I’ve been feeling low and fed up! Can exercise help?
I thought I’d share that I’ve been feeling low and fed up recently because I’m sure I’m not alone.
I’m sure a lot of people are struggling with worry and changes in our lifestyles recently. I’ve had a few “down days” and had to work hard to keep positive at times. I’m never normally like that. But with the Covid-19 lock down, all the fear, uncertainty and change in lifestyle is making it harder than usual to stay perky.
I’m sure I’m not alone.
Jogging, Chatting and Routine
Something I’ve done to keep myself feeling well is to exercise (although I’m getting a bit fed up of jogging) and talking to friends and family (I’ve had some lovely long chats with good friends I’ve not properly caught up with in years). We’ve got children so we’ve kept a similar routine at home, which I’d also recommend.
None of these tricks have been the perfect solution but they help. Last week I’d been busy with clinic admin all day and hadn’t spoken to anyone or exercised at all. By the time it got to 4pm I just had to get out. Two hours later at the end of a long walk and having phoned a few friends I was feeling better. The exercise was well worth it.
It’s easy to overlook the importance of exercise
Whilst it’s important to be mindful of the risks associated with Covid-19, we should stay mindful of our physical and mental health.
Exercise, whether you do it indoors or outside (with your household and socially distanced form anyone else), is crucial.
Exercise is so important. Not only is it one of the best things you can do to keep you feeling happy, but it protects against so many causes of ill health including the two biggest killers in the UK: Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease.
In the UK almost 1,000 people die every single day from cardiovascular disease and cancer – and it’s worth remembering that exercise reduces the risk of both of these.
Without compromising social distancing here’s the top 8 reasons why it’s VERY important to exercise.
James and Mykel on a Normal Afternoon Jog Last Summer
1) Exercise improves your mental health:
I always find this amazing: Did you know the most predictable benefit of regular exercise is making you “feel better”. There’s more scientific research showing that exercise helps our mental health than it helps anything else.
That’s right there’s more research to show that exercise will help you feeling happier and mentally well, than to show that it helps anything else.
Here’s a quick example, a study in 2019 showed that an hour of walking per day or 15min of running reduced the risk of major depression by 26%.
2) Impact exercise keeps you bones strong:
Weight bearing or “impact” exercise like walking keeps your bones stronger, reducing osteoporosis and the risk of fracture.
This might not be something you’re worried about but remember it’s very hard to regain bone density once you’ve lost it.
You may also be surprised that the most common cause of death in over 80 year-olds is secondary to a hip fracture. It might be the fracture itself that is fatal, or more often the complications afterwards (this study shows the 1-year mortality after sustaining a hip fracture for an over 60 year old is between 14-58%!).
So, keep those bones strong and healthy!
3) Exercise can reduce the risk of cancer:
Along with healthy eating and not smoking, exercise of listed by the NHS as one of the top three things we can do to reduce your risk of developing cancer.
Cancer remains the leading cause of death in the UK (1). In the UK almost a 1,000 people a day are diagnosed with cancer and 450 people die from it (2). So don’t forget to exercise during this troubled time.
(1) Public Health England (PHE). Health Profile for England: Chapter 2: major causes of death and how they have changed. London: PHE; 2018. Data from England & Wales, 2016.
(2) Calculated by the Cancer Intelligence Team at Cancer Research UK: based on all cancers combined excluding non-malignant melanoma (ICD10 C00-C97 exc. C44) in the UK in 2016.
4) Exercise can help with weight loss:
Try to see any weight loss as a bonus rather than the goal. The reason I say that is there’s no point in weighing in regularly to see how you’re doing.
There are more important health reasons to be exercising than just to lose weight.
5) Exercise helps keep your muscles healthy:
Once you reach 40 years of age, you’ll lose 1% of your muscle mass/year. That becomes critically important later in life when we’re weaker and frailer. You’ve got to “use-it or lose-it”!
The good news is that whatever age you are you can fight back. Exercise will help keep you strong and healthy. It builds your muscles and helps prevent the natural breakdown.
6) Exercise boosts your energy levels:
You’ll feel an energy boost once you get a regular exercise routine going, especially if it’s one you enjoy and can look forward to.
7) Reduces your risk of heart disease:
If you’re physically active then you have a 20-35% lower risk of heart and vascular disease (1). To keep that in perspective 460 people die from a heart of circulatory disease every day in the UK. So as terrible as the Covid-19 situation is, don’t let it stop you exercising.
(1) Public Health England: Physical Activity
8) Exercise halves your risk of death:
I’ve lost the reference but last year I read a report in the New Scientist Magazine that explained that three 45 minutes sessions of exercise/week were enough to half your mortality.
In other words, getting sweaty three times a week for 45 minutes halved the chance of you dying that year by any cause. That statistic was the same no matter what age you were!
So, what exercise is best?
In all honestly the exercise you do is the best one. It’s infinitely better to do something than do nothing and put it off till tomorrow.
I’d recommend you do something you enjoy. that way you’re more likely to keep doing it.
You can workout at home:
There are various podcasts, You Tubers and online classes you can take at home.
I’d strongly recommend that as well as some vigorous exercise you also combine some stretches and perhaps a beginners Yoga video too.
We’ve been following our very own Ryan Keats who’s been posting an exercise video with Sussex Newspapers each Friday.
And here’s a beginners Yoga class we’ve been doing at home. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7AYKMP6rOE
You can get outside to walk or jog:
We’re blessed in Eastbourne to have wonderful countryside and seafront to enjoy with a walk or run.
You don’t have to run!
If you don’t like running, then stick to walking. You’re less likely to get injured with walking (especially if your body is not used to running).
If you’re walking you’ll need to make it a brisk one, ideally with at least one hill and be prepared to walk longer for the same benefits.
You’re more likely to continue with your exercise if:
- it’s a regular routine
- you’ve made a commitment to someone else
Well we mustn’t exercise in groups, but we can set a routine e.g. go out each morning.
We can also make a commitment to someone else. Perhaps plan to walk and talk to a friend on the phone each day at a set time, or message them at the start and finish to encourage each other.
Or record your run using an app and share with friends. We’ve just set up a Lushington Chiropractic group on Strava – join us and share what you’re doing.
We can’t control our health but we can influence it.
It’s vital we protect ourselves (& our community) from Covid-19, but remember the importance of exercise too. Not only will exercise reduce your risk factors for common health conditions but it’ll improve your energy levels, mood and quality of life.
Do your best – and whatever exercise you do, keep at it.
My long walk helped me last week – so share this blog with someone you think needs it.
Questions welcome – please comment below.
Your chiropractor in Eastbourne,