Sometimes we just can’t face making it to the gym or going for that run but in fact, exercising goes beyond weight loss and benefits your mind and body too. So next time you’re debating whether to go, keep these benefits in mind…
1. Long term weight loss
Healthy eating and portion control are still important in an effective weight loss programme. However, exercise pays off in the short run by burning off excess calories and also in the long term by helping keeping the pounds off.
Further, if you simply diet without exercising, you will lose muscle as well as body fat. Exercise is an effective metabolic booster and helps us to lose fat rather than muscle.
We recommend starting off with something that is easy on the body such as walking and swimming and then gradually working up to high intensity exercise regimes such as HIITT or jogging and combing this with strength training to build muscle strength and increase bone density.
2. Anxiety and depression fighter
Exercise is as good for your mental health as it is your physical one. In fact, it is thought that exercise can be just as effective as anti-depressants in treating mild-to-moderate depression. Not only does exercise increase endorphins, the powerful chemicals that make you feel good, but it also helps build new activity patterns in the brain to promote feelings of calm and well-being.
For anxiety, it serves as a distraction allowing you to break negative thought patterns, and reduce anxious feelings. Finally, the powerful endorphins also boost our energy levels, and it’s thought to be more effective than taking a nap in helping us re-energise our bodies.
3. Promotes better sleep
Let’s not forget sleep, another important component in a healthy lifestyle. Exercise actually helps promote better sleep by improving sleep quality and increasing sleep duration.
Exercise increases time spent in deep sleep, the most physically restorative phase which helps to boost your immune function and reduce anxiety. Doing more exercise allows you to expend more energy, making you feel more tired at the end of the day, which can increase the duration of your night’s sleep.
4. Reduces your heart disease risk
Exercise is great for your heart, cholesterol and blood pressure which all contribute to reducing your risk of heart disease.
Regular exercise helps the heart by ensuring good blood flow through its vessels and keeping your blood pressure at a healthy level, and so reducing any strain on the heart. It also increases good cholesterol that transports fat away from the arteries and back to the liver for processing and finally, it improves circulation that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Aerobic exercise is best including swimming, brisk walking, running, cycling or even dancing which all raise your heart beat.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham and King’s College London have found that staying active keeps the body young and healthy with the results showed that those who have exercised regularly during their lifetime have defied the ageing process by having the immunity, muscle mass, and cholesterol levels of a young person.