The physical benefits of taking exercise are almost limitless: it reduces your risk of getting serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease or strokes (by up to 50% in most cases) and helps us maintain a healthy body weight without having to watch what we eat.
And the great thing with exercise is that it’s free medicine. You don’t have to spend a fortune on it (unless you want to go to that savvy gym); going for a run outside- especially when you listen to a good podcast or some up-beat tunes- does wonders. A report in the Guardian last year showed that you don’t even need to do long amounts of exercise to feel the effects: one minute has an impact, even if that’s just sprinting up the stairs.
Doing physical exercise doesn’t just help you get fit or lose weight. It has a marked effect on your brain. Multiple studies have shown it helps memory, improves concentration, boosts creativity and maximises productivity. It can be particularly important for young people who are studying: one research conducted in the Netherlands showed exercise – no matter in what form - helped significantly improve the attention spans of a group of Dutch school children. Exercise is a must if you're embarking on revision or exams - even if it is just a bit of homework - and your brain needs a gentle push in the right direction.
One of the most important benefits of exercise is that it helps overall mood, partly because endorphins are released. "If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented," said health promotion consultant Dr Nick Cavill. In a similar vein, doctors during covid began handing out ‘green prescriptions’ to patients suffering from mental-health problems by telling them to take exercise (even just a walk) outside.