Photo by Nathan Cowley from Pexels

Let’s face it, exercise can be hard. Not just physically, but mentally. Sometimes it’s a challenge just to put our gear on and get to the gym. Because we all suffer from a lack of motivation from time to time. And it’s during these times that we can benefit the most from reminding ourselves why we started exercising in the first place.

So, with that in mind, here are 5 top health benefits of regular exercise to help keep you motivated and inspired!

Improves mood

Regular exercise can make you happier by decreasing feelings of depression and anxiety. It affects the part of the brain that regulates stress and anxiety. And, over time, changes it in such a way that can serve to lift your general mood.

Studies have even shown that when people who work out regularly are asked to stop exercising for a short period of time, they experience in increase in negative emotions.

As well as this, exercise can help with your self-esteem. This is because more exercise leads to better health and a better body, which, in turn, gives you more self-confidence.

Increases energy

Exercise provides muscle tissues with oxygen and nutrients, and helps the cardiovascular system function properly. This means you’ll have much more strength and endurance to tackle daily tasks. And your lung capacity and heart health will increase. So you’ll find yourself less out-of-breath when moving about, walking up hills, and climbing stairs!

Promotes better sleep

Poor sleep is a very difficult problem to overcome. Many people spend years of their lives unable to get a full, undisturbed night’s rest. But exercise could provide a lasting and effective remedy.

It’s thought that regular exercise can have a direct impact on how we sleep. This is partly due to the energy depletion and increased body temperature that occurs whilst exercising. And one particular study found that 2 and-a-half hours’ worth of exercise can increase sleep quality by 65%.

And for anyone who struggles to sleep as a result of anxiety, the mood-enhancing effects of exercise (as mentioned above) could provide an indirect antidote.

Lowers risk of disease

By now it’s widely known that exercise is a powerful preventative measure against many types of physical and mental illness.

According to the NHS, people who participate in regular physical activity have:

– up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

– up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

– up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis.

– a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults).

– up to a 30% lower risk of depression.

– up to a 30% lower risk of dementia.

Boosts brain power

One of the major mental benefits of exercise, especially for older individuals, is its positive effects on brain and memory function. These effects include the stimulation of chemicals that affect brain cell health, and the promotion of new blood vessel growth in the brain.

Also, researchers have found that regular aerobic exercise actually increases the size of the hippocampus (the part of the brain associated with learning and verbal memory).

As a final word on the matter, here’s an extract from an article on brain health from the Alzheimer’s Organisation:

Research has suggested that combining good nutrition with mental, social and physical activities may have a greater benefit in maintaining or improving brain health than any single activity.

The way to a healthier life

The five benefits mentioned in this article are just a handful of many. And as time goes by, more and more research findings are reinforcing the notion that regular exercise really does have a major impact on our long-term health and wellbeing.   

So no matter how old you are or how much previous experience you have, exercise can change your life for the better. And if you’re not already a member of a gym, why not come down to Jesmond Pool to kickstart a new health regime? We’ve got something for everyone, from swimming and yoga to cardio machines and free weights!