Exercise is far more than just for our general health and our healing process – it is also important for overall well-being and is a part of what helps us live a balanced-lifestyle throughout our lifespan. With exercise, our body produces hormones called endorphins, which react with receptors within our brains creating feelings of calmness and happiness. This reaction has been termed “runner’s high” amongst the running community and there is scientific truth to it. These hormones also react with several pain receptors to produce a pain-reducing affect, without side-affects frequently associated with taking pain medications.
When you experience that “feel good” sensation, it is more likely that you will push yourself to exercise again. With more exercise, generally you will feel better about your self-perception, as you are taking the steps necessary to ‘better’ yourself. Furthermore, exercise will boost your metabolism – i.e. allow you to burn more fuel throughout the day. This means that, in conjunction with a healthy diet, you can reduce the presence of fat cells (used as fuel), and improve muscular tone – both of which are associated with improved health and well-being.
Exercise has also been correlated with reducing several co-morbidities that may affect one’s ability to function and impact one’s quality of life. This includes, but is not limited to, reducing the risk of heart/cardiovascular disease (with improvement of heart rate and blood pressure); improving diabetes management; reducing the effects of hypothyroidism; and keeping bones and muscles strong over the long-term.
With less need for medication, and with improved health, one will generally experience less stress as a result. Even without these gains, exercise has often been studied as an outlet for stress and to help relieve “pent up” energy. It helps to turn around negative stress and replace it with positive stress. Exercise can be a time to focus on yourself, which frequently gets lost amongst the hustle and bustle of normal life. Reduced negative stress is directly correlated with improved well-being, which makes taking that step towards exercise all the more enticing.
Get motivated to make a change today – even if it is a small one. Should you experience any discomfort or have questions regarding how you should make this change, contact your physical therapist today, as we are committed to your lifetime health and well-being.