Exercise is good for you. It is a mantra we hear all the time but what evidence is there to back up the claim?
Well, for one week only, the Kelsey Kerridge fitness team is going to get scientific on you. We have discovered, with the help of the American Council on Exercise, some studies that provide the evidence to back up the claim that fitness and exercise can help you get/stay healthy.
The truth is out there
There are links to each of the pieces of research so you can make up your own mind. But, there is no doubt there is a body of evidence out there that weights heavily in favour of an active lifestyle. The positive impact can be seen in both physical and mental benefits.
First up, the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. Here, researchers found evidence that regular exercise has been associated with a more effective cardiovascular system. It is also linked with a lower risk of heart disease. Even low impact activities such as Yoga can have a positive effect on cardiovascular health. The article adds: “There appears to be a linear relation between physical activity and health status, such that a further increase in physical activity and fitness will lead to additional improvements in health status.”
Evidence of improved memory
The second piece of research we are citing here is the claim that aerobic fitness can help improve memory.
This research is particularly aimed at older people. However, it is applicable across the age ranges. It is never too early to start looking after the grey cells in your brain. The Journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism published a study carried out at McMaster University. It found that older adults who participated in regular high intensity interval training (HITT), experienced up to 30 per cent improvements in short term memory. The study included adults between 60 and 88 who exercises three times a week for 12 weeks.
Exercise v Cancer
A team of researchers at the University of British Colombia published guidelines on how to exercise with cancer. It is widely thought that there are many benefits of exercising to people with cancer. However, it is not completely understood just how exercise influences the human body as it is fighting this horrible disease.
In general, the guidelines suggest cancer survivors perform both aerobic and resistance exercise for at least 30 minutes, three times a week.
Dr Kristin Campbell, the study’s lead, says: “Exercise has been regarded as a safe and helpful way for cancer survivors to lessen the impact of cancer treatment on their physical and mental health. But the precise type and amount of exercise to treat the many different health outcomes related to cancer treatment hasn’t been clear.”
The doctor adds: “When working with cancer survivors it is important to understand the unique needs of the individual client in order to create and implement a personalised exercise programme built around the continued treatment plan, client goals, daily energy levels, and availability.”
Mental health benefits from exercise
When it comes to mental health, there is a growing body of evidence that exercise is hugely beneficial. The American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology suggests that exercise can support mental health and reduce the risk of depression. Research has shown that exercise changes the levels of neurotransmitters that can affect mental health. In particular, this study looked to see if decreasing muscle mass in older people would affect the ability to use exercise as a treatment for depression. The study produced evidence that demonstrated that adults over 65 who took part in high intensity workouts experienced mental health benefits over a 12 week study period.