Why do we exercise

I often ask myself the same question, particularly after a hard session before or after work, and being a gentleman of a certain age it just seems to get harder. Although I must admit I do feel the better for it, physically and mentally.

We all know the usual benefits and each of us have our own reasons for taking part in exercise, they tend to be the standard goals, i.e., weight loss, get fitter, tone up or improve one’s health and the one not everyone admits to, vanity, but looking good makes you feel good!

Over the years I have included several of these targets in my own personal goals, however for me one of the most important side effects has been the control of stress, something we all suffer from, but ignore or refuse to admit to.

Some seek appropriate advice or medication; however Australian scientists have found that an hour’s hard work in the gym is as potent as antidepressant medication. They surveyed clients on a ten week resistance programme and found depressive feelings were reduced by a fifth (and of course other side effects are fat loss and toning, as strength training is as effective as cardio training). Why is this? The American Psychological Association reports that exercise helps you cope better with stress by releasing norepinephrine (a hormone and neurotransmitter) into the brain, leading to reduced anxiety levels.

Further studies on hypertension have found that weight training notably reduces blood pressure levels after just four weeks; several of our clients here at Wellness@Harton Sports Centre are testament to this.

Well I hope this has in part answered the above question – but you decide your own reasons (or excuses as the case may be) as to why you should be exercising.

Whatever your decision may be – enjoy.

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