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Prevent Disease and Stay Healthy

The benefits of physical activity for healthy people include:

Improved mood and mental health: Physical activity changes hormones in the brain and increases a release of endorphins (the happy hormones) and reduces cortisol levels (stress hormones). In addition, physical activity has been proven to reduce the risk of developing depression and been helpful in managing depression. People who are more active also have a lower chance of reaching burnout and are better at managing stress levels. With more activity you are able to get fitter and stronger and consequently do more – this in turn helps build your self-esteem and self-worth, motivating you to do even more and achieve things you never thought possible. You may also choose to exercise with others or in a group and the socialising with others can also be hugely positive on your mood.

Improved cognitive function: Dementia risk is reduced by up to 24% in people who engaged in moderate to high levels of activity. And Alzheimer’s disease risk was reduced by 37% in people with high levels of physical activity.

Maintain healthy weight: Exercise alone won’t guarantee long-term weight loss, a balanced diet and behaviour change is also necessary. However, exercise helps regulate your blood sugars, improve your glycaemic index and build lean muscle mass. This healthy body image and improved body composition will allow weight control, improved fitness and improved function. Weight loss also reduces the load on your joints and stronger muscles support more stable joints, allowing you to do even more.

Live longer: Low fitness has been attributed as a cause of 16% of deaths. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of death by 30%. People who exercise regularly can live for an additional 4.5 years compared to sedentary people. This is all because of the effects of physical activity on muscles, bone health, blood vessel function, nerve function and chemicals in the brain and blood vessel walls. The benefits to your psychological well-being are also likely to contribute to living longer.

Reduced chance of falls: Exercise has been proven to reduce the risk of falling by as much as 21% because you have stronger muscles and more stable joints. Regular exercise also promotes better ‘communication’ with the nerves from the brain to the feet and benefits balance, control and co-ordination, all of which are required to make you more stable on your feet. People doing specific balance exercises with daily activity reduced their fall risk by as much as 49%.

Improved quality of life: Regular physical activity will improve your cardiovascular fitness (your heart and lungs), you will feel less breathless and able to do more. Stronger muscles demand less oxygen as they work more efficiently, so you are able to do more with less effort. All of this adds up to being able to fulfill chores, tasks and work more easily, stay independent, and enjoy life more.

Improved sleep and less fatigue: It is a well-known fact that as your fitness levels increase so your sleep improves. Improved sleep will help reduce feelings of tiredness. Also, the fitter and stronger you become the easier tasks and chores or exercises will feel, leaving you less tired and empowered to do more.

Manage stress: Exercise is a healthy outlet for nervous energy and a welcome distraction from negative thoughts and feelings. It helps reduce fear symptoms and catastrophisation and increases a sense of calm and overall well-being. Better sleep and improved socialising also leads to enhanced relationships. All these factors contribute to reducing stress levels through regular exercise.

A good idea before starting an activity is to sit down with your physiotherapist, GP or family member/friend and write down what it is you want to achieve. Set goals, easy achievable ones initially. These will help build self-esteem and confidence. Should you require more information contact us at hello@nobarriers.ie for more information or guidance.

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