We should take care of our physical bodies, and one way of doing that is through exercise. Some people do not like to exercise, so knowing the benefits of exercise may help.
Especially during the holiday season where many individuals suffer from stress, depression, and anxiety; exercise can be a natural antidote for relieving these aliments. The key is finding a form of exercise that you enjoy to ensure that you will do it. Walking is one of the best and easiest ways we can exercise. Just 10 minutes of daily walking can improve your health, but adding 20 minutes of brisk walking can prevent cardiovascular disease, improve your mood, and could help you live longer.
Not all exercise is the same, there are high impact workouts like an aerobic dance class and lower impact workouts like walking. Whichever you choose, high or low impact workouts (and you can do both), all have benefits. Additionally, a consistent routine is important as well as setting some tangible goals. For instance, you decide that you will run three times per week for 30 minutes.
What are the benefits to regular exercise?
- Aids in weight loss and building lean muscle mass.
- Improves your mood by releasing feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain. Can help improve depression and anxiety symptoms. Exercising for just 30 minutes can be just as helpful as an anti-depressant.
- Boosts energy and endurance.
- Promotes better sleep. Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep. Just try not to exercise close to bedtime or you will be too energized to fall asleep.
- Reduces stress. Exercise increases norepinephrine, a chemical that can reduce the brain’s response to stress. Exercise also decreases the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
- Improves self-confidence. Who does not want to look and feel better about themselves? Regular exercise can improve your self-esteem and improve positive self-image.
- Helps with cognitive decline that begins at age 45. Working out before age 45, boosts the chemicals in the brain that support and prevents degeneration of the hippocampus (responsible for memory and learning).
- Decreases anxiety. Certain chemicals in our brains that are released during and after exercise can help reduce anxiety.
- Increases brainpower. Cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells and improve overall brain performance.
- Makes your memory sharper. Regular exercise boosts memory and the ability to learn new things.
- Can help control addiction. The brain releases dopamine, which is responsible for releasing pleasure such as when we eat something we enjoy, sex, or with drugs and alcohol. Exercise can effectively distract drug and alcohol addicts by causing them to focus pleasure elsewhere.
- Helps with being creative, especially if you choose to exercise outdoors.
- Can prevent or delay diseases.
- Strengthens your immune system and wards off infections such as colds and flus.
There are many mental and physical benefits to exercising, and as you continue to regularly exercise, those benefits increase. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, or are concerned about starting an exercise program, check with a medical provider first.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were brought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
What are some challenges you face with exercising? If you already exercise, have you noticed any benefits?