the benefits of physical activity

The human body is designed to be active. We are born to walk, jog, run, climb, jump and swim. And we all know it. Ask anyone whom you would care to and they will tell you the physical activity is good for you, your body and your health. But just how much can be gained from participating in regular physical activity? Perhaps the extent would surprise most.

The most documented, for obvious reasons, are the physical benefits we stand to gain from physical activity. Enhancing and changing body shape is often the stated goal by those participating in regular exercise. We can lose weight and gain muscle definition and size, improving our posture and body shape to the desire outcome. We become stronger, increase stamina, mobility and flexibility as we train. In short the body performs better, at a greater level in all physical aspects.

There are the also often stated health benefits that we stand to gain. Regular physical activity can increase cardio and respiratory system health, boost our immune system and the functioning of all our vital organs. All of this together increases our life expectancy tenfold and not only that but we will live healthier for longer.

Finally, though it may seem contradictory, regular physical activity will increase your energy. As your body becomes fitter, faster, stronger and more flexible, everyday tasks become easier to carry out, leaving you with greater energy levels than ever before, allowing you to perform greater in life.

Perhaps less well broadcast are the mental benefits to be gained from regular physical activity, though they are no less significant.

The fundamental principal is physical activity makes you feel good. Not only chemically through the release of serotonin in the brain, but through our mood, thoughts and feelings. For example, the general change in body shape and change in peoples perceived image of themselves through exercise makes people feel more positive. They look good, they feel good.

Physical activity can also have an impact on other areas of brain function. Recent research by Wendy Suzuki [1] suggests that regular exercise could lead to increased imaginative function and long-term memory through increased birth rate and survival of brain cells in the area of the brain known as the hippocampus. Her research goes on to explain how exercise can also help sharpen focus and attention and even may help to prevent or slow down cognitive decline as we age. Bring all of these factors together and you have the potential for massively increased cognitive function and ability all through physical activity.

Furthermore, when your body is well, your well-being increases. Your body is fitter, performing better and is generally much healthier and as result your sense of happiness, well-being and energy improves with it.

Moreover, there is great enjoyment and excitement to be found in physical activity. There a very few greater feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment in life, than that of meeting a physical challenge or reaching a personal milestone that you have worked hard to overcome. It can alleviate stress and bring thrills and excitement in equal measure in a way that is unparalleled in our day to day lives. Whether you’re winning a cup final with your team mates or simply walking further than you’ve ever done before, the mental and emotional high is unrivalled.

[1]Wendy Suzuki, A neuroscientist says there’s a powerful benefit to exercise that is rarely discussed, http://qz.com/592569/a-neuroscientist-says-theres-a-powerful-benefit-to-exercise-that-is-rarely-discussed/, 2016