Have you ever felt sore all over just by sitting at your desk and listening to your teacher talk? It is not because your teacher is such a pain in the ass. It is because our bodies are not made to be sedentary. The longer you sit inactive, the more agitated your body becomes. The 360 joints and more than 700 skeletal muscles in your bodies are there for a reason—for you to move!

The Health Promotion Board recommends 150 minutes of physical activity every week.

In an earlier blog post “Mind over Mattress”, we briefly mentioned how exercise can help you feel better throughout the entire day. This time, we will go in depth into the benefits of exercise, because like it or not, you can reap a lot of benefits from exercising.

Weight loss

Exercise burns calories, which helps you to lose weight or remain slim. You might have learnt from biology class that when you consume more calories than your body needs, your body stores the excess energy as fat cells. The reverse is true. When the food you eat is not enough to supply your daily energy requirements, your body starts to burn your reserves, aka your fats.

Combats diseases and health conditions

Exercise is the panacea for many ills. From avoiding diabetes, hypertension and heart attacks, down to living longer, exercises can give you a hand. A recent study has shown that people who exercised regularly were half as likely to get a cold. On a deeper level, exercises increase your production of antioxidant enzymes. This means that your body is less susceptible to the insidious problem of free radicals. In other words, if you want a glowing complexion even when you are an auntie/uncle, you should start exercising now.

As if those benefits are not enough, God decided to make exercises even more appealing for nerds and geeks all over Singapore. We have listed below some ways exercises boost mental wellbeing.

Makes you more resilient

Exercises increase concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical which increases your ability to deal with stress. This correlation between stress management and exercise has already been proven in the lab. When mice that ran regularly and sedentary mice were put in stressful situations, the mice that ran regularly were able to adapt quickly and to cope with the stress. The sedentary mice were less resilient and continued exhibiting signs of anxiety long after their active counterparts have calmed down.

Makes you happier

Exercises release endorphins, which create feelings of happiness. It is therefore no surprise that a study shows that people who exercised regularly were half as likely to be depressed compared to those who are sedentary. So for those of you who are getting back your results in a few weeks, it is time to start exercising now.

Makes you smarter

When you exercise, more blood bringing oxygen flows to your brain. You will instantly feel less sleepy and more alert. Additionally, your brain produces more of a protein known as BDNF. This, coupled with an increase in the production of cells when you work-out, helps you to learn better, think better and make better decisions. For example, a study showed that running sprints improved vocabulary retention among healthy adults. In the long run, exercises prevent the degeneration of the hippocampus and guard against cognitive decline.

Now that you know exercise is good for you, both physically and mentally, it is time to get moving. The Health Promotion Board recommends 150 minutes of physical activity every week. This may sound a bit unachievable, I know, that is why we have prepared another blog post giving you tips about how to exercise. Stay tuned!