When we first start out on our health journey, we are always told the same thing: we need to exercise, and we need to have good nutrition. But then we ask the question – why?
Down below lists four of the big reasons why exercise is very important.
1) Stress relief
Stress plays a huge part in our daily lives – we now live in a society where everything is a rush to do, whether it’s at our job, or doing daily tasks, or even just taking the children to school. The continual build of stress placed on our body causes a hormone known as cortisol  to be released, and if cortisol remains high all the time it can wreak havoc on our bodies.
Some research have highlighted that stress may come from a whole host of areas, for example negative events, money, even gender differences , and that the stressors can end up accumulating over a long time period. .
But stress is not only linked to psychological problems such as depression and anxiety , it may also manifest as physical, and may also provide a link to things such as chronic pain, as other research suggests .
‘But how can exercise help?’
Well, exercise has been suggested as a way to manage and reduce stress , whilst others analysis provides that cardiovascular activities may be beneficial to help alleviate anxiety .
Research highlights that a potential link could be that exercise causes the release of specific hormones such as endorphins and monoamines, and may offer similar functions as antidepressants .
The endorphin release has also been linked to our nervous system, and may actually help to place our bodies into a more relaxed state and improve our mood .
2) Improvements to health markers
Exercise does not just help relieve stress; it also has a range of invaluable benefits on our physical health.
A whole host of research has suggested that exercise has beneficial effects in diabetic patients, but may also help to prevent the forming of certain types of diabetes , , .
Others have highlighted how exercise can help to improve motor functioning in stroke patients, which in turn would allow them to regain mobility in weakened limbs , , .
Exercise may also help those who suffer from increased blood pressure, and may also help older individuals decrease certain types of blood pressure , , .
Some research, which looked at exercise such as walking most days, had huge implications on over 500,000 individuals in prevention of heart disease .
So, we can see just how much of a huge benefit exercise can be towards the management and even prevention of chronic disease, which ultimately would lead to a greater quality of life as we get older.
3) Improvements to psychological wellbeing
So we looked at how the role of exercise can benefit us in stressful situations, as well as helping to manage our anxiety and depression – but what about things like confidence, mood enhancement and self-belief?
Well, in a large analysis various forms of exercise such as aerobic and weight training enhanced moods, confidence and self-belief , and may stem from seeing visual results as well as mastering of skills .
Others suggest that by exercising this will improve physical fitness, thus in turn increasing self-belief and ultimately provides improvements in self-esteem .
Exercise can also have beneficial effects on motivation for those who commit long term . In a group of 66 females, across a 16-week study, those who continued after 4 weeks displayed an automatic sense of motivation, which ultimately led them to losing weight .
So we can see how exercise, adherence and motivation can all affect one another – and that sticking with the plan in the long term can help fuel our motivation, self-belief and confidence levels.
4) Better overall quality of life
The last one encompasses all of the aspects previously discussed and more.
What if exercise could enable you to move pain free, to live life to the full and be happy?
What if exercise could help keep disease at bay so you could live a healthier and fuller life?
What if the exercise you performed, enabled you to do things you didn’t think you’d be able to do again, like run around with your children or grandchildren?
What if we could do all these things, relieve stress and live pain free, to feel good in our body and function better during our daily lives?
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