What are the benefits of exercise?
Couch potatoes and gym bunnies alike all know that exercise is good for you. But why exactly do those gym sessions and yoga classes make us feel so damn good? At Yogadoll, we decided to delve into the science to find out.
It helps fight off diseases
OK so there are no guarantees, but the evidence is pretty compelling: hit the gym and your chances of developing all kinds of diseases start to plummet. Regular physical activity reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 50 percent, coronary heart disease, and stroke by up to 35 percent and breast cancer by up to 20 percent.
It’s good for your mental health
It’s not news that regular exercise can help fight depression (ah those endorphins!). What is new is that scientists just found the sweet spot. A study in The Lancet Psychiatry found that exercising three to five times a week, for around 45 minutes each time, was the most effective routine for boosting your mood. Be careful not to overdo it, though: the study also found that working out more than five times a week saw a drop in effectiveness, and exercising for more than three hours a day was worse than doing none at all.
It might boost your brain
It’s not just the feelgood factor: working out regularly can boost your brain in other ways too. Not only does aerobic exercise help improve your memory (it even makes the part of the brain responsible for this bigger in size), but regular exercise is said to reduce your risk of dementia by 30 percent.
It slows down the ageing process
Whatever the calendar says, the cells in your body tell a different story. Scientists have found that if you do a high level of physical activity, your biological age can be a whole nine years younger than that of your sedentary friends. It’s all down to telomeres, which protect your chromosomes. These telomeres get shorter with age; exercising regularly, however, slows down this process.
And there’s more…
As if you needed any further persuasion, exercise has a whole heap of other benefits too. It can help with weight loss, of course. It strengthens your muscles and builds up bone density, helping to stave off osteoporosis in later life. It can improve your complexion by amping up the blood flow to your skin. Want to sleep better? Exercise can help with that too. It can also help reduce chronic pain, increase your energy levels and even boost your sex drive.
Is there anything we left off the list? Let us know in the comments!