The benefits of exercise
While it is common knowledge that fitness is essential for your physical health, it is also a big contributor to your mental health.
Regular exercise helps your body in many different ways: it helps stabilize your blood pressure, helps you manage your weight, strengthens your bones, muscles and joints, reduces the risk of a heart attack and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It boosts your whole immune system and enhances your mobility so you can live longer and stay more healthy.
But it is also beneficial for your mental health. When you exercise some important feel-good hormones like endorphins and serotonin get released. These help to elevate your mood and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. Running-therapy is nowadays a common practice in the treatment of depression. It is also very helpful with sleeping- problems.
Moreover, when exercising blood gets pumped into your brain which enhances your brain functions , helping you to be able to think better. Your concentration, problem-solving-skills and your memory increases. Exercising on a regular base can reduce the risk of developing cognitive problems like dementia when you get older.
How to exercise properly?
It is important to exercise regularly. You can’t expect any positive long-term result if you just do it once in a while so it is important to make time in your week schedule. Make it a habit.
A minimum should be daily light exercise of 30 minutes. Try to take a walk or ride your bike on a daily base. The easiest might be to fit it into your normal day schedule: take the bike instead of the car when you do your shopping. Take a walk every evening before going to sleep. If your workplace is not too far, take the bike. Try to find a simple daily task that you can do walking or biking in order to have your minimum of daily work-out.
If you are ready to choose a more high-intensity training it should be suitable for your current condition. Don’t expect yourself to become a champion right away- start simple but try to make yourself sweat.
If you have mobility problems like painful joints from Arthritis eg you might want to chose a sport that doesn’t put a big strain on your bones like for example running. Water helps reduce the pressure on the bones and joints so swimming or Aquarobics or bicycling could be more suitable for you.
Obviously it is the best if exercise feels like fun. You will be more willing to do it often. Try out different sports like dancing, yoga, martial arts or whatever might interest you. You might end up having a new passion and meeting a lot of new people who share that passion with you.
If the weather allows it outdoor activity has an extra bonus: sunlight. Sunlight enhances your Vitamin D level which gives your immune system an extra boost. Plus it triggers the release of the serotonin (to help you feel better) and of melatonin (to help you sleep better)
Most important: if you exercise on a regular base you will get the best and most sustainable results on a long-term base