The Positive Effects of Exercising
In a time when so many things are beyond our control, we have two choices: We can obsess over the things we can’t control, or we can focus on the things we can control. The first option sends our cortisol levels through the roof, causing lots of problems and solving none. The second option gives us agency, kickstarting actions that have positive effects.
Exercise Boosts the Immune System
Research has shown that regular moderate exercise has positive effects on the immune system, helping us shorten the duration of viruses or ward them off entirely. In other words, whether you’re working out in the studio or at home, your barre practice is playing a key role in keeping you healthy.
Exercise Strengthens the Heart and LungsHealthy heart and lungs are ground zero for a healthy body, and exercise is one of the best ways to keep yours strong. When your heart is healthy, the ripple effects are significant: You’ll experience lower blood pressure, your cholesterol levels will be better, and your body will be better able to stabilise your blood sugar. Healthy lungs not only ensure that the rest of our body is getting sufficient oxygen, but they also make us less prone to respiratory illnesses.
Exercise Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation has been shown to be the root cause of many underlying health issues, linked to everything from heart disease to autoimmune disorders. Research has shown that exercise reduces inflammation by lowering levels of a protein called TNF, which triggers it. A recent study found that it takes as little as 20 to 30 minutes of moderate exercise for our bodies’ anti-inflammatory response to kick in.
Exercise Promotes Better Sleep
Ironically, one of the things that’s the most effective at boosting our energy is also instrumental in helping us get a good night’s sleep. Studies have shown that as little as 30 minutes of moderate exercise helps us get more slow-wave sleep—what we often refer to as deep sleep. This is the stage of sleep in which our bodies and brains rest and rejuvenate. What’s more, quality sleep has been shown to make us less likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, which means solid shut-eye doesn’t just help us feel energized—it also helps us stay healthy.
Exercise Reduces Anxiety
Let’s face it, these are anxious times—and that’s all the more reason to get moving, since research has shown that exercise can be instrumental in reducing anxiety. The science behind this is fascinating: When we elevate our heart rate through exercise, we actually change our brain chemistry, resulting in higher levels of serotonin and endocannabinoids, both of which help us feel less anxious.