July 9, 2019
Unexpected benefits of doing exercise
Exercise is not just good for getting fit and losing weight, it offers a number of fringe benefits that should not be discounted.
Everyone knows the headline benefits of doing exercise – from staying healthy to keeping trim – but there are a number of other positive side effects you might not have thought about. They may not be the reason why you start a fitness regime, but they’re worth not overlooking.
Going for a run probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you’re feeling stressed, but physical activity has a calming effect on the brain. That’s because it releases serotonin, which is known as the happy hormone. So step away from whatever is causing you strife; it will look better after a workout.
Makes you more creative
A group of Dutch scientists found that exercise helps stimulate the Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor. What this means in practice is that it promotes the growth of cells in the hippocampus, which is the section of the brain responsible for imagination and creativity.
Speaking of the brain, it loves fresh oxygen, which it plentifully receives when you get the heart pumping. Increased blood flow to the brain also allows it extra nutrients, so it can be replenished and retain information better. This boosts both the short-term and long-term memory.
Endorphins are released into the bloodstream during stints of physical activity and they reduce sensitivity to pain. This can be especially useful for people who suffer from conditions including migraines and chronic headaches. Unfortunately, it won’t help with a sports injury and if you’re in a lot of pain while exercising it’s best to stop.
People are hardwired to seek dopamine and it can be delivered from all sorts of things like eating, drinking and listening to music. Another method of accessing it is through exercise and if you take this route, it will stop you craving some of the others sources, such as food. Listen to music during your workout for a double hit of dopamine.
Drugs are also a source of dopamine, which is why people become addicted to them. If you’re trying to go clean then replacing your habit with exercise can be really useful. As well as the dopamine boost, the activity can distract you from the cravings, allowing them to pass without giving into them.
Reduces skin complaints
A number of factors associated with exercise can help to clear up skin complaints as varied as eczema and acne. These include the regulation of hormones, boosting the immune system and clearing out pores through sweating. Even if you don’t have a specific issue with your skin, these side effects will help it to look brighter.
Helps you to sleep better
Exercising can help you to spend more time in the restful sleep phase, leading to less tiredness, better immune function and improved cardiac health. Many things aren’t as bad after a good night’s sleep, so it’s well worth doing the exercise to achieve it.
The last thing most people feel like doing when they’re tired is exercise, but it can actually make you feel like you have more energy. Even a short walk can be enough to reinvigorate you, spurring you on to be more productive in whatever tasks you need to complete.
Boost self confidence
You may be thinking that getting a more streamlined figure was the whole point of being active in the first place, but we’re not talking about the physical effects here. All of the aforementioned chemicals released during exercise make you feel more confident, no matter your shape or size.