THE BENEFITS OF MOVEMENT
As a personal Trainer, Fitness Instructor and Dance Teacher, fitness and movement are an integral part of my existence. Being active for me is about freedom. The freedom to be able to go about daily life without feeling sluggish, the freedom of being switched on and alert, the freedom of being happy.
Do I feel that one form of exercise is superior to another? No! There are multiple benefits to all forms of movement and I would encourage my clients to mix up their exercise routine, not only to learn a multitude of skills but to also stay motivated. After all, what is life without a little variety!!
Why should we move?
• It improves our mood
• Protects against muscle and bone depletion
• Works the heart, improving stamina and protecting against cardiovascular diseases.
• Regulates blood sugar levels
• Improves balance and agility
• Increases self-esteem and improves body image.
What happens to the brain after exercise?
The body releases the protein BDNF (Brain-derived Neurotropic Factor) and endorphins in the brain to fight stress and minimize the discomfort of exercise. These are associated with better cognitive functioning, elevated moods and purging stress hormones: cortisol and adrenaline. This is why we feel awesome after exercise.
As we get older we start to lose lean muscle mass and bone density. Strength training is known to increase bone density and therefore protect against osteoporosis. During resistance training the muscle fibers inside your muscles increase in size therefore making them stronger. Another benefit to strength training is ‘excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). The body demands a lot of energy when doing weight/resistance training so can continue to burn calories for three to four hours following a workout and until the body gets to rest.
The heart is a muscle and should be worked just like the rest of the body. In cardiovascular training we are working the heart and therefore increasing stamina, strengthening the heart muscle whilst releasing dopamine and serotonin in our brain, boosting mood and energy. Cardio is fantastic for keeping cardiovascular diseases at bay by reducing cholesterol and blood pressure.
I added dancing into the mix because dancing has huge physical and neurological benefits. Learning routines and sequences improves concentration, balance and agility. Because it reduces brain atrophy it is particularly good for individuals affected by dementia. Dancing is a form of self-expression also providing a sense of release. I strongly feel that it enables us to develop a closer relationship with our bodies and developing a positive body image. Again it is mood boosting and can leave us buzzing with excitement and achievement.
Tips for moving in the winter.
• Indoor classes- Zumba, Les Mills, Body conditioning, Spin, Circuit/ Bootcamp training, Yoga, Pilates.
• Dance classes.
• High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) in your own home.
• Brisk walks
• Walks when doing chores outdoors.
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