”I was tired when I returned from work, my head was aching. Too much stress. I got home, crashed on the sofa and gulped a painkiller, the headache was gone”. This was an experience one of my client, Ashish shared with me. It is not a one off story, as our dependence on medicines has increased exponentially. From painkillers to antidepressants, we are gulping more medicines than ever before. However, what we do not realize is that these medicines come with many unwanted affects which interfere with the various bodily processes in the long run.
What if there was a “Magic Pill” which would keep you energetic, on your toes and free of pains, aches and depression. Above all, it comes with no side effects. The interesting thing is, that the “Magic Pill” is free, and you do not need a prescription for it either. It’s the pill called, exercise.
Walk, run, jump, swim, dance, cycle, do whatever you like because the pill comes in many shapes and sizes. You might ask, what’s the fuss about exercising? What does it do more than increasing your heart rate and making you sweat? Why should you care?
Not only does exercise makes us feel better by reducing muscle tension and boosting endorphins, but it also helps the brain function at it’s best. However, I confess that I lied when i said that there are no side effects, because there are some. Your heart and lungs get conditioned for dealing with stress, and you also build some muscles in the process :). Not too bad, right?
All of us evolved from our hunter gatherer days where movement was an essential part of life. Basically, we are born to move, but problems started happening once we stopped moving. Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression are a result of lack of movement, and exercise in our daily lives. If you are still searching for reasons to exercise, following are a few.
1. A natural painkiller: Exercising leads to production of endorphins which dull pain, and make us feel happy and satisfied. Don’t just believe what is written here, but see for yourself. Go for a run and see how you feel after that. Not only will you be in a happy state of mind, but will be more energetic. The “Magic pill” is at work.
2. Antidepressant: The next time you are feeling low and depressed, drop everything you are doing, and indulge in any form of exercising or go play a sport. You will surprise yourself with the results. Exercise works as an antidepressant. The antidepressant effect of exercise is due to elevation in levels of 3 important neurotransmitters; dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine.
Norepinephrine: Wakes up the brain, and improves self esteem.
Dopamine: Boosts motivation and attention.
Serotonin: Effects moods and impulses.
3. Strengthens the cardiovascular system: Exercise strengthens our heart and lungs thereby reducing our resting blood pressure. The increased blood flow during exercise reduces hardening of the brain arteries.
4. Regulates blood glucose: High blood glucose does not only create complications for a diabetic but also increases the risk of developing alzheimers disease later in life. Regular exercise increases the levels of insulin like growth factor 1 (IGF1) which regulates insulin and hence blood glucose.
5. Boosts the immune system: Our body’s immune response depresses with age and stress. Exercise helps in strengthening our immune response by increasing the production of antibodies which help us fight against infections.
Regular exercising has the capability to change your life for the better, and the choice is always yours. Spending 30 minutes everyday on your body and hence the mind will do wonders. Just take the “Magic Pill” and the magic will happen.