Physical Health Benefits:
As well as improving your overall physical fitness, being more active can have the following benefits:
- Reduced risk of some diseases. For example it can reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke by 10% and type 2 diabetes by 30-40%
- Reduced risk of physical health problems as our bodies adapt to stress. As we get fitter our bodies better regulate our cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that our bodies release in response to anxiety. High cortisol levels have been linked to a range of problems from high blood pressure and lowered immune response.
- Healthier Organs. Your heart will become stronger which in turn lowers cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
- Healthier Bones. Weight-bearing exercise will strengthen your bones and build muscle which in turn reduces your risk of developing osteoporosis.
- Healthier Weight. As you exercise you will start to reduce body fat as your stamina and fitness levels improve.
- More Energy. As your body adapts to increased activity levels you will get a natural energy boost which will make you feel less tired. Research shows that even low intensity levels of activity can be beneficial if you are usually very fatigued.
- Improved Sleep. Many find that they are able to sleep better at night having been more active throughout the day.
Mental Health Benefits:
- Reduced anxiety and better mood. When you exercise, your brains release endorphins (feel-good hormones) which can calm anxiety and lift mood.
- Reduced feelings of stress. You may experience a reduction in feelings of stress and tension as your bodies learn to better control cortisol levels.
- Clearer Thinking. Exercise has been found to help with what I call ‘racing brain’. Leaving us calmer and able to think clearly.
- Increased Self-Esteem. Once you see an improvement in fitness, changes in body shape and a general improvement in mood then you’ll start feeling better within yourself.
- Reduced risk of depression. There is good evidence that being more active lowers rates of depression in both men and women. Exercising at least three times per week can reduce your risk of depression by almost 20%
Social and Emotional Benefits:
- Making friends and connecting with people. Being around other people is good for our mental health and improves our feeling of social connectivity.
- Having Fun. Yes! You can have fun whilst you exercise, especially when you are with other people. This will also improve your overall wellbeing.
- Challenging Stigma & Discrimination. Some people find that joining a sport programme can help reduce the stigma attached to their mental health problem. Getting involved in local projects with other people who share a common interest can be a great way to break down barriers and challenge discrimination; and you know how much we love doing that!