There’s some more great content from the lovely Annelize Van Staden from Class Fit this week, focusing on the benefits of exercise.
The health and fitness industry in the UK is booming; the rise in budget gyms has made fitness more accessible to everyone, whilst boutique gyms and fitness trends have also seen a big rise in popularity. Ask people what their motivation is for going to the gym and you’re likely to hear something along the lines of ‘lose weight/tone up/build muscle’. The fitness industry has honed in on our desire to look good and rarely advertises the wealth of other benefits that exercise can have for our overall health.
Physical activity or exercise (any activity which raises your heart rate) can provide immediate benefits to our emotional health, relieving stress, easing anxiety and helping us sleep better. And whilst it certainly doesn’t feel like it at the time (perhaps as a sleep-deprived parent of small children!), exercise can actually improve your energy levels! A study released last year found that exercise can help to relieve the symptoms of postnatal depression and even be used as a preventative measure. Regular exercise also has long-term benefits such as reducing our risk of developing diseases such as cancer, type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
But the benefits don’t stop there! Did you know that exercise was good for your brain? Regular physical activity or exercise can have an immediate, long lasting and protective positive benefit for the brain, including improving your mood, your focus and, because exercise helps the brain to produce new brain cells, your long-term memory too! The more you work out, the more protection you gain against conditions such as depression, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The following video explains the effect exercise has on the process of neurogenesis, the body’s development of new brain cells.
So how much, or how little, some might ask, do you have to exercise to get these amazing benefits from exercise? It is recommended that you do at least 30 minutes of any continuous activity or exercise which increases your breathing and heart rate, three to four times a week. Any exercise is beneficial, however by ensuring you exercise on a regular basis, you can improve your chances of retaining all of these health benefits long term.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and do whatever you can to get that heart rate up and start improving your fitness, physique, health and mood! Look forward to another great blog post from Annelize next month where she’ll be talking about ZUU, an exciting new fitness trend suitable for practically anyone. I can’t wait to learn more and get involved!
Pounds to shed: the rise of the luxury workout (The Guardian, 2017)
Exercise can help new mothers manage postnatal depression, study finds (The Telegraph, 2017)