5 UNEXPECTED BENEFITS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
1. Happier Moods
Nothing will get you out of a funk faster than just five minutes of exercise! Any form of physical activity releases endorphins in the brain, creating strong feelings of happiness and euphoria. Consistent exercise alleviates symptoms of depression as well. Not only will you feel healthy and confident, you’ll have the happy brain chemicals to match.
2. Better Sleep Quality
Ever toss and turn for hours with an endless stream of thoughts and worries? Physical activity raises the body’s core temperature, and after 5-6 hours post-workout, the decreased core temperature signals the body to sleep. Studies show that consistent exercise results in not only less time to fall asleep and sounder sleep cycles, but also less daytime drowsiness!
3. Improved Concentration & Creativity
Whether your work involves a 9-5 grind or travelling from place to place, it’s important to make the most of your time. A study involving a mandatory work-exercise program for employees resulted in greater self-rated productivity in the office. Additionally, an improved cardiovascular system and increased endorphins stimulate the mind for more creative thoughts to flow.
4. Reduce Stress Levels & Anxiety
Between work and family time, many suffer from high stress levels. A busy schedule is a logical excuse to skip a work out, but physical activity actually helps alleviate stress! Exercise increases the body’s ability to handle stress – through producing higher levels of norepinephrine, a helpful chemical that regulates areas of the brain that send stress signals. The more you train your body with the physical stress of exercise, the better it responds to emotional stress.
5. Maintain Mental Fitness
Through aging, our brainpower decreases and the brain actually grows smaller. Mental decline can start as early as 24 years of age. A study following an active and inactive group of 70-year-olds showed that after three years, the group who exercised consistently had less brain shrinkage than the inactive group. Physical activity engages the entire body, and a healthier cardiovascular system means the heart is better able to circulate blood to all parts of the body – even in those older years!
In order to remain active in life, it is important to build an early understanding of the benefits of exercise. Many underprivileged kids are not even exposed to physical activity, because their families can’t afford to let them play or their youth programs do not have adequate equipment resources. Good Sports is committed to helping these kids play and be active, so they too can experience these benefits!
— Rebecca Lynch, Business Development Associate
- American Psychological Association (http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/exercise-stress.aspx)
- TIME (http://healthland.time.com/2012/10/23/exercise-trumps-brain-games-in-keeping-our-minds-intact/, http://time.com/63500/brain-aging-at-24/)
- National Center for Biotechnology Information (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21785369)
- The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/13/health/nutrition/13Best.html?_r=2)
- Greatist (http://greatist.com/fitness/13-awesome-mental-health-benefits-exercise)