calorie intake is the most important factor in weight loss program. However, the only way to maintain healthy body weight is by having regular exercise. Also, you burn a considerable amount of calories with every moderate workout.
6- Boost Your Self-Confidence
You don’t actually need a drastic change in body shape to gain more confidence. The human brain is hardwired to take even the simplest improvement in our efforts to boost confidence. Fitness improvement such as running faster or longer than yesterday’s achievement is enough to improve self-esteem.
Blood pressure is strongly associated with blood pressure. An increase in body weight often triggers higher blood pressure. Being overweight can cause sleep apnea which eventually affects blood pressure as well. Carrying weight in your waist also increases the risk of high blood pressure. Physical exercise burns calories, reduces weight, and therefore minimises the risk.
If you are a beginner or haven’t exercised for a while, go at your own pace. Do not force and make sure you listen to your body. Remember that pre-exercise warm up and post exercise stretch is important and hydrate a lot, especially in this hot tropical weather.
Stamina and strength build up as you go and regular practice will help you with that. Stick with your pace, do your best, and don’t let others distract you. Comparing your progress to others may throw you off balance and discourage you. The most important is that you are doing something for yourself and a little is better than nothing. It is all about balance, a very personal and individual journey.
Watch this space for our upcoming articles on how to optimize your metabolic functions for sports preparation and recovery or learn what you can do to support your performances during competition.
So put your runners and off you go…
Images Credit: Shutterstock, Fotolia
Exercise for Mental Health by Creighton University/University of Nebraska Medical Center published in NCBI http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/
13 Mental Health Benefits Of Exercise on Huffington http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/27/mental-health-benefits-exercise_n_2956099.html
7 Mind-Blowing Benefits of Exercise on U.S. News http://health.usnews.com/health-news/diet-fitness/slideshows/7-mind-blowing-benefits-of-exercise/4
Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/physical_activity/