We all know that exercising is essential for our physical and mental health, but most of us do not really know why. Most people do not have the time to work out regularly due to their busy schedules and lack of work-life balance, but these are the people who need exercise the most.
Yes, we all live in a fast-moving society where we often do not have free time for ourselves, let alone being active in nature, but exercise should be seen as self-care and should be a priority for most people.
Especially being out and about and exploring nature. Many studies have shown that being in nature helps improve our mood and fights stress and depression. Go out for a run or go for a hike, fresh air may help you deal with many mental health issues you might be facing or the current stressful situation the world is in.
But being fit and active is not all about looking the best, or being attractive, although it is sometimes seen that way. There are many ways in which physical activity helps with your overall health, but here are some of the most evident benefits of exercising.
It helps to fight depression
Studies showed that exercise is just as efficient in fighting mild to moderate depression as antidepressants are. But why exactly is exercise good for our mental health.
Well, first of all, when we exercise, the endorphins are released, which is a feel-good hormone that increases your sense of well-being. Exercise also has a different effect on our body, because it reduces internal inflammation, promotes neural growth, and it can serve as a way to take your mind off things that are causing stress or make you blue.
It does not really matter what form of exercise you choose to do, as long as you can work out for around 30 minutes per day. Running, for example, is a good way to boost your mood, but if you want to go on a self-exploratory journey, meditative exercises, like yoga, are a good place to start. You do not have to be super flexible to start doing yoga, but here are some things yoga beginners should know before going to their first yoga class.
Regular exercise reduces your risk of chronic diseases
Even if you already have a chronic condition, exercise can help you manage your symptoms and help you improve your health. It does not matter which kind of exercise you do; they all bring a lot of benefits to your physical well-being. For example, exercise helps to reduce the risks of heart disease, but it also helps to lower the blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
Working out can also lower the risk of diabetes because exercise promotes weight loss and improved energy levels, but most importantly, regular exercise helps insulin reduce blood sugar levels even more efficiently.
Running has proven to be an excellent exercise for lowering the risk of certain cancers. Another critical thing exercise can help you with is dementia. Because working out helps to strengthen the neural pathways, and can stimulate our brains, it keeps our cognitive abilities almost brand new, chances for diseases like Alzheimer’s disease are much lower than in people who do not exercise regularly.
Exercising can bring social benefits
As emotional stability improves with working out, self-esteem also improves. As a result, people often get more social and try to reach out to other people.
But group physical activity also has a more active impact on our social lives. Exercise classes or group training can have a good impact on our social life because we get to interact with people on a regular basis, especially because we are more likely to find a person with similar interests. Meeting other people may be the first step into seeking emotional support, practicing social skills, or getting out of your comfort zone.
There is no need for devoting our lives to physical activity if we want to be healthy and happy, some research found that 30 – 60 minutes per day is enough to be able to feel the benefits that regular exercise brings. You can also find an exercise buddy. Having a workout partner can help with motivation to exercise because it raises your accountability, but you also have support from someone who is going through the same as you.
During COVID-19's period of social distancing, this is more difficult, but video chats offer one way of helping each other stay accountable. You can even go on a daily virtual walk together, or start jogging in the park.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you really want to improve your mental and physical health, working on your diet is also a good idea. Our diet can also have just as big impact on our emotional well-being as our workout routine.
There are many ways to incorporate any form of activity in your life. For example, creating a morning routine that includes 30 mins of yoga every morning or going out for a quick morning walk can really boost your mood and productivity for the rest of the day.
With the COVID-19 pandemic it is hard to keep our wits, but spending time active in nature can help your deal with the situation. Social distancing does not need to mean nature distancing. Just do everything to be safe, and enjoying nature can keep your mind off of things for a little while.
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