A Link Between Exercise and Skin Health – Medical News Bulletin

A Link Between Exercise and Skin Health – Medical News Bulletin

Photo credit: Mikhail Nilov

Exercise helps to nourish skin cells by increasing blood flow that carries oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Besides the conventional benefits, studies have revealed a link between skin health and exercise.

Deep skin benefits of exercise

At a molecular level, skin cells contain mitochondria. Mitochondria are organelles that produce the energy necessary for a cell’s survival. The mitochondria play an important role in making a chemical known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is needed for the processes that restore skin cells, provide healing and rejuvenation, and aid in decreasing wrinkles.1 

With age, ATP production declines, and the skin’s metabolic function slows. During exercise, ATP is continuously synthesized and broken down. This action stimulates several mechanisms, including glucose uptake into cells and improvements to mitochondrial function.2  

While aging is inevitable, how we age can be managed. Evidence leads to the idea that exercise may have a positive effect on aging by improving impaired mitochondrial function.2 

Exercise and wound healing

A comparison of older age athletes and adults who lived a sedentary lifestyle highlighted that those who were athletes had better skin conditions.Apart from maintaining and improving skin health, exercise promotes wound healing. 

Older exercisers (athletes) were examined for the wound healing rate compared to non-exercisers.4 The speed at which wound healing occurred in the non-exercise group was considerably slower; The athletes had a higher rate of recovery.4 

Further studies examined exercise as an intervention for adults with venous leg ulcers.5 The exercise group, in conjunction with standard care, was shown to produce more positive outcomes relating to quality of life and skin repair.5

Exercise prevents skin injury

Exercise improves the skin’s ability to retain moisture.6 Having moisturized skin helps to protect the skin from cuts and other injuries that could lead to infections. 

It was found that after a single high-intensity exercise session, the skin’s outer layer (stratum corneum) had an increased hydration concentration.Furthermore, long-term endurance exercise improved the thickness of the stratum corneum, adding to the penetrability of the skin.6

Exercise for skin health and prevention 

The research discussed demonstrates links between exercise, skin health, prevention from injury, and a higher quality of life. While the studies did not specify one activity over another, a clear takeaway is the importance of incorporating exercise into your lifestyle to maintain and uphold healthy skin.

1. Stout R, Birch-Machin M. Mitochondria’s role in skin ageing. Biology. 2019; 8:29.

2. Hood DA, Memme JM, Oliveira AN, Triolo M. Maintenance of skeletal muscle mitochondria in health, exercise, and aging. Annual Review of Physiology. 2019;81:19-41.

3. Crane JD, MacNeil LG, Lally JS, Et al. Exercise-stimulated interleukin-15 is controlled by AMPK and regulates skin metabolism and aging. Aging Cell. 2015;14: 625-634.

4. Emery CF, Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Glaser R, Malarkey WB, Frid DJ. Exercise accelerates wound healing among healthy older adults: A preliminary investigation. The Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. 2005;60:1432-1436.

5. O’Brien J, Finlayson K, Kerr G, Edwards H. Evaluating the effectiveness of a self-management exercise intervention on wound healing, functional ability and health-related quality of life outcomes in adults with venous leg ulcers: A randomised controlled trial. International Wound Journal. 2017;14:130-137.

6. Oizumi R, Sugimoto Y, Aibara H. The association between activity levels and skin moisturizing function in adults. Dermatology Reports. 2021;13.

This content was originally published here.

Apple Fitness Plus will work without an Apple Watch — here’s how | Tom’s Guide

Apple Fitness Plus will work without an Apple Watch — here’s how | Tom’s Guide

From Monday, October 24, Apple Fitness Plus will be available to anyone with an iPhone, whether you’ve bought one of the or not, Apple has confirmed. 

What’s more, anyone who has bought an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV since September will be eligible for a three-month free Apple Fitness Plus trial. If you’ve never used the service, you’ll be able to sign up for a free month-long trial from Monday.

Anyone running iOS 16.1 in one of the 21 countries where the service is offered will find Apple Fitness Plus fully integrated into their iPhone from October 24. You’ll be able to access the workouts from the middle tab in the Fitness app. iPhone users will have access to the entire service featuring more than 3,000 studio-style workouts and meditations. 

In the Fitness app, iPhone users will be able to see the progress of their move ring — the red ring on the Apple Watch that shows how many active calories have been burned. In the classes, users will be able to see this ring on the screen, as they work to close it during the workout. You can also expect onscreen guidance, an interval timer, and estimated calories burned, based on your height and weight. (That’s information you provide Fitness when setting up the app.)

What are the best Apple Fitness Plus classes to try? 

One of the benefits of Apple Fitness Plus is it’s variety. There are HIIT, yoga, meditation, core, strength, Pilates, dance, cycling, treadmill, rowing, and cooldown classes on offer. When you log into the service, you’ll be able to see new workouts, Artist Spotlight collections (these show workouts with playlists from chosen artists) and the Time to Walk and Time to Run episodes. 

There’s a lot to choose from and as a fitness editor, one of my favorite things about Apple Fitness Plus is the ability to add workouts to the My Library section of the app to save, download, and do later. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out the Collections, which have a series of workouts based on a goal. 

a photo of an apple fitness plus workout on the iPhone

Whatever you’re into, whether you work out at home, or in the gym, if you’ve got an iPhone, you can get one of the for free for a month, and that’s worth shouting about. 

After the free trial, Apple Fitness Plus is available as a subscription service for $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year and can be shared with up to five other family members. Read our to find out more.  

What if you’ve already got an Apple Watch? 

If you’ve just bought the Apple Watch Series 8 or the Apple Watch Ultra, or any of the best Apple Watches, you’ll also be eligible for a three-month free trial of Apple Fitness Plus. 

Unlike Apple Fitness Plus for iPhone users, the metrics on the screen will be slightly different, showing the progress of all of your rings, and your heart rate. One thing to note is that if you do own an Apple Watch, if you choose to do an Apple Fitness Plus class without your watch, the Move ring on the screen will not affect your Move progress on the Watch. For now, Apple is keeping those two things separate. 

What else is new? 

If you’re already an Apple Fitness Plus user, not much will change, but there are some new things coming to the app on Monday. On October 24, a new Taylor Swift Artist Spotlight will launch — new workouts featuring music by Taylor Swift will appear across workout types including Core, Cycling, Dance, HIIT, Pilates, Rowing, Strength, Treadmill, and Yoga.

Apple is also launching a Yoga for Every Runner workout program, featuring US ultramarathon runner, Scott Jurek. The 10-minute yoga classes, led by Fitness Plus trainer Jessica Skye, are designed to act as a warm-up or cooldown for runners. “Whether people are new to running or seasoned veterans, I hope these 10-minute workouts in this program on Fitness Plus will help users feel more confident and comfortable incorporating yoga into their training and recovery,” Jurek said. 

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Why You Are Struggling with Overeating – Dr Becky Fitness

Why You Are Struggling with Overeating – Dr Becky Fitness

Do you feel like you cannot make weight loss progress because every attempt is ruined by overeating? There are emotional and physical drivers that keep your desire to eat alive, even after your stomach feels full. This blog post reveals those factors and provides you with a practical game plan to comfortably get eating under control.

Why You Overeat & Solutions– At-A-Glance

Why You Are Struggling with Overeating [Video]

In this video, you’ll learn…

1. There’s No Guilt for Wanting to Keep Eating

First, it is good to establish that feeling guilty about wanting to eat is never appropriate. Food is necessary for your survival, and your body knows it, so it will always encourage you to eat.

It doesn’t care if you are carrying an extra 10, 50, or 100 pounds on your frame; it wants you to get energizing food inside today. To ensure you do eat, your body releases hormones and chemicals that make you want food. Therefore, you should never feel guilty for wanting to eat; it’s natural. Equally as important, you should never be mad at your body for feeling hungry; it’s just trying to help you keep going.

You’d be correct to say that humans are programmed to eat or even overeat. Overeating was a survival need for our early ancestors because food was scarce. Today, it can feel like an obstacle to healthy living. But, it is only an obstacle when you have no reason to stop eating. 

2. You Have No Reason to Stop Eating

As I mentioned at the start of this article, there are emotional and physical drivers that sustain your desire to keep eating. To gain control, you want to have a clear reason to stop eating when you’re full and a simple strategy to move away from food. 

Figure Out Your Why

To tackle the emotional side of this equation, you’ll want to figure out your big “WHY.” In other words, why do you want to stop overeating? This is a bit of a tricky question because there are things that the majority of us want.

We want to lose weight. We want to be healthy and we want to have more energy. Those are all valid reasons and great quality of life factors. Yet, despite being factual, they may not have that “it factor” that really motivates you to take action and stop eating once you’re full.  

Sometimes it’s easy to find that motivating reason or that really big why. For instance, dieting is a lot easier to tolerate if you have a wedding in two weeks. That wedding is a “Why,” but it’s a single moment. If you have a lot of weight to lose, you need a “Why” with staying power. When you find it, it’s a game-changer, and there’s an exercise you can do right now to uncover it. 

Grab a tablet and pen. Have a seat and write down 15 reasons you want to stop overeating. Coming up with 15 is important because it pushes you past those first few reasons that pop into everyone’s head, so your mind digs deeper, revealing that thing that resonates with you and makes you want to take action.  

To give you an example, I want to share a few things a member of one of my programs uncovered when she did this exercise. She wrote, “I want to be comfortable having my picture taken. I want to stop looking pregnant at 55 and I want to be able to sit on plastic lawn furniture without fear.”

These are things that secretly bothered her. They weren’t things that she wanted to share with friends or family openly, but they impacted her happiness. When she could dig deep and find these hidden “whys,” she found motivation that turned into action.

Use a Stopper

You now have the emotional reason to stop eating, but what about the physical, hormonally-driven desire to keep eating? For that, you need an item, drink, or activity that allows you to separate from food. I refer to these eating disruptors as stoppers. 

Stoppers are effective because they immediately disrupt your desire to keep eating. One way they do this is by changing the taste in your mouth. This would be true for minty things like chewing gum and brushing your teeth. Other items, like hot tea, take a long time to sip, giving your brain time to get the message that you are full. 

3. You Attempt to Change Everything At Once

A common tendency that can backfire on you when you decide it’s time to rein in overeating is attempting to change everything at once. Here again, you can put some blame on your hormones. 

When you find yourself ready for change and set a goal, that feeling of “let’s do this” fills you with excitement and motivation. According to Dr. Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist, those positive feelings are due to a rush of hormones, specifically dopamine and serotonin, that produce a feel-good sensation throughout your body.

In other words, starting a goal feels great, and motivation is so high that you decide to tackle how much you eat and how often you eat and how much you exercise, and anything else you can think of. Unfortunately, this hormone high doesn’t last. When it decreases, so does your motivation. 

This motivation dip doesn’t mean something has gone wrong with you or your plan. It is simply the way your physiology works. However, if you are unaware of this phenomenon, you may falsely accuse yourself of being a failure and binge eat. 

The solution is to remember that while you may see room for improvement in multiple areas of your health, you don’t need to change everything at once. Also, it is normal to experience uncomfortable feelings when you are trying to change your relationship with food.

So work with your body, and you’ll find that there is a logical sequence of things to change that will ultimately lead to controlled eating. The first thing to focus on is your food choices because that, over time, will help you reach a state of fat adaptation. 

4. You’re Not Fat Adapted

When you are fat adapted, fat loss goes on autopilot, and hunger and cravings decrease without effort. The only downside is that you must allow your body time to adjust. 

Anyone can get fat adapted by changing their food choices and eating schedule in ways that encourage stable blood sugar levels and continual low insulin levels. When this state is reached, your body prefers to get its energy from fat rather than carbs. This is a real advantage in controlling hunger because carbs are used up much faster than fat.

You don’t store a lot of carbs or glucose in your body. Therefore, when you are carb-adapted, you need to keep eating because your body wants the carbs for fuel. When you are fat adapted, that fat can come from the foods you eat or from the body fat you carry, so hunger is not an immediate need to fill. In fact, when you are fat adapted, you notice that hunger loses its urgency, and you can comfortably stretch out periods between eating.  

Fat adaptation occurs when you have restricted your carbohydrate intake enough to induce an increase in fat burning. If you struggle with overeating, remember that you don’t want to change everything at once. So, you don’t need to go from a poor diet to a strict, very low carb or keto diet overnight.

If you are new to a reduced-carb diet, keep your daily carbohydrate intake below 125 total grams, and then step down your intake until you see the signs of fat adaptation, such as easier fat loss, sustained energy, mental clarity, and less hunger and cravings. These changes come about because the fuel you need to get through your day is always available, coming from stored body fat.

Your body is an engineering marvel but often has child-like demands. When you struggle with overeating, you feel like the refined carbs that you crave do nothing for you but make you crave more and more of them. But, you can break this cycle. 

Remember that your body can rely on different nutrients for energy. Specifically, it can burn free fatty acids and ketones derived from fat or glucose derived from carbs (even junk food carbs). If your body is accustomed to running on glucose, it will try to coax you into eating more of it by screaming at you with carb cravings, just like a kid in the toy store throwing a tantrum because you said no to the toy. 

Fortunately, there is a game plan to stop overeating. First of all, never feel guilty about wanting to eat. We are programmed as humans to eat. But you can tweak that programming to give your body what it needs and get what you want. Start by digging deep to figure out why you want to stop overeating, use stoppers to draw that line, and focus on your food choices, working toward a fat adapted metabolism. 

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!

About the Author

Becky Gillaspy, DC, is the author of The Intermittent Fasting Guide and Cookbook. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991. 

This content was originally published here.

Does exercise help arthritis? Here’s what the experts say | Live Science

Does exercise help arthritis? Here’s what the experts say | Live Science

The question ‘does exercise help arthritis?’ is one you may have found yourself pondering if you or someone you love suffers from this painful condition. 

Arthritis is incredibly common, affecting about 1 in 4 US adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (opens in new tab) (CDC). Around half of people with arthritis experience some form of physical limitation due to their condition. While the risk of developing arthritis increases with age, it’s more common in less active or inactive people.

While the symptoms of arthritis can present a barrier to some forms of physical activity, experts agree that exercise is one of the most important ways to reduce pain, manage symptoms and even improve mobility. 

Here, we take a closer look at the research into exercise and arthritis and speak to a medical expert to find out how exercise affects arthritis, which physical activities to try, and which ones to avoid. 

Does exercise help arthritis?

Some days it may feel like a lot of effort to get moving if you have arthritis, but staying active can help to improve the symptoms of this common condition. According to the American College of Rheumatology (opens in new tab) (ACM), regular exercise can: 

The CDC (opens in new tab) also recommends physical activity for people with arthritis, reporting that it can improve mood and quality of life — something that research supports. 

A randomized controlled trial in 2018 that was published in Arthritis Care and Research (opens in new tab) found that aerobic and resistance exercises improved physical fitness in older adults with rheumatoid arthritis, increasing their aerobic capacity, endurance and strength. 

Man using resistance bands at home

A systematic review in the Journal of Advanced Nursing (opens in new tab) went so far as to say, “For RA patients, any exercise is better than no exercise.” In addition, a 2018 meta-analysis in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (opens in new tab) looking at children and adolescents with juvenile idiopathic arthritis found that physical activity improved their quality of life and daily function and reduced pain.

“Regular exercise is one of the best ways you can help to reduce arthritic pain and keep your joints in good working order,” says Dr. Robin Clark, a medical director of Bupa. “Along with improving your fitness levels and helping to improve your muscle strength, exercising may help you to feel better generally.” 

Dr Robin Clark

Robin qualified as a doctor in 2004 and has over 15 years of clinical and management experience in the UK’s national and private health sector. He started his career as a general medical practitioner, before working as a clinical director at a US healthcare company and later as a director of a national health service locality group. He joined BUPA, a private healthcare provider, in 2015.

Best exercises for arthritis

“Before starting any exercise, it’s wise to speak to a specialist to explain your symptoms,” says Clark. “They may give you some advice about exercises to try, or they may recommend a more structured program to help specifically with your symptoms.”

Clark recommends trying out a variety of exercises based on advice. This will help you find out what you enjoy. In addition, he suggests physical activities that incorporate the following.


Exercises where you use a weight, or resistance using your own body, will help strengthen your muscles and joints and reduce bone loss. They may even reduce the need for certain medications, such as corticosteroids. The ACM (opens in new tab)recommends using a weight or resistance with enough intensity to challenge the muscles without increasing joint pain. 

Handheld weights, the best resistance bands (opens in new tab), or even swimming can improve muscle strength. 

Man using weight in gym


These exercises increase your heart rate and make you get a little out of breath. Low-impact aerobic activities, like cycling (either outdoors or on one of the best exercise bikes (opens in new tab)) walking, or swimming, can help reduce joint strain and improve heart, lung and muscle function. They can also reduce the risk of obesity, improve sleep and boost your mood. 


These exercises stretch out your muscles and help to keep your joints moving well. The ACM (opens in new tab) suggests golf, tennis, yoga and Tai Chi to improve your range of motion (ROM) and flexibility. Using one of the best foam rollers may also improve your ROM.

Woman doing yoga at home

Body awareness

The ACM (opens in new tab) also recommends body awareness exercises. These include physical activities to improve posture, balance, joint position sense, coordination and relaxation. Tai chi and yoga incorporate these elements. 

Exercises to avoid

Exercises that involve both feet off the ground, while jumping for example, put too much pressure and strain on the joints and increase pain rapidly. 

High-impact, vigorous exercises such as aerobics and running may also affect the joints.

Whatever you decide to try, the CDC (opens in new tab) has a helpful checklist of S.M.A.R.T. tips to ensure you stay safe during exercise:

“If you encounter pain, that’s your body’s way of telling you that you’re doing too much,” says Clark. “It’s also useful not to force yourself to exercise that you don’t enjoy. Exercising is about finding something you want to stick to that keeps you fit and well.” 

This article is not meant to offer medical advice and readers should consult their doctor or healthcare professional before adopting any diet or exercise regime. 

This content was originally published here.

Maintenance, an often forgotten but important exercise goal

Maintenance, an often forgotten but important exercise goal

When we think of fitness we tend to focus on results.

Whether it’s weight loss, getting stronger or healthier, fitness and exercise are focused on some sort of result. Something you can tick off and say: I did that.

What many of us forget about is maintenance. We focus so much on achieving, pushing to accomplish more and more rather than understanding the importance and value of maintaining a given result. Maintenance, while not seeming like a goal, is actually what we should all be striving for long term, as it relates to our health and fitness goals.

Sometimes life gets in the way and prevents us from continuing our normally scheduled programmes. However, we can let that demotivate us completely or we can accept that life isn’t normal right now and we should adjust the goalposts.

Instead of stressing out because of schedule changes or other issues preventing you from reaching your main workout goals, try to focus on maintaining your current body weight until you are able to return to your normal routine.

Striving for maintenance isn’t bad. It doesn’t mean that you lack motivation. It is a natural transition to approach once we have been exercising and/or dieting for a while. Maintaining is actually far more challenging for many of us to achieve. We all know that if we dramatically reduce the amount of calories we eat, weight loss will occur, and if we heavily increase our calorie intake, we will gain weight. However, knowing what to do to just maintain your weight may be challenging.

So use this time to get more acquainted with your body’s needs. What do you need to do to maintain the level of fitness you are at right now? What habits are working for you? Which ones are not? What portion sizes are making you feel satisfied but not stuffed? What food combinations are giving you energy and taking away food cravings? What exercise programme are you able to complete on a regular basis to help maintain your current workout goals?

Don’t worry if you don’t feel like you are progressing fast enough right now. It’s totally normal to feel that way. Channel your energy on maintaining where you are at this moment. Maintenance should always be the long-term goal. Just use your current situation to apply it, even if you are not where you want to be. Yet.

Keep maintaining and B-Active For Life!

• Betty Doyling is a certified fitness trainer and figure competitor with more than a decade of experience. Look for B. ActiveForLife on Facebook

This content was originally published here.

Why Every Introvert Should Have an Exercise Routine

Why Every Introvert Should Have an Exercise Routine

Your exercise routine can be the perfect excuse for some alone time.

As an introvert, one of the many comforts of my day is having a routine. Or, more specifically, my routine. For me, this involves waking up as early as I can (some days are better than others) — and, after a few hygiene and hydration steps, I exercise. 

As a father, husband, and corporate employee by day, it’s not always easy to stick to my routine and ensure I have my exercise time. But, over the years, I’ve learned how vital it is. Afterward, I emerge sweaty and physically tired, yet rejuvenated and ready for my day. And as each day comes to a close, I look forward to my exercise time the following day. It’s a self-care ritual I won’t skip.

Why is it so important? Am I some kind of exercise freak? No, definitely not. But it is ingrained in my routine and I know I draw so many benefits from it. If I don’t do it, I know I’ll regret it, and my day will not feel right.

Exercise Is Subjective — It Doesn’t Have to Mean Going to a Crowded Gym

In this article, I want to share with you some of the ways that you can benefit from planning some exercise time each day. Some of these benefits took longer for me to realize than others, but I think all of them offer great rewards to the “quiet ones” among us.

One other important point to note: The term “exercise” immediately conjures up many wild and wicked images to the imaginative mind. Pain and suffering in a crowded gym. Toned abs. Restrictive diets. Group fitness classes. Banish all these images from your mind. 

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Exercise begins with finding something that suits you — your personality, style, schedule, budget, and resources. It can be going to the gym, exercising at home, using bodyweight movements, yoga, pilates, walking, running, hiking, a sport of some kind, and the list goes on. The key is to move and to find something that is you. That’s it.

Why Introverts Should Have an Exercise Routine

1. It’s the perfect excuse for some alone time — an excuse that even extroverts will accept.

If you’re among family and friends — and often feel like you are the lone introvert in a group of extroverts — I completely understand. Many a time, I have declared to my household that “I need alone time!!” to which they ask “To do what?” When I say I don’t want to do anything, just be alone, I’m met with suspicious looks and a distinct lack of understanding. 

But no one questions my exercise time. And I exercise alone. Using my exercise time as my alone time means, for those around me who may not understand my introvert ways, exercising is a perfectly legitimate activity. This way, they can understand when I disappear to have my workout time. 

In the modern world, it presents as “productive use of your time,” something you are gaining benefit from and something completely “normal” (unlike introvert alone time, unfortunately). But it is alone time for me and time I cherish. 

So if you declare you’re off for a walk, hike, or yoga session (even on your own), you’ll find you’ll face less resistance and fewer questions.

2. Introverts tend to “live in their heads,” but exercise will strengthen your connection to your physical body.

As introverts, we have a very rich and busy inner world — a mind that buzzes all the time. Often, our preference is to use our time to occupy our minds or to immerse it in the things we love. But what about our bodies? Do we have the same connection to our physical being?

Exercise, which in simple terms is movement, helps our introverted selves form a strong bond between the body and the mind. You become more aware of bodily movement, coordination, exertion, effort, fatigue, and yes, pain to some degree (in a good way). Your concept of self expands from the conversations you have in your head to the presence and sensations in your torso, limbs, hands, and feet. (Everywhere, really.) Once you start exercising and feel that energy start to pulse through your whole body, you will be in awe of your sensation of self.

3. Exercise will quiet the swirling thoughts in your head.

Being an introvert isn’t always having calm, soothing moments of peace and tranquility. I know firsthand. I can be sitting by myself in a quiet room and the internal sound of the many thoughts and voices rushing through my head can be overwhelming. And it can be hard to escape what’s inside you. But that’s where I have found exercise to be an amazing tool to help calm my internal introvert mania.

When you exercise, or do any kind of physical activity, you have to put some of your thought and focus into what you are doing. Even seemingly mundane and repetitive activities, like walking or jogging, require a level of focus. This need to focus and direct the mind toward something other than your internal self helps quiet those voices and buzzing thoughts.

Often when I exercise, I mull through problems, ideas, and thoughts in my head — and work through them as I am working out my body. So much so that I keep a notebook with me when I am exercising so I can jot down thoughts and ideas as they come to me. I find exercising gives me that moment of clarity, and when I finish, my mind is quiet.

Do ever you struggle to know what to say?

As an introvert, you actually have the ability to be an amazing conversationalist — even if you’re quiet and hate small talk. To learn how, we recommend this online course from our partner Michaela Chung. Click here to check out the Introvert Conversation Genius course.

4. Exercise helps clear cortisol, the stress hormone, from your system.

Have you ever had those really stressful moments, when there is a significant impending problem you need to deal with, a big mistake you’ve made, or something very challenging you need to face? It’s a terrible, gut-wrenching feeling. But what else do you notice in those moments? Do you sweat? Does your heart race? Do you start pacing or fidgeting? Start burning lots of energy? It’s a lot like exercising.

In fact, intense exercise also releases cortisol, the stress hormone, into your body. This is the same hormone you release when you’re stressed about other everyday things, like work, a relationship, or finances. But here’s the difference: With exercise, once you stop, the cortisol starts to drop and is replaced by the release of endorphins in the body, nature’s feel-good hormones. With stress, without exercise, the cortisol can remain in your system for long periods of time and isn’t replaced by endorphins.

Research, too, shows that exercising is a great tool to help combat stress, as well as anxiety and a negative mindset. Instead, it can help improve self-esteem and cognitive function.

I know, if you’ve got a real problem on your shoulders, the last thing you feel like doing are some yoga stretches or going for a challenging hike. 

But do it. 

Not only will the alone time and activity help you think more clearly, but you’ll help your body clear the stress hormones from your system — you’ll get a natural hit of feel-good endorphins. And the physical activity will help you sleep better, too, further bringing your stress levels down.

5. You’ll come to appreciate those quiet, still moments even more.

While we all love our introvert “nothing” moments — those precious pieces of time where we’re reading, researching, thinking, or letting our mind wander, all in peaceful solitude — our bodies need something more. We need to move. The human body was made to move and thrives with movement. While we may take great efforts to guard our mental health, it is vitally important that we take steps to ensure our physical health is equally balanced, too.

Can you still enjoy those quiet days on the couch with your favorite book? Absolutely. But make sure you’ve balanced it with an invigorating, long walk through nature, up and down a few hills, keeping a good pace all the while. But, yes, still enjoy your peace and solitude. When you eventually get back to your couch and book, you’ll feel a hundred times more rejuvenated and alive — you’ll probably even appreciate the book, cozy couch, and your comfort a whole lot more.

Introverts, did I miss anything? Feel free to add more benefits of exercise in the comments below!

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This content was originally published here.