Even One Exercise Session Counts

March 06, 2014

You probably know that exercise is not the magic bullet when it comes to weight loss. Even if you exercise every day, there's no substitute for the significant part of the weight loss equation that involves eating. However, exercise - or movement - has important benefits, and research is pointing to even one session of exercise as being able to provide a move towards more positive health. However, even one work-out session can have important benefits. While more activity is certainly better, here are 3 benefits you should get from just a single exercise session:

First, it can improve your mood. When we exercise, our brains release different feel-good neurotransmitters - including endorphins, which are the most commonly cited explanation for the so-called "runner's high." Seratonin is also released, which is well-known for its role in mood and depression.

Second, it can even induce a type of DNA change. A recent study showed that among healthy but inactive adults, just minutes of exercise had genetic effects in muscle cells. We know that we inherit our DNA, but it has been found that lifestyle factors like exercise can play a part in "turning on" certain genes. This is called gene expression. Exercise appears to affect! gene expression for metabolism and strength.

Are you having trouble focusing? Even as little as 10 minutes of exercise has been shown to improve concentration and focus. The surge of blood to the brain when you begin activity kicks brain cells into high gear. You likely will feel more alert during your workout, and more focused right after.

Most of us don't have time for long workouts every day, and although the CDC recommends 2.5 hours of moderate exercise per week, it's good to know that even if you don't reach that level, every bit you can do is beneficial. Additionally, a recent study on bariatric surgery patients also highlighted the benefits of fitting in exercise. It found that patients who participated in just an hour of moderate-intensity exercise per week experienced fewer symptoms of depression. This level of exercise was associated with 92 percent lower odds of treatment for depression or anxiety among adults with severe obesity. You can read more about the study here.