Our aim at FFS has always been to help people become “the strongest versions of themselves”, but what parts of a person actually become better and stronger once a regular exercise routine is being followed and why is it important to try and continue practicing your routine during the lockdown?
The Benefits of Exercise
Exercise can benefit sleep, stress, productivity, sense of community, and self-improvement on top of improving general health and body composition. But how?
First of all, I think it's important to define what a regular exercise routine is and more importantly what it looks like to the average person. On first thought, you may think that a regular exercise routine may mean strictly going to the gym 5 or 6 times a week or even training hard “all the time” but in reality, a regular exercise routine is very achievable and much simpler than that.
An exercise routine will mean different things to different people depending on their ability and training age (how long you have been training/exercising). For people with a high training age it can mean 5-6 sessions per week but for others with a low training age or getting back into the swing of things it can be smaller changes to lifestyle like walking/cycling to work instead of driving. The important thing is, getting the heart rate elevated and getting active.
Exercise can also be viewed as essential for Mental Fitness as it can reduce stress. Studies have shown that exercise, in whatever form it comes, has been very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration as well as enhancing cognitive function in the brain which can be helpful when stress has depleted energy and ability to concentrate.
Your mind and body are connected, when your mind is stressed, your body feels the impact as well, so it goes without saying that when your body is in shape, so is your mind. When you exercise, endorphins (chemicals) are produced in the brain which act as natural painkillers and can improve different aspects of your mind/body connection, such as sleep. As said previously, exercise can come in many different shapes and forms and studies have shown that meditation, acupuncture, and even massage therapy can cause your body to produce these endorphins.
Having a less stressed mind and body can affect even more aspects of your life other than self-improvement and sleep. A person's productivity levels tend to improve once they are under less stressful conditions. This can be in work or everyday life in general. Once they get into a regular routine of exercise, it generally replicates itself into a general routine of life and it's much easier to become productive in a routine.
After taking into all of that under consideration, you can see how important it is to try and keep some sort of exercise routine during the lockdown as we are (generally) not moving as much as we used to before the pandemic struck. While we are not able to physically go to the gym, there are still plenty of ways we can keep to the exercise routine that we’re used to. I have seen a plethora of 5km’s being run by, what seems like, the whole planet (and a quick hat-tip to Coach Jamie and his 5km-a-day-for-May campaign for Women’s Aid) but it doesn't have to be as complicated as running 5km every day or making up an intricate workout plan to keep sanity.
My Social Experiment
As a social experiment during the lockdown, I put my usual training on hold for 2 weeks to trial what difference a small bit of exercise does for both body and mind. I used a control week where I did no (planned) exercise and I also had a “test” week where I walked for between 3-5km a day while listening to an audiobook and I compiled the results using the SleepWatch application on my watch/phone which allowed me to track my sleep, mental well-being and how stressed I was feeling on a daily basis. As you can see from the below table, going from 0 to even 30/45mins of exercise a day made a huge difference on my sleep, mood and stress on a weekly basis. This of course just replicates what all of the studies have indicated about exercise and its benefits.
Source: Sleep Watch App
In summary, lots of different studies have found that regular participation in exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. These improvements have been shown to impact other aspects of life outside physical wellness such as productivity and community. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects so you can see how beneficial it is to get some, especially nowadays with what is happening in the world. So all in all, get out, exercise, get into a regular routine and live a better and healthier version of life that will reflect in body and mind!
Find Out More
If you are interested in working with Conor you can contact him at email@example.com .
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