Last week was jam-packed full of national campaigns all aimed at improving our health and fitness, and on the 26h, it was National Fitness Day. Though, just because the day has been and passed, doesn’t mean we can’t discuss the role that physical activity plays in our lifestyle and wellbeing.

The most obvious benefit of exercise is that it helps to burn calories. In 2016/2017, there were 617,000 occasions where people were admitted to NHS hospitals where obesity was a factor which was an 18% increase from 2015/16. We may look in the mirror from time to time and think that we’re carrying a little bit too much weight, but obesity is something entirely different. You don’t have to be super lean in order to be healthy, but being clinically obese is when you’re putting your life at risk due to the excess amount of weight you’re carrying.

Another big benefit of exercise is that it helps to improve your mood. You may not think it when you’re knee deep in your own sweat, but exercise is a great way to help keep you on top of your mental health. A 2016 study looked at the effects of walking and yoga on the mood and found that there was a significant improvement on anger, confusion, depression, and tension, but the benefits aren’t just limited to these exercises. Lifting weights and building strength can help you to feel more confident in your body and its capabilities. As well as this, it will help you to look better, also improving your confidence in your appearance.

All exercise produces endorphins which promote feelings of positivity, reduce pain, and increase optimism. You can also use activity to work through any strong emotions that you have within you. For instance, if you’re stressed after a long day of work or angry about something that’s happened to you, opposed to building this up and letting it get to you, you can take it out in the gym.

Don’t believe me yet? Well, in 2011, researchers asked 26 men and women who exercised regularly to either continue exercising or stop for two full weeks. Those who stopped exercising were shown to have a decreased overall mood.

Lastly, exercise isn’t just good for our muscles, but our bones, tendons, ligaments, and organs. When we exercise, our bones have to grow stronger in order to take the brunt of the impact from our movement. This increases their bone density and decreases our chance of osteoporosis, something that can develop in older age and become extremely debilitating.

Because of these reasons, over the next week we’ll be looking at some top tops to improve your fitness, increase your activity, and work out how to fit more movement into your daily routine.

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