Five ways exercise can benefit us as we leave lockdown
Published: 8 June 2021
Exercise. If you want to live a healthy life, you’ll want to get as much as you can.
As well as helping with weight loss and keeping fit, exercise is proven to reduce the risks of many health issues, including diabetes, depression and dementia.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, exercise has provided a welcome relief for many people. Our Derby Active team also stepped up and provided an online fitness offer as leisure centres around the city had to closed their doors. As we leave lockdown, we’ve pulled together some of the reasons why it might be good to keep active.
Build a stronger immune system
A strong immune system seems more important now than ever. Our body’s ability to fight infections like COVID-19, is key as we come out of lockdown to prevent us from getting seriously ill. Physical activity increases blood flow, reduces stress, and can strengthen antibodies, which all combine to help our immune cells perform effectively.
Get active again
We’ve spent an unprecedented amount of time at home over the past 14 months, and as a result many people have become inactive. People have been unable to walk to the office or around the shops, and there’s not been much to do in the evenings other than sit at home for most parts.
These levels of inactivity can lead to weight gain and obesity as well as increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Getting back to regular exercise as lockdown ends, no matter how small, can help us reduce these risks.
Improve your sleep
Sleep is an essential function that gives our minds and bodies time to reset and recharge, as well as improving our ability to fight diseases. Sleeping well is as important coming out of lockdown as it was during. Exercising at the right time can not only tire us out but also decompress our mind, helping us get to sleep easier.
Reduce the impact of mental health conditions
Exercise can do as much for our minds as it does for our bodies. Recently, fear of catching COVID-19, isolation, and bereavement can all have had a negative effect on our mental health.
That's where physical activity comes in. It is already used as an alternative treatment for depression, providing a useful coping strategy when dealing with mental issues. The pick-me-up it gives is down to the endorphins - the body’s own feel good chemical - that are released during exercise, bringing our mood up.
Physical activity has been identified as a protective factor against the dementia, with the combined results of 11 studies showing that regular exercise reduced the risk of developing dementia by 30%, and 45% for Alzheimer’s. For those who have already developed the disease it can help delay further decline in functioning.
The gradual ending of lockdown is the perfect opportunity to resume exercise or to start something new. The Department of Health recommend 75 minutes of vigorous, or 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week for a healthy body and mind. For more exercise guidance and advice, head to the NHS website. For the benefits of exercise for our mental health, you can find out more on the Mental Health Foundation website.
If you want to improve your health and wellbeing, why not join our Derby City Council leisure facilities? The Derby Active team provide qualified health and wellbeing advice to everyone, including a free 8 week plan tailored to individuals goals. Find out more visit the Derby Active website.
All Derby Active facilities operate within governments COVID-19 guidance to ensure a safe environment for people to exercise and feel safe.
For those who want to exercise but are not ready to come back into facilities, the Derby Active App has free classes, tips for exercise and lots of information. You can download it now from the Google Play Store or the IOS App store, and you can find more information on the InDerby website. The App is part of InDerby so you can also find out about parks, libraries and Derby LIVE, which can all help support your wellbeing.