- Part 2 in our 'Boost Your Mood' series
Every single part and system of your body benefits when you exercise – unless you’re exacerbating an injury of course – but even calling it ‘exercise’ can be enough to put you off doing it. If you’re on the start of a health and fitness journey, it might motivate you to know some benefits that you gain the very moment you start to move.
Circulation is a key protector of the body. Without a good flow of blood to your organs, the different systems of the body cannot get all of the nutrients, oxygen, or immune cells that they need to function at their best.
Think of your organs as shops and factories, and the bloodstream as the delivery trucks on the roads. If the roads are blocked, or the trucks drive slowly and don't go all the way to their destination, then eventually those shops and factories run out of supplies, which will make you a very unhappy customer indeed!
Moving your body means that your muscles expand and contract. This stimulates the heart and lungs to pump harder which improves circulation. the contraction of the muscles also helps blood to move along the vessels.
When circulation is good in your body, it's also good in your brain, which gives your mood a lift as you begin to feel more awake and ready for anything.
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Deeper breathing is associated with lowering levels of chronic inflammation and giving you a sense of calmness and control.
While vigorous exercise (think sprinting or HIIT workouts) will increase the rhythm of your breathing as well as the depth of each breath, gentle-to-moderate exercise - like a leisurely e-bike ride with a good level of e-assistance - will help you reach a breathing sweet spot, where every breath is deep, but isn't overly quick.
Deeper breaths can signal your nervous system to calm down, which lowers your stress levels. If you're out on an e-bike ride and feel like your breathing is becoming rapid, simply increase the assistance level.
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Balancing the hormones in your body is like taking charge of your email inbox. Hormones are your body's messengers but when you have too much of any of them, it's a bit like a Spam attack on your inbox.
Cortisol is often labelled a 'stress' hormone and is produced by your body throughout the day. It's really useful to your body when you need to take action. It can give you a quicker heartbeat and breathing rate to get your ready to tackle something that needs your full attention.
However, if cortisol is constantly leaking into your system, this eventually runs you ragged. You can't operate on 'alert' all the time.
Neuroscientist Loretta Breuning advises that a flood of cortisol can eventually be stemmed after an hour of unstressful activity such as exercise. She writes, "Your body eliminates cortisol in about an hour, so if you do something fun for an hour, the threatened feeling will be gone. Exercise is fine as long as you enjoy it."
Take it from us and hundreds of our customers, that an hour's e-bike ride is a brilliant stress-reliever, especially when you do it surrounded by nature.
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Muscle movement can stimulate the release of your body’s own painkillers allowing your body to enter into a restful state in which is more likely to heal.
Movement activates the part of your nervous system involved in relaxation and more 'gentle' activities like resting and digesting. After a good stretch, your body also releases pain-killing endorphins and endocannabinoids which can improve your mood.
Professor of Psychiatry Hilary A Marusak, Wayne State University writes, "[Our research] found that exercise reliably increases levels of the body’s endocannabinoids – which are molecules that work to maintain balance in the brain and body – a process called homeostasis. This natural chemical boost may better explain some of the beneficial effects of exercise on brain and body."
The human body has an amazing ability to produce helpful substances and stress-free muscle movement, like e-biking can help that process along.
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All movement in the body creates a wave of electrical activity in your brain and your brain absolutely loves it, and the good effects of exercise on the brain are the subject of a whole raft of books written in the past few years including Peter Walker's "The Miracle Pill" and Wendy Suzuki's, "Healthy Brain, Happy Life".
Exercise not only improves how existing brain cells (neurons) interact with each other - which results in less brain fog for you - but it can also stimulate new brain cells to be made thanks to the increase in a substance called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor).
BDNF has been described as 'fertiliser' for the brain by author and renowned psychiatrist John J. Ratey, MD in his book "Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain" and makes your thoughts faster, more creative and ultimately benefits your mood.
Ready to spread 'fertiliser' on your own brain? Start with your own e-bike!
You may also be interested in:
- The Nature 'Vitamin' - Part 1 in our 'Boost Your Mood' series
- Yes, I can! The Dopamine Hack - Part 3, 'Boost Your Mood' series
- Making a Scene…in a good way - Part 4 in our 'Boost Your mood' series