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Wellness

Body, mind and soul

Heartache, illness and physical wounds are a bummer. The emotions and physical symptoms they bring with them are largely out of our control. There is something we can manage though: and it’s how we move. Because physical activity is a one-size-fits-all solution that can help you recover better, and faster!

A woman balancing on large stones

How does physical activity help with wellness?

Mentally, moderate-intensity physical activity helps us regulate our emotions and recover from stressful events faster.1 It also reduces the time we spend dwelling on negative thoughts,2 freeing up valuable brain power to tackle our day.

Likewise, moderate-intensity physical activity can help us get back into tip-top physical shape. It contributes to a healthy immune system,3 which can help with everything from healing wounds to fighting off colds and preventing cancer.4

Physical activity helps relieve symptoms of or prevent multiple chronic diseases, including heart disease, arthritis, some cancers and Type 2 diabetes. Aerobic exercise even revs up blood flow to the skin, delivering oxygen and nutrients that help wounds heal faster.5

Exercise can even alleviate side-effects of cancer treatment,6 including fatigue, muscle weakness and physical functioning!

Here’s how:

Remember that during light physical activity, you can talk normally. During moderate-intensity exercise, you should be able to talk but not sing your favourite song:

  • Start with walking and be sure to get the green light from your health-care practitioner before beginning any kind of a physical activity routine.
  • When you’re ready, consider upping the intensity with low-impact activities like cycling or aquafit.
  • If you’re healing from something more emotional, try to surround yourself with people in a group sport like pickleball.

References

  1. BERSTEIN & MCNALLY (2016). ACUTE AEROBIC EXERCISE HELPS OVERCOME EMOTION REGULATION DEFICITS. COGNITION & EMOTION, 31(4), 834-843.
  2. MAYO CLINIC (2018). DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY: EXERCISE EASES SYMPTOMS. RETRIEVED FROM https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression-and-exercise/art-20046495.
  3. HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL. (2018). HOW TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM. HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL. RETRIEVED FROM https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system
  4. VIANA ET AL. (2014). EVIDENCE FOR ANTI-INFLAMMATORY EFFECTS OF EXERCISE IN CKD. JOURNAL OF AMERCIAN SOCIETY OF NEPHROLOGY, 25, DOI: 10.1681/ASN.2013070702.
  5. EMERY ET AL. (2005). EXERCISE ACCELERATES WOUND HEALING AMONG HEALTHY OLDER ADULTS: A PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION. JOURNALS OF GERONTOLOGY, 60(11), 1432–1436.
  6. MOCK ET AL. (1997). EFFECTS OF EXERCISE ON FATIGUE, PHYSICAL FUNCTIONING, AND EMOTIONAL DISTRESS DURING RADIATION THERAPY FOR BREAST CANCER. ONCOLOGY NURSING FORUM, 24(6):991-1000.