What are the benefits of physical activity?
There are many benefits to being active and taking part in physical activity/exercise. Some can be physical, such as weight loss or management, reducing the risk of disease or long-term health conditions. Activity can also be used to manage your health conditions, and maintain independence to carry out individual tasks.
However, physical activity can benefit your mental health, such as reducing stress, improving sleep and your memory. It can also reduce isolation, can be social and most importantly be fun!
How can physical activity reduce the risk of Long-Term Health Conditions such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes?
- Being active alongside a good diet can prevent high blood pressure (hypertension) which can increase due to aging. This helps you to lose/maintain your weight and manage stress – as being overweight and stressed can contribute towards developing hypertension.
- Activity can boost your good cholesterol, known as HDL (high density lipoproteins) and lower your bad cholesterol, known as LDL (low density lipoproteins) levels and lower your overall levels of cholesterol.
- Plus, it can prevent or reduce the chances of developing Type II diabetes, by improving insulin sensitivity and help you to control blood sugar levels.
Additional benefits of being physically active are:
– Your body burns calories, increases metabolic rate and reduces your body fat
– You can strengthen your joints, muscles and cartilage
– improves flexibility and reduces pain, stress and tensions
– Improves co-ordination and balance and reduces the risk of falls and bone fracture.
How can physical activity/exercise improve your mental health?
When you are physically active this stimulates brain chemicals and leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly which can boost your confidence and self-esteem. Other areas you see improvement are
- Improve sleep quality – If you exercise/active 1-2 hours before you go to bed. Then it helps you to fall asleep faster, get better quality sleep and deepen your sleep thus meaning you will feel more refreshed in the mornings. If you are active later then you may struggle to sleep due to the production of endorphins, and that high, could leave you struggling to sleep.
- Reduce stress – It has been found that regular aerobic exercise can decrease tension and help to elevate and stabilise your mood. When you are active your brain produces endorphins, that make you feel good and remedies stress. Deep breathing activities are great for relieving stress as this triggers the body’s relaxation response. Activities such as mind/body type classes such as yoga and Pilates are known to boost ‘calm energy’.
As explained above, there are many benefits of doing physical activity/exercise and can be performed in many ways. There are many resources available in the “find your local support” section of the wellness website in the form of walking, dancing, swimming and many more. If you would like more help or advice, then please complete the online referral form where a health coach can discuss obtaining your fitness goals.