We are always told to move, to exercise, to go for a walk but why is that? So today I’ve put together a little bit of information to help you understand the importance of exercise and how it can help you.
As most of you will know movement helps with our circulation. Many people are great at moving I know. However, if you are not then I would suggest you start small. If you are struggling or could do with a bit of motivation then this exercise routine by Rangan Chatterjee is a great way to start, it’s really simple and it takes just 5 minutes. It can really get your circulation going.
Any exercise that increases your heart rate, even a little, will improve your circulation, increasing your heart rate at least once a day, if not twice, will significantly improve your heart health and the elasticity of your blood vessels.
Lymphatic drainage and circulation
The lymph system helps us to defend against pathogens and improved lymphatic drainage means we build a better immune response to invaders. Exercises that help improve your lymph circulation include star jumps, rebounding (mini-trampoline) and running. Basically, anything with impact will stimulate the lymph system so even just jumping up and down a few times will help.
Another thing that helps with both blood and lymph circulation is cold water. This can be in the shower or if you’re mad like me in the sea or a swimming pool. Cold showers or immersion in a cold bath (or other water!) will cause the blood vessels to shrink and when you warm up the vessels expand thus increasing the elasticity of the vessel walls. Most problems with circulation are caused by damage to the walls of the blood vessels so the more you can do to keep them in shape the better.
Exercise, first of all, reduces the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone by increasing dopamine. As you may know, the production of cortisol also has a significant impact on our blood sugars so this is really important. It also stimulates serotonin, the mood hormone, which helps us to sleep well and improves our mood, our behaviour around others and impacts our gut health. This is because at least 70% of our serotonin is produced in the gut!
Movement also increases our oestrogen levels which go down as we age. So around menopause exercise can really help. Use a combination of strength training and cardio, the more intense the workout the more the hormones increase, so a short burst of high intensity will be more effective
than a longer session which raises the heart rate less. This doesn’t mean you have to do hours and hours just start small, even one short session will make a difference.
AND exercise increases our feel-good neurotransmitters – endorphins which reduce the negative impact of stress and improve your mood. Once again it’s HIIT and resistance training that increase our endorphins the most. When you have fewer endorphins you are more likely to suffer from the effects of stress, low mood, anxiety and even depression. So get moving!
Also, when you exercise the sympathetic nervous system, responsible for stress responses, suppresses the release of insulin, a positive for anyone either with or at risk of diabetes. This suppression of insulin means that it is a good idea not to eat sugary foods before exercise.
Memory and brain health
A bit more science for you. Exercise also promotes the production of something called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This is a neurotransmitter that helps the body stimulate the production of new cells in the brain. So BDNF improves cognitive function. Last but not least we produce human growth hormone when exercising which helps with new cell growth. When we have too little of this hormone it can have an effect on our energy, our weight, our muscles and our bones.
Wow, now do you realise how important movement is? With all this in mind, my advice is GET MOVING!
If you are short of energy and struggling to get through the day, maybe you’ve seen a doctor but they didn’t come up with anything to help you, perhaps it’s time to start to look at your nutrition, how you fuel your body! Get in touch for a free discovery call and a chat to see how I can help!