Be Active – Exercise has been shown to increase mood and has been used successfully to lower rates of depression, stress and anxiety. Improved self-esteem has been shown to be a key psychological benefit of regular physical activity. When we exercise our bodies release hormones called endorphins. These hormones are the ones that trigger a positive feeling in the body and enhance our mood.
When children are being physically active their motor skills are being developed and they are also taking part in social interaction. Similar to adults we know children need physical exercise every day not only in order to stay fit but also to develop core strength, fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. These skills can help children when they are learning to read and write and also when they start school. If the body is fit and ready then the mind can excel. Exercises or games such as hula-hooping, jumping rope or skipping and simple obstacle courses can help to develop these crucial skills and are easy to put into practice at home. Exercise may prove to be a simple but important way to enhance children’s cognitive development.
Being active can also help protect against cognitive decline in the elderly. There is a growing body of research that suggests that staying active as we age is good for the brain. Some studies have shown that older adults who didn’t take part in moderate to high levels of exercise had a greater decline in cognitive processing speeds.
Discovering a physical activity that you enjoy and one that more importantly suits your level of mobility and fitness can help you not only physically and mentally but can also enhance your well-being.
Take a look at our Lifestyle Exercise page for ideas to get fit and keep fit. We will have articles on all sorts of exercise including walking, dancing, cycling, gardening, playing games, football, swimming the list goes on.
Read Part one here