The hidden benefits of exercise
03.12.2019
Dr Frankie Jackson-Spence
Aerobic activity has actually been shown to boost memory

There are so many benefits to exercise beyond losing weight, growing a bum or hitting strength PBs in the gym. I think we sometimes get too caught up in our external appearance and forget that exercise does loads of amazing things to your body’s physiology which has  great benefit to your health that you can’t even see!

  1. Exercises reduces your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, irrespective of your BMI. This means, even if you’re exercising and not losing weight, the activity is having positive effects on the cells in your body and lowering your risk for disease![1]
  2. Exercise releases endorphins, the happy hormones in your body which actually reduce your risk of developing mental health illnesses such as depression.[2]
  3. Increases the strength of bones and joints. As women get older, our oestrogen levels drop which puts us at increased risk of weak bones (osteoporosis).[3] The NHS recommends 2 resistance sessions per week to strengthen those bones!
  4. Aerobic activity has actually been shown to boost memory.[4] Researchers have shown that regular exercise boosts the size of the hippocampus in your brain, which is the area responsible for memory and learning.

Plus who else finds exercise a great way to unwind at the end of busy day!

So if you’re ever feeling low in motivation, or feeling like you didn’t have the greatest gym session, just remember this article and all the positive effects that workout had on your body!

Author: Dr Frankie Jackson-Spence

[1] Wedell-Neergaard, A. Eriksen, L. (2018) 'Low fitness is associated with abdominal adiposity and low-grade inflammation independent of BMI', PLOS ONE, (), pp. [Online]. Available at: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0190645#references (Accessed: 26/08/2019).

[2] Harvey, S. (2017) 'Exercise and the Prevention of Depression: Results of the HUNT Cohort Study', The American Journal Of Psychiatry , 175(1), pp. 28-36 [Online]. Available at: https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.16111223

[3] Pasqualini, L. (2019) 'Effects of a 3-month weight-bearing and resistance exercise training on circulating osteogenic cells and bone formation markers in postmenopausal women with low bone mass.', Osteoporosis International, 30(4), pp. [Online]. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30809725

[4] Godman, H. (2018) Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills, Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110