Dan Harrison

Exercise and its benefits

March was a bad exercise month for me. Apart from walking around the campus at School, I did very little. I used the excuse of increased Covid-19 meetings and limited time, but in reality, I was kidding myself. I could have found the time, but I chose not to, and took the easy option. No gym, no runs along Sedbergh’s beautiful tracks.

I go in waves with exercise – it’s all or nothing. I will either exercise every day or not at all. It has always been that way. As a teenager I hated training but loved match days – winning was everything. As I become older (and balder) and team sports proved harder to access (or selected for!) I took up running, and for the last 18 years I have had so much joy from it.

Anyway, back to March – I was grumpy, tired and irritable. April began and I decided to drag my unconditioned body back outside for a run every day. Almost immediately I have felt the benefits and felt that I have been more cheerful, and I think I have been much more productive working (remotely). So why is this?

One scientific study showed that workday exercise, not only improves well-being but participants noted a 72% improvement in time management and workload completed on days when they exercised. I am not sure that I improved 72%, but you get the idea.

An exercise routine is proven to give you more energy throughout the day. Most of your cells contain certain components called mitochondria, often referred to as the cells “power plant”. Mitochondria produce the chemical that your body uses as energy, known as ATP. Physical exercise stimulates the development of new mitochondria within your cells, meaning that your body will be able to produce more ATP over time. This gives you more energy to exert yourself physically, but also means more energy for your brain, boosting your mental output.

So, assuming we don’t end up in total lockdown, put on your running gear (the hardest step) and get out there and enjoy feeling better and working more effectively. Stay safe and good luck!

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