Benefits of physical activity on the body
Trafford Leisure’s Active Living Manager and Personal Trainer, James Jackson, explores the importance of keeping active for long term health and how exercise and routine will help to keep you smiling in isolation.
Exercise can help keep your immune system functioning properly and support both your physical and mental wellbeing; especially pertinent during the Covid-19 pandemic. Being at home can be quite limiting in terms of space and lack of equipment. The good news is the best piece of kit is our own body – there’s so much you can do with it. Exercising at home can be simple, with options for most ages and abilities, from our fantastic online workouts, to taking a socially distanced walk. It’s more important than ever to find opportunities for physical activity even during lockdown.
Everyone exercises for their own personal reasons; these include weight loss, improving overall health (physical and mental), enjoyment, body image, as well as improving lifestyle and longevity of life.
But why is physical activity is so important for your body? Do people just do activity because they are told they should? Current government guidelines suggest we should be doing 150 minutes exercise a week, but do people actually understand the physical benefits they are getting from their workout?
Performing physical activity does so many things to the body; for one (and an important one) it regulates our energy balance, important in the control of weight management i.e. calories in versus calories out. Eating an excess of calories compared to the energy we expend doing daily tasks and physical activity will lead to weight gain. Weight gain can lead to an increase in body fat which can become dangerous when there becomes too much. A certain type of fat called visceral fat can surround vital organs preventing them from doing what they are required to do. This type of fat lies internally (not the fat you can grab around the stomach area). Visceral fat is more likely to raise your risk for serious medical issues such as an increase and blood pressure, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and high cholesterol. By watching what you eat, how much you eat and doing regular activity body fat can be managed to help prevent these and other life limiting diseases.
Participating in regular physical activity also makes bones and muscles stronger. Every time we exercise we stimulate muscle receptors in the body, whether this be walking, running, lifting weights etc. The body constantly adapts to these stimuli therefore strengthening muscles, bones, improving balance and core stability, which in turn will decrease the likelihood of having a fall, along with reducing chances of developing osteoarthritis in later life.
Physical activity is a great way to improve mood and mental wellbeing. When we exercise, chemicals called endorphins are released into the body. These endorphins trigger positive feelings in the body. Other chemicals such as cortisol (stress hormone) are reduced when we exercise; this is why we see exercise as a great stress reliever.
Exercise really does:
- reduce your chances of developing long term medical conditions
- improves your mental health
- improves your ability for daily living tasks
- makes you stronger
- increases your chances of living a longer healthier life!
In these difficult times, it’s even more important to keep moving and keep active. Physical activity will help you get through the day, help you sleep better, create a routine for you and your family and help to keep you feeling positive. It’s so important to seek physical activity in your everyday locked-down life. These can include:
- cleaning your home
- dancing to music
- spend some time in your garden or open your window and take deep breaths
- going up and downstairs
- seated exercises and stretches
- going for a socially distanced walk, run or bike road
- sitting less – if you’ve been sitting down for an hour, just getting up or changing position can help.
- participating in our online classes
Active Living Manager / Personal Trainer