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Entrepreneur calls for Work Out to Help Out scheme

Midlands leisure entrepreneur Mo Chaudry – owner of Adventure Mini Golf at Star City – says gyms and fitness centres need to be among the first wave of businesses allowed to reopen after lockdown.

In his latest blog, he says: “Last year, the Government gave a big financial helping hand to the hospitality trade with its Eat Out To Help Out scheme, enticing the public back into pubs, restaurants and cafes.

“This time, I’m backing a campaign for a Work Out To Help Out programme instead, which I believe has much greater long-term benefits for us all. Because not only would it give a financial lift to thousands of businesses in the leisure sector when they need it most, it has huge physical and mental health benefits too.

“I’ve already signed the petition, set up by Health Club Magazine editor Liz Terry, along with nearly 200,000 others, and would urge you to do the same. You’ll find it here: https://lnkd.in/dPJfxjs

“To me, this is an absolute no-brainer. Gyms, health clubs, leisure centres and swimming pools are all essential tools for safeguarding the health of the nation, and this needs to be recognised.

“I’m not just saying this because I have a vested interest in the sector – although I clearly do – but because there is both scientific and anecdotal proof that exercise, diet and healthy living really does make a difference. For example, it can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and help us to just lose a few of the pounds we might have added during lockdown.

“But the physical benefits are just one piece of the wellbeing jigsaw. For many, it’s the mental health impact of Covid-19 which has left the deepest scars. Speak to any of our expert instructors at M Club, or one of the Pulse Fitness clubs around the country, and they’ll explain how exercise and activity helps with your mind, and your psyche.

“Regular exercise can improve your mood, reduce stress levels, raise self-esteem, improve confidence, and eliminate some of the most common symptoms associated with depression.

“Several recent studies suggest that whether you lift weights or go for a run, working out has the potential to reduce anxiety and improve overall mental health. They also point to the fact that exercising can help make you feel happier — and in some cases, pretty quickly.

“I don’t know about you, but I find that usually within 20 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise I tend to experience what the experts call a ‘mood-enhancement effect’. And this is because, as well as combating stress at the time, exercising can help us deal with future stresses by ‘biologically toughening up the brain’ through a chemical called endorphine.

“The British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that doing moderate exercise several times a week is the best way to keep the mind sharp, particularly if you're over 50.

“Thinking and memory skills are most improved when people take cardio vascular exercise for the heart, lungs and muscles on a regular basis, which helps with blood flow and energising the body and mind - even among those who already show signs of cognitive decline. And with the number of dementia cases continuing to rise, this is more important than ever.

“The theory is that through exercise the brain receives a greater supply of blood, oxygen and nutrients, as well as a growth hormone that helps the formation of new neurons and connections.

“In a variety of brain tests, studies have found evidence of aerobic exercise improving cognitive abilities, such as thinking, reading, learning and reasoning, while muscle/resistance training, like using weights, had a significant effect on memory and the brain's ability to plan and organise.

“So what should we take away from all of this? Firstly, that exercise really does have the ability to keep the mind youthful, and that it’s never too late to start. Secondly, that we should all be exercising regularly, both to look and feel at our best and to maintain a positive mindset.

“And thirdly, that if you do Work Out To Help Out it’s not just the gyms and fitness centres who will be feeling the benefits . . .”


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