Benefits of Exercise
‘Mens sana in corpora sano’
‘Is a Latin phrase meaning ‘a healthy mind in a healthy body’
It is widely used to express the theory that exercise is essential for mental well being.
It doesn’t mean that we all have to start training for marathons but in essence it involves a change in our lifestyles, where spending more time outside, with a little exercise, can redress mental imbalances.
Regular exercise, whilst improving muscle strength and endurance levels, delivers oxygen and nutrients to the body, this improves the functions of the body thus leading to a healthier heart and lungs.
Blood cholesterol levels are improved with only a little exercise involving 3 or 4 sessions per week.
Regular exercise will make you feel happier. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These interact with receptors in the brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling within the body, improving the quality of sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Certain aromas like vanilla or lavender can also reduce anxiety by stimulating production of endorphins.
Exercise boosts your immune system possibly by helping flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways which in turn may reduce chances of contracting a cold, flu or other illness.
It can also reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of death by up to 30%.
Nowadays technology has made our lives easier. We drive cars or take public transport. Our work lives have become more sedentary and less physical. Regular exercise will increase your metabolic rate, which will burn more calories and help you to lose weight. Muscle mass is also maintained, particularly as we get older. Bone density will be increased by high impact exercises e.g. running, when you are young. This will benefit later in life by preventing osteoporosis.
Regular physical activity will boost energy levels, leading to a feeling of wellness, in both healthy individuals and those suffering from an illness like chronic fatigue syndrome or other serious illnesses.
It is important to note that even moderate exercise (150 minutes per week) can stimulate benefits to your body.
Your skin for instance will appear more radiant. Moderate exercise can stimulate blood flow which can help to delay the appearance of skin aging. Brain function can be improved, changes in the function and structure of the brain occur after exercise, this is especially important in older patients, where, It has been shown to reduce changes in the brain that cause Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.
For many years’ people thought that rest and inactivity were helpful in the treatment of chronic pain, but exercise can actually help reduce it.
The pain associated with chronic lower back pain, fibromyalgia etc can be tolerated better with regular exercise.
Now I hear you saying “not me, I can’t run or play sports”, well that’s rubbish!
We can all take part in some form of exercise. Something as simple as parking further away from the shops, talking the stairs instead of the escalator/elevator can have significant positive impact on your health.
Regular physical activity is thought to decrease pain perception and increase pain tolerance. For those with Chronic arthritis, swimming is a perfect low resistance activity to increase heart rate and help alleviate sore and aching joints, even if you can’t swim, a simple walk/run in the pool has shown to have great benefits in reducing arthritic pain.
Exercise can help improve sexual desire function and performance in both men and women, and also help decrease the risk of erectile dysfunction in men.
To conclude, a healthy attitude to a healthy body can lead to a longer healthier life!
Martin McDaid MPSI MPSNI
CEO McDaid Pharmacy Group