Why should we Exercise? – Time Investment

We all know that exercise is good for us… It is good for our hearts, lungs, muscles and skin. Those who partake in regular exercise have a reduced risk of getting Cancer, Heart disease and Diabetes. Plus it is common knowledge that those who exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet will see decreases in body fat while increasing their lean muscle mass. All in all exercise is essential for a healthy, optimally working body and nowadays it is common knowledge.

Great, but what else can regular exercise DO for us? We live in a society where we expect a lot of bang for our buck so what else can we get out of regular exercise aside from the boring common sense stuff? When we exercise we are investing time, and time is a precious commodity. Like any other investment we want a higher yield, higher turnover, more profit and reduced risk. Investing time for exercise is no different. Fortunately we are in luck! Here are just a handful of positive returns you will get from your Time Investment into regular exercise. Regular exercise is a treatment for depression and makes us feel good!

There are many possible causes of depression. Chemical imbalances in the brain, stress, lack of sleep, the list goes on. And because of this, rarely will a sufferer of this horrible disease be prescribed just one treatment. One thing they will all be prescribed though is regular exercise.

A recent study from the Karolinska institute found that exercise purges the body of chemicals that make people depressed. Furthermore, during and post exercise the body increases the amount of serotonin and dopamine it produces. Increases in these two neurotransmitters are nothing but a good thing! Dopamine is often referred to as a ‘pleasure chemical’ and is also released during times of ecstasy. Serotonin increases are linked with increased mood, emotional stability and better, deeper sleep. To finish it off, when we come to the end of a bout of exercise our body is flooded with Endorphins! (Often referred to as a ‘jogger’s high’) these beautiful little chemicals are the same ones we get when we eat chocolate or spend time with a loved one. It is no wonder then that exercise is the first thing that gets prescribed!

Rationally this all makes sense. In this day and age we are living in an unnatural world with unnatural stressors. Our bodies essentially are the same they were 100,000 years ago, a long time before 9am board meetings and traffic jams even existed. Back in the day our stressors were very real. Big animals with big teeth! And our reactions were justifiable, get stressed, fight or run away. Whichever reaction our prehistoric counterparts took it would always involve a certain level of physical exertion. Moreover their lifestyles back then were far more active, foraging, hunting and trekking daily, a far cry from desks, cubicles and TV.

We are supposed to move! Millions of years of evolution have brought us to this blueprint for our bodies. Bodies which can run, swim, jump, lift… and what do we do? Lie in bed, sit on the tube, sit at a desk, sit on the sofa and finally get back into bed. This way of life is so foreign to our genetic make up that it is no wonder we feel so good when we finally decide to move a little and get out of breath.

I am a CrossFitter and one CF’s definitions of fitness is General Physical Preparedness (GPP) meaning train your body so if and when the time comes you can physically react and cope with any number of physical challenges… AKA life.

Running for the bus, taking the stairs, moving furniture, picking up your grandchild, insert any one of a thousand scenarios.

We invest so much time into trivial stuff, most of which will never benefit our lives. Time is our most precious commodity…

Invest it wisely.

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