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National Fitness Day

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What does Fitness mean to you?

This topic is broadly discussed in the media, I feel sometimes the point is a little hazy. In my line of work I am constantly involved with the fitness industry. Competitive Athletes, Personal Trainers, Yogis, Bodybuilders, Cardio worshippers or Gym Bunnies… I see it all. A discussion I end up having over and over is reminding people WHY fitness is good for their health. It is not just about aesthetics.

Many of my patients can list exercises that build muscle, tell me in detail and why they do push days/ pulls days, have goals including dropping a dress size or PB for a squat. Very few mention the actual health benefits, when I remind them often some information is new.

Many have a good relationship with exercise, that is great. However, I do link to draw back attention to why it is good for you.

I shall tell you some of my favourite facts for why fitness is important:

Lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, stroke, cancers etc
“Incorporating exercise into our daily routine not only helps to maintain a healthy weight, but it can also help prevent more than 20 common health conditions, such as reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer by 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%”
Reference Medichecks article.

Improve mental health
“Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier, more relaxed and less anxious. Regular exercise boost confidence and can improve self-esteem”
Reference Mayo Clinics

Lower risk of Osteoarthritis (up to 83%)

Supports your immune system
“Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.”

Reduce levels of systemic inflammation in the body

Reduce the risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s
“A study published today in JAMA Neurology found that physical activity may protect against cognitive decline and the build up of amyloid beta protein, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.”
Reference JAMA

Improves memory and thinking skills
“In a study done at the University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and your sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning. Resistance training, balance and muscle toning exercises did not have the same results.”
Reference Harvard Health

More energy (despite the occasional DOM’s)
“Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores.” Reference Mayo Clinic

Improves Sleep quality. moderate aerobic exercise increases the amount of slow wave sleep you get. Slow wave sleep refers to deep sleep, where the brain and body have a chance to rejuvenate. Exercise can also help to stabilize your mood and decompress the mind, “a cognitive process that is important for naturally transitioning to sleep,”
Reference Hopkins Medicine.

Next time you look in the mirror and worry that you don’t look how you think you should, stand next to your gym partner or competition and can’t lift what they can or simply only have fitness goals for the sake of a dress size. Remember the bigger picture and the facts above.

As always,

If you have any issues or questions, please do be in touch.

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