Category Archives: Benefits of Exercise

Fighting the Flu With Exercise

If you have had trouble getting yourself motivated to get up and exercise, we can talk about all of the benefits, but this season, there may be one in particular that might come with a certain extra appeal. When you exercise for at least 2 1/2 hours a week, you can reduce your chances of catching the cold by 10%. That’s just 20 minutes a day according to a study from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

It’s not just about running though, or taking a jog around the block. According to research, you need to put your back into it, really run it out, get vigorous and hard. You should be feeling it, out of breath even to get these kinds of benefits.

Of course, as always, more research is needed to confirm the results. However, there are plenty of other studies that have shown that exercise improves your immune function. The question is just are these researchers right that it has to be higher intensity exercise? There are numerous theories about exactly how this works, but we’re not entirely sure.

If you work out in a gym or otherwise indoors, you may want to practice some extra precautions. Gyms can be filled with more bacteria than you might know, and this can cause a cold more often than not.


The Best Workout To Boost Your Mood

Okay, so I’m the last person you’ll hear calling running a natural antidepressant. It minimizes the serious problems that possibly millions continue to go through every single day. However, when it comes to exercise and all of the extra endorphins running through your body, the mood boost can be quite noticeable. In fact, according to Swedish researchers, muscle may have inherent properties to protect you from feelings of depression and anxiety.

The researchers gathered rats, finding that the more muscle a rat had, the more of an enzyme called KAT that they also carried. According to Jorge Ruas, PhD, the study’s lead author, it converts kynurenine, which is produced by your body when stressed, into an acid that is unable to pass through the blood-brain barrier. This effectively reduces the toxic effects you might see with KAT, short circuiting the signs of depression and anxiety. The more muscle, the more KAT to fight depression and anxiety. They were able to confirm this with human subjects as well.

Of course, don’t go run out and grab a bunch of steroids. We all know that kind of muscle comes at a cost. With more research, some researchers believe that they may be able to use this knowledge to actually create effective antidepressants and drugs that can better cope with anxiety.

The rats were mainly involved in cardio, but Ruas believes any exercise that increases muscle mass would be just as effective. In short, if you’re feeling a little bit blue, hit the gym or go out to the park. When you’re using other treatments for depression and anxiety, it never hurts to give yourself an extra hand. And of course, for more long term differences, work to address the things that are causing you the stress that would produce harmful chemicals in the first place.