There is a temptation to just chillout and let the weekend drift along. That’s fine if you need to kick-back and relax after a hard week at work. But, is this what every weekend looks like? Are you missing out on some awesome experiences? Are you jeopardising your mental and physical health? Has the bucket-list ‘tick’ column remained the same for too long?
Too Old or Too Set in Your Ways to Have Fun?
There are adrenalin-junkies in their nineties. Not many, it’s true, but some of the healthiest and happiest people on earth are those that stay active right up and into what they used to call ‘old age’. In fact, some of these people could give others half their age a run for their money and all because they stayed active and, of course, ate decent food. Lotions and potions won’t ward of illness and ageing, buy staying active will. With all that fresh air and exercise, you’ll start to look more vibrant (better blood flow to the face), your body will also start shaping-up and your mind will become sharper (better blood flow to those little grey cells).
Why Does Activity Make You Happy and Less Stressed?
Within five minutes of taking part in an activity that makes your heart pump faster, you feel happier. Why? Because as you move, your brain releases serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. These are the happy chemicals produced by your body during exercise. Compare that with the groggy, sleepy and often low mood that you get after slouching around all weekend or staring at screens. This also applies to stress. Activity is a proven stress-buster, particularly through long cold and wet winters. I know, it’s often the time you feel like curling up and shutting out the cold cruel world, but it is actually the time you should make the most effort to get out there and get moving. Exercise also slows down the release of stress hormones. High stress hormones increase the chance of illness. Lower stress hormones protect against illness.
Don’t Reach for a Pill
Feeling stuffy; have a headache and you feel you need a pill. Step away from the medication! Drink a shedload of water and get out and do something. It’s a cure your body will love. Also, during the cold and flu season, physical activity can help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways thus reducing the likelihood of getting a cold, flu, or other related illnesses. Pretty impressive results from just moving a bit more.
The Science Bit – Exercise causes changes in antibodies and white blood cells (WBC). WBCs are the body’s immune system cells that fight disease. These antibodies or WBCs circulate more rapidly, so they can detect illnesses earlier than they might if your system is sluggish. Add to that the brief rise in body temperature during and right after exercise, which inhibits bacteria growth and the benefits of exercise are manifold.
Reduced Depression and Anxiety
Evidence abounds to confirm that active people are less depressed than inactive people. And people who were active and stopped tend to be more depressed and anxious than those who maintain an active lifestyle. So, exercise seems to also be important for treating anxiety and depression, and preventing a relapse. If you think about it, it stands to reason. You know how you feel after an activity because you feel great. Keep exercising and you’ll always feel great – in theory anyway.
No More Excuses – Get Active
There are so many activities right on your doorstep. You probably pass these centres of fun-filled activity every day, but don’t know they are there. So how do you find them? Well, you could trudge round to each one and find out what they do, how much it costs and when they can fit you in – that’s if you’re lucky to find them open when you call in. Or, you could do the more intelligent thing and get them all on your phone and pick the one you fancy at leisure. To do that, download the free Geronigo® APP, which has 2108 activity operators offering over 100 different activities in the UK and Ireland that you can book instantly online. Geronigo® have done all the work for you in finding the activities, now all you have to do, is take part.