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  • Writer's pictureOrigin Physiotherapy

Exercise yourself happy!

Did you know that exercise is easily one of the best things you can do for your health? Exercise affects almost every function of your body positively. Let’s look at some of the benefits of exercise.

It'll make you feel happier

Exercise has been shown to improve your mood. A study done in 2019 found that 10-30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise is associated with greater mood improvements (Chan et al 2019). Basso and Suzuki found in 2017 that exercise may increase sensitivity to serotonin and norepinephrine which are the hormones that relieve the feelings of depression. Exercise may also increase the production of endorphins which reduces the perception of pain and creates positive feelings.

It's good for muscles and bones

 As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass and with it muscle strength which in turn can lead to injury. Exercise helps maintain our muscle mass. Exercise, especially higher impact exercises that include running and jumping, has been shown to increase bone density which can help prevent osteoporosis.

It'll increase your energy levels

The heart’s job is to pump blood and deliver oxygen to tissue, such as muscle. When we exercise our tissues receive more oxygen which combats fatigue. In their review Pinckard et al showed that with regular exercise the heart becomes more efficient at delivering oxygen and there is less of a demand on the lungs which is why we don’t feel as out of breath when we’re fit. People who suffer with conditions (or the treatment of conditions) that make them feel tired will benefit from exercise as long as it’s safe for that condition.

It decreases your risk of chronic disease

Exercise is important for preventing  chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, higher LDL cholesterol and hypertension. One reason may be the use of excess energy (in the form of circulating glucose) like in type 2 diabetes. Another might be due to autophagy, which is clearing out of damaged tissue and cell debris.

It can help manage your weight

Inactivity can lead to weight gain and obesity which in turn may lead to health conditions. Exercise can help by spending energy and growing muscle can increase your basal metabolic rate.

It can help your brain health and memory

As mentioned earlier exercise increases blood flow and as such the brain also receives more oxygen as a result of exercise and the hormones associated with growth of brain cells is stimulated with exercise. Physical exercise has been shown to slow down the effects of aging in the brain (Di Liegro et al 2018) and limit the changes associated with conditions like Alzheimer's (Pedrinolla et al 2017).

It'll keep your skin healthy

Oxidation occurs when your antioxidant defenses can’t repair the damage done by free radicals. The skin is one of the areas affected by oxidation. While very intense exercise without recovery can lead to more oxidative damage. Simioni et al (2018) found that regular moderate exercise assists with the damage caused by free radicals and as such may delay the appearance of aging in the skin.

It'll help with relaxation and sleep quality

When we exercise energy is spent and this energy loss stimulates restorative processes that happen during sleep. The increase in temperature during exercise seems to help our bodies cool which promotes better sleep. A study done in 2019 (D’Aurea et al) showed that people with chronic insomnia had better quality and duration of sleep as well as a shorter time to fall asleep with stretching and resistance training.

It'll help reduce pain

A study by Arnes et al (2023) showed that people had a higher tolerance for pain after leisure time physical activity over time and more so with increased level of physical activity. This may be owing to the endorphins that are secreted during exercise and other pleasurable activities.

It can improve your sex life

Sexual intercourse is like exercise in that you need to be able to move and your heart and breathing rate increases while you do that. Therefore exercising, which improves blood flow, strengthens the heart, improves flexibility and tones and strengthens muscles, should improve sexual intercourse. Regular resistance training has been shown to increase sex drive. If that isn’t enough Gerbild et al (2018) showed that 160 minutes of exercise a week improved erectile function in males. And Stanton et al (2018) showed improved sexual function, sexual satisfaction and sexual well-being in females.

So you want to start exercising?

Start small and set SMART goals. This helps you achieve your goals and makes it easier to set bigger goals. Also think about what kind of exercise you want to do: take walks, HIIT, mobility, your favourite sport? Think about what is limiting your starting exercising. Do you have pain that you need help with first? Do you need to make time? If you need help with exercising let us assist.

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