Physical exercise is an integral constituent of a healthy lifestyle. Aid our overall health in more than one way; exercise is a tried and tested method of keeping the mind and body in top shape. Regardless of the condition in which one is in, every individual should engage in some form of physical exercise to remain healthy. For the best results, it is advised that one follows an exercise regime that best complies with their age and overall health requirements.
Some people live with the misconception that physical activity should only be to lose weight, become leaner, or increase muscle mass. In reality, exercise benefits you every day. From sleep quality to energy boost to improved memory, exercise is the key to living a healthy and balanced life.
How does Exercise Benefits You?
Following is a list of exercise benefits that can help you live a happier and healthier life.
1. Blood Pressure Buster
Exercise helps lower blood pressure by explicitly targeting deposited plaque in the arteries. Plaque deposition contributes to hypertension. When the body is subjected to physical activity, blood vessels widen, allowing the blood to flow more easily through them, decreasing blood pressure.
2. Reduces Risk of Diabetes
Diabetes is quickly evolving into a worldwide public health crisis. As of 2018, more than 500 million people worldwide have been affected by Type 2 Diabetes. Two of the most prominent risk factors associated with the development of diabetes are obesity and sedentary lifestyle choices. What is a better way there to tackle these than with exercise?
Physical activity helps regulate blood sugar levels and increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin. It improves the body’s ability to metabolize glucose effectively, thereby lessening one’s chances of developing diabetes. Additionally, exercise burns calories which help contribute to weight loss.
3. Kicks Fat to the Curb
Due to a conjoined outcome of sedentary living, unhealthy food choices, and a lack of knowledge, many people are now categorized in the overweight and obese category. Obesity directly affects one’s expected lifespan and overall quality of life as it predisposes an individual to a whole new array of illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, etc. Therefore, reaching your ideal weight should be a top priority if you wish to keep yourself healthy.
When it comes to weight loss, an important measure that every individual must consider is their body mass index or BMI.
BMI is a measure of your overall metabolic status. To ensure healthy living, it is crucial to have a properly functioning metabolism. Exercise increases the body’s metabolic rate and works by swapping body fat with fat-free tissues. Thus, it is advised for people to lose weight through regular exercise and maintenance of a proper diet. The more you exercise, the greater the amount of body fat you will burn and the more weight you will lose.
4. Aerobic Power Training
Aerobic capacity can be defined as the body’s ability to work at its maximum capacity by allowing oxygen to reach the tissues. Each individual has a different aerobic capacity. Studies suggest that people lose 1% of their aerobic power every year. Research claims that exercise and training can play a critical role in reducing these losses. Whether short-term or long-term training, exercise can help increase a person’s aerobic power by boosting their stamina and improving their body’s oxygen carrying capacity.
5. Enhances Bone Strength and Resilience
Exercise helps keep the bones healthy and strong. As we age, our bodies age with us. One such age-associated manifestation is the loss of bone mineral strength. With every successive year, the human body loses a small percentage of its bone mineral strength on average. Exercise plays an integral role in maintaining bone health by subjecting the bones to specific stresses that improve stamina and endurance.
Resistance training involves strenuous activity such as lifting weights and is ideal for amplifying bone strength. Although modifiable depending on one’s age, health condition, and overall strength, the key to attaining significant benefit from it is building your stamina. Start slow and gradually progress to reaching your maximum potential for the best results.
Our immune system protects us from infection, chemical toxins, and stress. Immune senescence is an inevitable reality that comes with aging. However, a certain study claimed that people who reported the most significant reduction in depressed immunity were those who did not exercise.
Additionally, those individuals with a habit of regular exercise exhibited fewer signs of immunosuppression. Even minimal routine exercise has been proved to help reverse some of the damaging outcomes of aging on the body’s sensitive yet intricate and complex system.
7. Fosters More Energy
Exercise enables the body to function with greater efficiency. With increased efficiency comes greater blood flow and thus a greater amount of oxygen to fuel the body’s metabolic needs.
Physical activity releases various hormones and neurotransmitter chemicals that enable the body to feel invigorated. Once you have incorporated exercise into your daily routine, you will observe a change in your body. You will be more productive throughout the day without feeling exhausted, weary, or stressed.
8. Facilitates Muscle Gain
Resistance training, in addition to strengthening bones, also helps increase muscle mass. The tension of the muscles against the bone allows you to reap the maximum benefit of weightlifting. If you do not subject your body to lifting regular weights, studies suggest that you will likely lose your muscle strength at a rate of 1% annually.
This gradual loss of muscle mass with age is called sarcopenia, and it can easily be, if not reversed, significantly reduced with the help of resistance training. Stronger muscles contribute to enhanced aerobic power and maintain a healthy, lean, fat-free body mass.
9. Key to living Arthritis-free
Arthritis is an illness found commonly among the middle-aged and older demographic. As a result of cartilage abnormalities and an outgrowth of bones in the joints, arthritis poses severe difficulties for those affected by it, significantly overweight people.
The best form of exercise to engage in is flexibility training to improve your chances of living a life free of arthritis. Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong, and similar activities contribute to the increased range of movement and fluidity of joints. They keep the joints protected from any damage resulting from overuse and lower the risk of injuries such as torn ligaments and muscles.
10. Better Breathing
Regular exercise can help strengthen the muscles of the lungs by becoming more active. Similar to how we train our body’s muscles to become stronger through consistent practice, in the same way, exercise trains the lung muscles to become stronger.
Physical activity induces greater blood flow, thereby improving the efficacy of oxygen permeating the body cells through its effect on aerobic capacity. It is not uncommon to feel exhausted and breathless in the initial training days after a few minutes. However, with time and practice, there is substantial stamina build-up, and you can go on for much longer than you did initially. This is primarily owed to the enhanced efficiency of one’s breathing capacity.
11. Enhances Sex Drive
Exercise causes the release of hormones and chemicals, namely the most popular ones: endorphins. These chemicals induce changes in the body that manifest themselves in different ways. For instance, endorphins are labeled happy hormones because they alleviate depression and make a person feel more at ease, calmer, and more content.
Like endorphins, physical activity directs your endocrine glands to produce more hormones. These hormones regulate muscle mass increase, resulting in greater stimulation and androgen production. This mechanism enables individuals to maintain a healthy sexual drive.
12. Sleep Cycle Regulation
Research proves that regular physical exercise helps regulate sound sleep patterns and improves the overall quality of one’s sleep. Experts recommend training during the day as physical exertion helps the body keep the circadian rhythm in check. The quality of sleep you experience after a long day of considerable exhaustion is generally more revitalizing.
Sleeping better comes with an array of benefits. Regular and better sleep has been known to lower one’s risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, cognitive impairment, mental health issues, and improved immunity.
13. Mental Health Aid
Mental health is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Physical activity releases endorphins which help alleviate feelings of anxiety and stress. Workouts are an excellent distraction as they direct our focus away from the thoughts that bother us.
This distraction is exceptionally beneficial for those suffering from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc. Coupled with a boost of energy, exercise helps one feel rejuvenated and revitalized, allowing them to step out of their emotional slump. Working out also makes one more interactive and social, contributing to improved self-esteem and self-confidence.
14. Mood Lifter
People who exercise have a reduced risk of developing depression owing to the release of neurotransmitters called endorphins. Exercise is one of the behavioral treatments often prescribed to people struggling with mental health issues. Its effect on the regulation of serotonin and norepinephrine relieves the feelings of sorrow and enables one to feel happier.
Its impact bears considerable significance as one research study requested a group of men and women who exercised regularly to either continue exercising or stop exercising for two weeks. Those who stopped exercising experienced measurable increases in negativity, irritability, and general unhappiness.
15. Memory Booster
Many studies have deduced the effect of exercise in enhancing one’s memory. Physical activity helps neurons to maintain their shape, particularly in the areas of the brain concerned with memory, namely the hippocampus, i.e., the brain’s memory center.
One does not necessarily have to engage in strenuous exercise to reap its benefits. Anything as simple as a daily casual stroll can contribute to enhanced memory. Furthermore, exercise lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This helps improve one’s mood by alleviating anxiety and thus aiding enhanced memory.
Experts also claim that exercise amplifies intelligence due to enhanced brain blood flow. This increased blood flow increases mental activity in the brain’s memory centers, thereby contributing to heightened intelligence.
16. Lowers Predisposition to Dementia
A healthy workout helps suppress one’s susceptibility to developing dementia. According to a research study that spanned over four decades, individuals with a high level of physical activity were at a 52% lesser risk of developing dementia than those with a history of minimal physical activity. The study concluded that exercise plays an important role in developing vascular dementia, the second most commonly occurring variant of dementia.
17. Prevents Skin Damage and Aging
The body’s largest organ, the skin, is prone to significant damage owing to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress transpires when the body cannot repair the damages caused by free radicals. The body’s antioxidant defenses fail to compensate for these damages affecting organs, including the skin. While intense physical exercise can lead to oxidative stress-induced damage, routine exercise in moderation increases the body’s protection by stimulating the production of natural antioxidants.
Similarly, the enhanced blood flow that accompanies exercise induces skin cell adaptations that can retard skin aging. Exercise subsequently results in sweating and sebum secretion, which possesses antibacterial and lubricating properties that keep the skin from drying. (Dry skin is more prone to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkling as compared to normal or oily skin.)
Exercise Benefits – Conclusion
It is important to prioritize yourself amidst the workings of our fast-paced world. Start working out today and notice a positive change within you.