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How Exercise Affects Your Brain

 

Let’s face it – daily life is definitely full of stress. And seeing as most people lead extremely diverse lifestyles, there are all kinds of different stress triggers; consequentially, with different ways of solving them.

However, in the light of recent events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, a huge percentage of the world’s population has been dealing with the same causes of stress. Mainly, health-related worries and social isolation due to quarantine. Luckily, there are ways to alleviate this anxiety, even at home.

Exercise does wonders for reducing our stress levels, and there are plenty of ways to have a quality workout at home – which is precisely what we’ll talk about here!

Stress causes long-term damage

When we’re highly stressed out, our body goes into a fight or flight mode. This has the potential to cause long-term physical damage unless properly managed. In turn, this may adversely affect all sections of our health, such as our immune, cardiovascular, and nervous systems; as well as our sex-drive and reproductive system.

Our immune systems are complex. Billions of cells travel through our bloodstream defending the body against foreign bodies (antigens) such as viruses, bacteria and cancerous cells. Stress triggers corticosteroid, the stress hormone, which in turn suppresses the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens.

During the current pandemic conditions, taking action to protect and build our immune system is of primary importance.

Plus, exercise is known to reduce anxiety levels which are bound to be heightened by current events.

In the UK, we are currently allowed to go outside once a day to walk, run or cycle, or even go to an allotment, as our daily exercise. this is great providing you can keep the two-metre distance as fresh air is also critically important.

However, in addition to that, a more robust workout routine becomes more than a crucial part of our general effort for physical and mental wellbeing. The exercise people get at home in the current world climate will prove to be immensely useful. Especially because exercise has been proven to have a huge positive impact on mental health, for all issues across the board.

A study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%.

Why Exercise Helps

Dr Anthony Annan, Sports and Exercise Medicine Physician Specialist, explains the broad range of benefits or regular exercise

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re spending more time at home than ever before. Indeed, experts point out that this kind of world-wide quarantine effort is without precedent in modern history. However, that aside – after staying at home a while, all of us tend to start going a little crazy; there’s a reason why the term “cooped up” exists, and not in a good way.

This goes double for people who are used to going out a lot or spending time at the gym. But even people who don’t regularly do a lot of physical activity will find themselves missing the outdoors; especially with springtime soon approaching. With all of this in mind – you will see what kind of role exercise plays in our lives. More than ever before, it’s important to work out at home. This keeps us physically vital and agile; even if you’re working from home, chances are you’ll be spending a lot of your time sitting down. If you don’t spend some time working out, you will feel sluggish and depressed; definitely not good in times of quarantine.

You will tackle tasks and challenges much better when you’re in a good frame of mind. Anxiety and stress can paralyse us and stop us from doing the most basic things, like shopping, cleaning, or even taking care of our personal appearance.

On top of this, exercising on a regular basis has palpable benefits for other aspects of your life as well. If you maintain a constant exercise routine, your body will improve its respiration ability and oxygen levels. This makes you feel more energized, helping you be more productive while working and studying.

Types of exercise

It’s recommended that we do something on a regular basis that puts us a bit out of breath and there are many ways we can do this, sometimes without even joining a gym; or in this case, without even going beyond the confines of our homes.

Gardening and dog-walking are good examples of easy ways to get out of breath without too many changes to our routines. If you look at some of the other things you do every day, I’m sure you can find plenty more. Stairs could become your best friend! Make a habit of running up and down your stairs if you are able to. When you’re spending each and every day at home, you’ll start finding more and more ways to exercise and keep yourself healthy. And in the wake of such a serious pandemic, this is an absolute top priority for the sake of your loved ones and yourself.

This is a great time to use social media positively. Try and ignore the doom and gloom and check some of the exercise videos being posted on Facebook and YouTube. There’s something for everyone and, apart from the exercise, working out to a video often feels like you are part of a group, so it helps against that feeling of isolation.

And don’t forget that dancing is a fun way to fitness! What better way to exercise than put on your favourite music, turn the volume up (but not so loud it disturbs your neighbours!) and boogie away until you are out of breath.

Calisthenics is another great way to get your exercise because it doesn’t require expensive equipment or fancy gym gear to get started. Most importantly as of now – you can do it absolutely anywhere you want; meaning you can work out and stay home as well. All you need is your body weight to provide resistance and you can go at your own pace without feeling the pressure of a gym environment or having to go outside at all.

Our regular contributor, Cris Ramis of Ramis Health & Fitness also provides a great Express Home Workout

Exercise is vital to your health, both mental and physical, and fitter can dramatically help you to recover from illness or surgery. In fact, with a boosted immune system, you may find that you don’t get sick quite as easily. We don’t have to tell you how crucial it is to make sure your immunity is working at 100% efficiency these days. All in all, both your body and your psyche need all the help they can get in battling the dangers of the pandemic and the psychological effects of quarantine. And that help is working out!

With a new and improved mood, you’ll be much better equipped to deal with the stresses and strains of daily life and the current health challenges. And although it won’t rid you of anxiety completely, it will go a long way to helping you manage the symptoms.

 
Image credits:
Exercising at home image by Keifit from Pixabay
Beach run image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

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