Beat burnout with burnout coach Leanne Spencer

Exercise: empowering through movement

It won’t surprise you to read that exercise is the cornerstone of my Rise Method™.   Appropriate levels of exercise and a healthy, balanced, tailored diet are vital to good health, and I strive to help my clients recognise that and learn to make those things part of their daily lifestyle.

Here are some of the main benefits that physical exercise brings:

Mental health:

  • Generates endorphins (the ‘feel-good’ hormones)
  • Generates norepinephrine (which can moderate the brain’s response to stress)
  • Generates dopamine (which can help rebalance you after other dopamine-dependencies)
  • Boosts brain function by creating new brain cells (neurogenesis)
  • Boosts creativity and prevents cognitive decline
  • If outdoors, opens up access to fresh air and (potentially) increases levels of vitamin D3, melatonin and serotonin

Physical health:

  • Healthy heart and lungs
  • Strengthens muscles, tendons, joints and ligaments
  • Increases energy
  • Helps with weight management (even walking should not be underestimated)
  • Improves posture
  • Reduces risk of chronic diseases
  • Improves sleep patterns and helps to retune circadian rhythms
  • Generates feel-good hormones (see below)

Cardiovascular benefits

Exercising regularly will induce changes to your cardiovascular system. ‘Cardio’ relates to the heart, and ‘vascular’ to the blood vessels, so cardiovascular benefits will therefore affect the heart and blood.

Predominantly aerobic training, such as circuits, jogging or boxing for example, will lead to an increased size of the heart (cardiac) muscle, which means your heart will be able to pump more blood around the heart – this is known as increased cardiac output, defined as the amount of blood your heart can pump with each contraction multiplied by the amount of times it can beat per minute. Cardiac output improves significantly with increased fitness levels.

Your resting heart rate will also come down as you get fitter. Your blood vessels will also become larger, and you will develop greater capillarisation, the net result of which will enable your body to carry more oxygen to the muscles when you exercise. After a relatively short period of regular exercise your blood pressure becomes lower, and you actually increase the volume of blood in your body too.

Respiratory benefits

Exercising regularly helps increase the functional capacity of your lungs, so they become stronger and able to deliver oxygen into the bloodstream and remove carbon dioxide more effectively as you get fitter. Working aerobically for intense periods will specifically develop your lung capacity, and enable you to train for longer periods as you get fitter.

Metabolic function

Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) will increase as you get fitter. BMR is the amount of calories your body consumes when you are at rest. So after an exercise session, whatever you’re doing, you’ll be burning more calories while you are sitting still than you would have prior to exercising. In essence, your body becomes more efficient whilst at rest which is great, but it also becomes more efficient whilst exercising. You will also reduce body fat more efficiently, and decrease the risk of developing insulin resistance and improve your glucose tolerance – vital for the prevention of type II diabetes.

Muscular changes

Aerobic, as well as strength training, will develop improved muscle tone depending on what you want to achieve. Lifting weights, or resistance training as it’s usually termed, can help strengthen your ligaments and tendons, and significantly improve your bone density and bone strength. This helps ward off conditions associated with getting older such as osteoporosis. There are also positive neural and biochemical factors associated with resistance training.

Leanne Spencer is an entrepreneur, TEDx speaker, author of the Amazon bestselling book Rise and Shine: Recover from burnout and get back to your best and Founder of the Rise Method® and Bodyshot Performance Limited. Connect with me @riseshinemethod or Facebook.

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