Exercise Makes Time

It’s the most common excuse for exercise: “I just don’t have enough time!” But what if you were told that exercise makes time? What hocus pocus is this, you might ask. Well, it’s not as counter-intuitive as you might think.

According to the American Council on Exercise, a good workout has a positive impact not only on the body, but on the brain, meaning a few laps on the treadmill should speed up your progression through that to-do list.

The science behind this is that our brains are made up of neurons which transmit chemical signals between each other. Exercise triggers a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which promotes the growth of these neurons and the transmission of chemical messages. As a result, it boosts our cognitive abilities.

You may have heard of the two neurotransmitters that are most affected by exercise – serotonins and endorphins. Exercise releases serotonin from the brain which, according to Harvard Health, promotes an improved state of mind, making stress easier to handle. Sweating releases endorphins, which helps relax the mind. On top of that, exercise also reduces our levels of cortisol, which is the body’s stress hormone.

And apparently the benefits aren’t only immediate. As we age, our body generates fewer and fewer brain cells (a process called neurogenesis). However, early research in mice reported in the Journal of Applied Physiology suggests that exercise can help prevent that slide. In other words, by the time we reach our 50s, those of us who exercise should have more brain cells than our more sedentary peers — giving us a big leg up in the workplace.

The news on the impact of that treadmill session just keeps getting better though. According to John Hopkins Medicine, exercise even helps reduce fatigue. Research tells us that moderate aerobic exercise helps us fall asleep more quickly and sleep more soundly. This allows the brain and body to better rejuvenate thus reducing the effects of fatigue. It’s no wonder companies are building gym facilities into the modern office environment – which makes you think about how working from home might negatively impact our overall well-being.

So how much exercise is enough? It turns out you can turn down the switch on that treadmill if need be. A study at Stanford University found that walking boosted creativity by up to 81 percent with some participants. In fact walking, yoga, low-intensity aerobic exercise and strength training are all highly recommended. Five days that encompass 30 minutes of exercise (even if those days are broken down into three mini-sessions of ten minutes each) should do the trick, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.

While lifting weights and other anaerobic workouts are also important, using the aerobic-based equipment at The Gym Pod (perhaps ramped up with some feel-good music) is the best way to kick-start those stress-busting physical responses. Take a look at the options available in our smart mirrors to get your heart pumping at its optimum rate. HIIT classes are another great way to keep you moving forward as you power through that 30-minute barrier.
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