Everyone knows exercising is great in maintaining a healthy body but have you ever considered the impact it also has on our minds. Exercising has many benefits and in this blog post we explore 9 reasons you should include physical activity in your daily activities.
1. Can be as effective as antidepressants
Research suggests that burning off 350 calories three times a week through sustained, sweat-inducing activity can reduce symptoms of depression about as effectively as antidepressants. That may be because exercise appears to stimulate the growth of neurons in certain brain regions damaged by depression.
Having to take tablets to regulate your mood is something none of us really like to do. I know after taking antidepressants for a year I didn’t want to be on them anymore, at the time, I probably did need them but I started exercising at the same time using Wii fit and taking my family dog for long walks.
The effect of exercise on your mood is so vast that as long as you can get started you will find you feel a lift in your mood by natural means rather than chemicals. By no way do I advise stop taking your tablets, please seek professional advice but do use exercise to help along the way.
2. Reduces stress
Many of us are becoming more and more stressed as our workloads increase, financial pressure increases and more and more is expected of us from our bosses and whilst the economy is the way it is, we want to keep our bosses as sweet as possible.
When we exercise we release natural ‘soothing’ chemicals into our brain of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Not only does this chemical release reduce stress, depression and anxiety naturally but it has also been proven to slow the aging process.
3. Improves Learning ability
Are you keen to learn a new skill or something to improve your career? Well, exercise has been proven to help with learning.
It has been said that exercise increases the level of brain chemicals that help establish new connections between brain cells to help us learn. The more complicated the activity such as tennis, dancing or other sports that require us to think as well as move shows that they help give your brain the biggest boost to your learning ability.
Like any muscle when you exercise it you are helping it grow and your brain is also a muscle so you are improving its ability to learn as well as improving your body’s strength.
According to German researchers not only does it improve your learning but it also improves your attention span.The researchers discovered that people who undertook physical activity that required concentration scored better on high-attention tasks after doing 10 minutes of a complicated fitness routine compared to 10 minutes of regular activity (Those who hadn’t exercised at all scored the worst.).
4. Improve self-esteem
I guess this one is a no brainer, the more often you exercise the more fit you will feel and when you start to notice your body change shape after a consistent amount of exercise and thus will improve your self-esteem about looking and feeling good.
If you think you look better you naturally will start to become more confident in yourself.
Not only this but as you are able to push yourself that little bit further each week on what you did the week before you will feel good knowing you are able to push your body further than before and you are becoming stronger which will give a sense of achievement and lift your spirits.
5. Keeps the brain fit
As we age all our cells begin to die and even just a mild activity like a leisurely walk can help keep your brain fit and active evading memory loss and keeping skills like vocabulary retrieval relatively strong.
In a 2011 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Canadian researchers analyzed the energy expenditure and cognitive functioning of elderly adults over the course of two to five years. Most of the participants did not work out; their activities revolved around short walks, cooking, gardening, and cleaning. Still, compared with their sedentary peers, the most active participants scored significantly better on tests of cognitive function, and they showed the least amount of cognitive decline. By the study’s end, roughly 90 percent of them could think and remember just as well as they could when the study began.
6. It improves your memory
As you exercise your blood pumps around your body faster and improving the overall functionality of your brain and in particular, your ability to memorise.
In one study that looked at brain structure pre- and post-workout, researchers found increases in brain volume in a number of areas after participants got sweaty. The effect is pretty noticable, too: Patients in the study did 10 to 15 percent better on a variety of memory and attention tasks after they’d exercised.
7. Keep your sight
Something that you may not associate exercise with is your sight. Some studies suggest that people who ran 1.2 to 2.5 miles a day had almost 20 percent less chance of developing age-related degeneration of vision whilst those who ran even further cut their chances by as much as 50 percent!
Some studies suggest that people who ran 1.2 to 2.5 miles a day had almost 20 percent less chance of developing age-related degeneration of vision whilst those who ran even further cut their chances by as much as 50 percent!
To find out more about this please visit this link about how exercise boosts your brainpower.
8. Helps you cope better
In life we all have challenges, it’s part of all our lives but when we exercise it can help us learn to deal with our perceived problems a lot more efficiently rather than just trying to escape them through the use of alcohol, drugs or other negative behaviours, things that will only make you feel worse.
As you naturally have more endorphins in your brain through exercise the whole world will start to become a bit brighter no matter what you are faced with.
Is exercise good for depression?
So as you can see exercise is probably VITAL to being a part of a recovery program for depression. There are many positive aspects to exercising and you don’t have to necessarily go the gym to take part in physical activity either ( I am sure that will please many of you as it did me! ). There are many activities you can undertake, even in your own home using technology such as Xbox Kinect or Wii fit, you can take your family dog for a walk or simply going for a long walk in your local park. The hardest part is the starting, getting motivated and get doing what you need to do but once you start, the ball is rolling and after your firs session you will notice an almost instant lift which may give you motivation to continue this regularly.
In a future post I will be sharing ideas and suggestions different exercise activities for both the advanced and beginner levels in the excercise realm.