There is no denying that exercise is good for you, and whilst there are obvious benefits for your physical wellbeing, exercise also has some really great impacts for your mental health, mindset and more. We often read about the well know benefits of exercising regularly, such as weight loss, building muscle, improving fitness levels and building up stamina. However, all too often people aren’t fully aware of the extent of the long-term health benefits that can be enjoyed through exercise.
Understanding the huge range of benefits for mind, body and spirit that can be unlocked through exercising is a great way to motivate you to take that first step and do that first session, whether it be running or yoga, which is why we have written these articles to help you better understand the connections between exercise and a healthy body and mind
We’ve compiled some of the key benefits below to try and help give you that motivational push to get you started on your own training plan
The benefits of exercise for your body and mind
Exercising to help with weight loss
Many people when asked about their weight say that they would like to either lose weight or maintain their current weight. Exercising regularly is a great answer to this - every single time you go out walking, running, or to the gym, you’re burning calories. Match this with a good diet and you’ll end up consuming less than what you’re burning off doing all those exercises you love to hate!
Improving mental health and making you feel happier
Mental health is a key issue that is, quite rightly, being brought more into discussion recently. Whether the subject of mental health is something that has come up in your working life, personal life or both, we all know someone that has been affected, and it’s great that people are beginning to talk more openly about a topic that deserves some much-needed attention, without fear of stigma.
Taking part in fitness can really help with your mental health, and it's proven to actually make you feel happier. Hormones called endorphins are released when you do any form of exercise, and they trigger a similar reaction to morphine within your body, leaving you feeling happier. Taking part in regular exercise can also help to reduce stress and feelings of depression too.
Exercising to keep your mind sharp and improve your memory
Exercising on a consistent basis can have a great impact on your brain and cognitive function. Whilst people normally only associate exercise with growing and flexing your muscles, it can also help to flex the grey matter too. In fact, exercising helps the body to stimulate multiple growth factors. One of which is the hormones in the brain that links to brain cells and the growth of lots of new blood vessels in the brain. As a result, exercise actually improves and helps to grow the section of your brain which helps control thinking and memory.
Why is exercise good for you?
Increasing your energy levels
There are several studies that show that people who took part in regular exercise reported having the feeling of more energy or less fatigue compared to those who didn't exercise. This is because exercise helps to make your cardiovascular system work more efficiently by delivering more oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. The end result? You can now go shopping, climb stairs and do all your daily routines without feeling sluggish or out of breath!
Exercising to reduce the risk of heart disease
Heart disease is one of the biggest causes of death in the UK, making it a very worrying prospect for anyone concerned about their cardiovascular health. Exercise can help though, and doctors and fitness professionals all agree that being active and healthy helps to reduce the risk of heart disease. People who exercise regularly show a reduced blood pressure, an increase in HDL (the good cholesterol in your body that helps to remove other forms of bad cholesterol), and a decrease in things like triglycerides (which is a type of fat found in your blood).
Why exercise is important – and how you can get started
So, after reading about all the great benefits of exercise, for both your physical and mental health, we’re sure that you're pumped to start your fitness journey!
We know that taking the first step on any fitness journey, however big or small your goals, can be daunting, so we’ve put together some helpful articles to steer you in the right direction.
Getting started with exercise
Whether you are setting out to run a 5K or have your sights set on something more ambitious like a marathon, knowing where to start on your journey can often be confusing and cause you some initial setbacks. Whatever kind of sport or training you are looking into starting, we recommend doing a bit of research into a training plan for beginners and easing into things at a steady pace. This will help you to make steady progress without risking injury, and also help you keep focussed on your goals.
Understanding exercise terminology
It can be a little overwhelming when you first start researching the health benefits of exercise, the sheer number of acronyms and other terminology that is flying around. Understanding the way that your body functions before, during and after exercise will help you to get the most out of your sessions, but don’t worry if you don’t know your BMI from your BMR at this stage. We’ve put together some short articles below to explain the most common terminology relating to exercise.