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  • Writer's pictureTroy Goings

Mental and Physical Benefits of Exercise

Writtten by Julie Maginnis

You desire optimal performance and maintaining that during a lockdown can be simple. Do we always strive for excellence? Not really, not all the time, and that’s ok. It’s equally important to be kind with ourselves. Optimal performance can include both striving for excellence and being kind. One way to do both is with exercise. Is there a pervasive attitude that includes punishing your body? Yes. Is that necessary in a time of such great duress? Definitely not. This is a time to embrace goodness, and exercise is very good. For sufferers of myofascial pain, aerobic exercise like jogging can alleviate it, if it is safe for an individual to do so (I’m looking at you torn ACLs) [1]. I used jogging as an example because it’s a vigorous aerobic activity with a low entry cost (pair of shoes and socks) and that can maintain appropriate social distancing. The weekly recommendation for exercise is 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise like brisk walking or mowing the lawn, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity like running. Not only might exercise relieve myofascial pain, but healthy muscles fibers, i.e. exercised muscle fibers, mechanically allow for improved movement of blood throughout the body. And even more additionally, with exercise the body produces more plasma, increasing the total blood volume available. This thinner blood is easier to pump throughout the body, leading to even more efficiency [2]. Is recovery from myofascial pain the only possible benefit to exercise? No, certainly not! Exercise has been proven to reduce levels of stress hormones and other chemicals that increase the body’s inflammatory response [2]. Not only are you left feeling great, but your immune system gets a boost, too! With the safety of public gyms still in question, it’s critical to find an exercise routine to keep you healthy. As I said before, jogging has an easy entry point and likely allows for social distancing measures to be kept. Other aerobic forms of exercise could include swimming (probably in a lake or ocean for now), walking your dog, or doing yardwork. While yoga isn’t technically considered aerobic exercise, that doesn’t mean that all the posture-holding, deep-breathing effort isn’t worth it. Between prolonged periods of sitting and the overall stress experienced at this point in time, the stretching postures of yoga combined with mental discipline give yoga a place of honor in the fitness realm. Please consider an appropriate exercise routine, for your health. 1. Ahmed, Khattab, Haddad, Babineau, Furlan, Kumbhare; “Effect of aerobic exercise in the treatment of myofascial pain: a systematic review.” 14 December 2018 2. Davis, Arany; “Healthy Mind, Healthy Body: Benefits of Exercise.” 13 March 2014

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