Monday 26 September 2016

4 things that happen to your body when you exercise

Steven Benna

Published 06/06/2016 | 11:25

Photo posed by model.
Photo posed by model.

We all know it’s important to exercise.

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The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults get two and a half hours of moderately intense activity — like briskly walking or riding a bike — each week.

But finding the time and energy to do it can be a struggle: Nearly 80pc of adults don’t meet these basic fitness goals. You might be familiar with the physical benefits of regular workouts, but the psychological ones are equally important.

Regular exercise may help with everything from boosting your mood to improving your sleep schedule.

Keeping these in mind could help push you to hit the gym a little more frequently. Here are some of the biggest psychological benefits of exercise, according to the US Association for Applied Sport Psychology.

It lifts your mood

Research has shown that regular exercise can help give your mood a boost. Several recent studies suggest that, whether you lift weights or go for a run, working out can help reduce anxiety and improve overall mental health. A recent study of 8,000 Dutch people between ages 16 and 65 found that, in general, people who exercised regularly “were more satisfied with their life and happier than non-exercisers at all ages,” the authors wrote in their paper.

The American Psychological Association (APA) has also said that exercising can help make you feel happier — and in some cases the results can be felt pretty quickly. Boston University psychology professor Michael Otto said: “Usually within five minutes after moderate exercise you get a mood-enhancement effect.”

It reduces stress

Working out can help reduce overall stress levels, as well as improve your ability to cope with and respond to mentally taxing situations.

“Exercise may be a way of biologically toughening up the brain so stress has less of a central impact,” said Otto.

It boosts your confidence

In addition to lifting your mood, regular exercise can also help support a healthier body image, according to a growing body of research.

Whether it’s a result of physically changing your body or being proud of completing a set amount of exercise, the positive effects of establishing a workout routine can translate into increased self-satisfaction.

It helps you sleep

More sleep means more energy throughout the day. And regular workouts can help you keep a regular sleep schedule. A recent study of young people found that those who worked out intensely in the evenings slept better than their peers who didn’t work out or who worked out less intensely. The ones who exercised more vigorously also tended to fall asleep faster.

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