Now the good news! There’s plenty we can do from home to enjoy our home comforts and stay fit physically and mentally. At the top of the list? Exercise!
So pull up a patch of grass and enjoy these compelling ‘who’d have thought’ exercise perks. You’ll be inspired to grab the kids for a little livingroom dancing, do sunlounge pressups, skipping challenges, backyard sprints, star jumps and more… we dare you!
#1 Exercise will make you feel better in these uncertain times
Everyone knows that regular exercise is good for the body, but exercise is also one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health – and in times of uncertainy, this is essential. “Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact mental health,” explains Tony Coggins, Lead Associate for Population Mental Health with Implemental. “It relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts overall mood. And you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits. Research indicates that modest amounts of exercise can make a difference. No matter your age or fitness level, you can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to feel better.”
#2 Exercise helps you feel ore positive about yourself and life
Who’d have thought a brisk 30 minute ‘blockie’ could be such a powerful predictor of our life outlook and approach? But it can.
“People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of wellbeing,” explains Tony. “They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives.”
#3 Exercise can help our brain grow
To everyone who’s lived in fear of killing brain cells every time they ‘toast’, will be jumping for job x 20 reps over this fact. “Exercise promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and wellbeing,” Tony says. “It also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good.”
#4 Exercise reduces stress and tension in the body
That 1.5 metre social distancing rule means a quick dash to the local masseur for a 60 minute massage is a no-goer… atleast for the forseeable future. But alas, the solution could be just a hop, skip away! “Ever noticed how your body feels when you’re under stress?,” asks Tony. “Your muscles may be tense, especially in your face, neck, and shoulders, leaving you with back or neck pain, or painful headaches. You may feel a tightness in your chest, a pounding pulse, or muscle cramps. You may also experience problems such as insomnia, heartburn, stomachache, diarrhea, or frequent urination. The worry and discomfort of all these physical symptoms can lead to even more stress, creating a vicious cycle between your mind and body.”
Tony says exercising is an effective way to break this cycle. “As well as releasing endorphins in the brain, physical activity helps to relax the muscles and relieve tension in the body. Since the body and mind are so closely linked, when your body feels better so, too, will your mind.”
#5 Exercise makes you smarter and prevent ageing
Yep, those crunches, downward dogs and leg raises can be linked to a sharper memory and thinking, and age-related decline. “The same endorphins that make you feel better also help you concentrate and feel mentally sharp for tasks at hand,” explains Tony. “Exercise also stimulates the growth of new brain cells and helps prevent age-related decline.” Sign us up
#6 Exercise helps improve sleep quality
And you don’t have to be an Olympic contender… “Even short bursts of exercise in the morning or afternoon can help regulate your sleep patterns, says Tony. “If you prefer to exercise at night, relaxing exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching can help promote sleep.”
#7 Exercise gives you more energy
Move over, Duracell bunny… “Increasing your heart rate several times a week will give you more get-up-and-go,” Tony advises. “Start off with just a few minutes of exercise a day, and increase your workout as you feel more energised.”
#8 Exercise can build stronger resilience
“When faced with mental or emotional challenges in life, exercise can help you cope in a healthy way, instead of resorting to alcohol, drugs, or other negative behaviors that ultimately only make your symptoms worse,” cautions Tony. “Regular exercise can also help boost your immune system and reduce the impact of stress.”
Ready to comitt to your backyard exercise blitz? Go for gold!
“You can reap all the physical and mental health benefits of exercise with 30-minutes of moderate exercise five times a week.”