Why it Feels Good to Exercise
My name is Cal Dunlea (MISCP) and I work in the PhysioCare Blanchardstown and Castleknock clinics. As well as high-quality physiotherapy treatment in our traditional treatment rooms, I also treat patients in our Blanchardstown PhysioGym. This is a custom-built gym space where active rehabilitation can occur between you the patient and me the Chartered Physiotherapist in private to help you get and feel better.
When talking about the benefits of exercise, we often have a blinkered view as we mostly consider the physical benefits. Now rightly so, there are many physical benefits to regular exercise; reducing high blood pressure, improved cardiovascular and muscle fitness as well as improved bone health. Correlations have been found in studies that show the risks of diabetes, strokes and cancer all decrease with regular activity and exercise. So yes, there are many physical benefits to exercise. But what is often forgotten about when considering the benefits of exercise are the psychological benefits to exercise.
Engaging in regular exercise has shown to have positive effects on a person’s mood and stress levels. Simply put, when we exercise our bodies release neurochemicals into the brain. The most notable are dopamine and endorphins which are associated with better cognitive function, alertness and elevated mood. In addition to this, it also helps reduce the release of stress hormones in our bodies such as cortisol and adrenaline. A 2012 study in Canada found that people who were inactive through the years were nearly twice as likely to be unhappy compared with those who were active. When we accomplish something as humans, there is that rewarding and satisfactory feeling. We feel good when we have gone for a run, a swim or even an evening walk.
Partaking in regular exercise has also shown to reduce the symptoms of and prevent depression. This can be due to increased energy levels, improved body image or personal satisfaction with one’s physical accomplishments. Depression unfortunately is on the rise and according to the World Health Organisation it affects over 350 million people worldwide. It is extremely positive to see huge and increasing media coverage of this coupled with active events such as the Darkness into Light runs.
Active rehabilitation and exercise is a huge component of physiotherapy and here at PhysioCare, we promote patient centred treatment. We treat the individual, not the individual’s problem. The recommended time is 150 minutes per week of moderately intense exercise to be healthy, that can work out at 30 minutes a day across five days. So we encourage everyone to be active and if you find you are struggling with this or with an injury that prevents you from reaching your 150 minutes, that’s where we come in.