exercise

SHREVEPORT, La. -- The coronavirus pandemic has been the catalyst for a sedentary lifestyle.

Unable to go to work, the gym or participate in other activities has left many on the couch binging streaming TV with unhealthy snacks and sodas. Not only has this caused weight gain, but it has also contributed to depression and anxiety.

Now that the economy is opening back up, many are stuck in that unhealthy pattern with a lack of motivation to get moving.

But exercise is exactly what people need to shed not only the pounds, but the depression, as well.

“It distracts people, takes away a lot of stress. When you exercise you secrete chemicals called endorphins that relieve anxiety,” said Dr. Michelle Chico, a Willis Knighton Health System endocrinologist. “And it also changes your perception to pain. So people who exercise feel really good after they work out. It’s like a runner’s high or a state of euphoria after you exercise.”

Along with contributing to mental wellness, exercise keeps the body young.

“It’s very good for your body because it delays aging. It’s good for your blood pressure. It helps your blood sugars, helps you lose weight, burn fat. It’s good for your muscles, tones your muscles. It’s good for your joints,” said Chico. “It really is beneficial. I highly encourage everyone to exercise because it just makes everyone feel good. Make it a family activity so that everyone has fun while doing it.”

Even simple activities like walking in the neighborhood or at the park are good for your mind, body and soul. So when you are feeling down, instead of grabbing for the remote and a bag of chips, lace up your sneakers and get moving.

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