Exercise and Well-Being!
You have probably heard it said that exercise will make you feel better. And maybe you’ve experienced this yourself. But let’s explore WHY it makes you feel better.
Not only does research show that regular exercise, both endurance (such as walking and biking) and strengthening (such as using resistance bands and/or weight training), helps to decrease high blood pressure, manage and/or prevent diabetes and reduce the onset of arthritis or manage arthritic-related symptoms but it also demonstrates positive benefits of exercise on mood and levels of anxiety.
Regular exercise causes the release of “feel-good” chemicals endorphin and serotonin, as well as other naturally created substances that increase your sense of well-being and happiness. This is why exercise can be so potent for those who are experiencing sadness or depression-like symptoms. Exercise also increases blood flow to the brain and this can help you to think more clearly and support over-active parts of the brain with nutrients and remove metabolic by-products. Additionally, exercise increases the size of the hippocampus. This is the part of the brain that is responsible for memory! That doesn’t mean you will have a photogenic memory but it might help you remember why you went into that room!
Beyond the biological benefits, exercise allows you to gain confidence and boost your self-esteem by accomplishing physical tasks and reaching goals. It can also increase your social interaction with others. Exercise classes are a great way to be reminded that you aren’t in this alone and there are others who are on the same path to wellness as you; you might even make some new friends!
Lastly, because of the biological effects of exercises, it is a positive way to cope when facing stressors, depression and anxiety. There are lots of methods of coping but some of them will only exacerbate the symptoms or the issues. Exercise provides a positive outlet for coping with conflict and negative moods. Next time you are faced with a challenging situation or feeling a little blue, try going for a walk.
Physiotherapists are exercise-based health care providers. We would love to assist you in creating a feasible and motivating exercise program to help you reach your optimal well-being!
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Caitlinn Thompson, Registered Physiotherapist