Exercise a wonder drug we need now more than ever

Exercise a wonder drug we need now more than ever

By David Hackett

Co-owner and ACE Trainer 

Few people will argue that 2020 will rank among the most stressful years in a generation. But what we are seeing every day at the studio offers an uplifting contrast to the gloom that has soaked into so many lives: Our clients arrive to our classes in a good mood, and leave in even a better one!
 
It’s not magic; it’s science. Exercise releases chemicals in your brain called endorphins. Endorphins interact with receptors in your brain to trigger a positive feeling – a mild euphoria and a reduction in stress and anxiety -- that scientists say is similar to morphine – without the side effects. These benefits start shortly after your workout, peak for the next two to three hours and continue for up to 20 hours. Regular exercise also stimulates the release of other feel-good brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin.
 
All of which helps explain why, even after the most challenging workouts, our clients look so calm and at peace as they leave the studio, with glowing complexions and easy smiles. As one regular who has battled depression told one of our instructors recently, “I like how these workouts make my body look. But the main reason I come is how happy it makes me. Especially this year, it truly keeps me sane.”
 
The benefits conferred by regular exercise are not just psychological, which helps explain why so many of our regular clients, even those in their 70s, seem to have so much energy day after day. Studies show that regular exercise helps flush bacteria out of your lungs and airways. Exercise also strengthens the body’s delivery of white blood cells, the antibodies that fight disease. Exercise slows the release of stress hormones. And the brief rise in body temperature during exercise can help stop infections before they fester.
 
A study by scientists at the University of Birmingham in England found that regular exercisers between the ages of 55 and 77 had “T” cell activity similar to people in their early to mid 20s. T cells are the group of immune cells involved in fighting infections such as the flu and cancers. People 55 to 75 who didn’t exercise showed no such immunity levels, the study showed.  What’s more, a recent study in the scientific journal Redox Biology showed that regular exercise produces an antioxidant enzyme that may stave off severe respiratory distress that can come from Covid 19 infections.
 
So cheers to you for maintaining your fitness, especially in this year when our mental and physical health is so challenged. You’re doing yourself plenty of good, and it shows.
 
 
 



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