In this article we will be talking about the benefits of exercise, but before we get into that let us consider what exercise is.
What is exercise: Exercise is defined as any movement that makes your muscles work and requires your body to burn calories. There are many types of physical activity, including swimming, running, jogging, walking and dancing, to name a few.
Being active has been shown to have many health benefits, both physically and mentally. It may even help you live longer.
Lets get back to the subject matter – Benefits of exercise!!!
Exercise offers incredible benefits that can improve nearly every aspect of your health from the inside out. Regular physical activity can increase the production of hormones that make you feel happier and help you sleep better. It can also improve your skin’s appearance, help you lose weight and keep it off, lessen the risk of chronic disease and improve your sex life.
Whether you practice a specific sport or follow the guideline of 150 minutes of activity per week, you will inevitably improve your health in many ways (Source).
What are the health benefits of exercise?
- Help you control your weight – Along with diet, exercise plays an important role in controlling your weight and preventing obesity. To maintain your weight, the calories you eat and drink must equal the energy you burn. To lose weight, you must use more calories than you eat and drink.
- Reduce your risk of heart diseases – Exercise strengthens your heart and improves your circulation. The increased blood flow raises the oxygen levels in your body. This helps lower your risk of heart diseases such as high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, and heart attack. Regular exercise can also lower your blood pressure and triglyceride levels.
- Help your body manage blood sugar and insulin levels – Exercise can lower your blood sugar level and help your insulin work better. This can cut down your risk for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. And if you already have one of those diseases, exercise can help you to manage it.
- Help you quit smoking – Exercise may make it easier to quit smoking by reducing your cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It can also help limit the weight you might gain when you stop smoking.
- Improve your mental health and mood – During exercise, your body releases chemicals that can improve your mood and make you feel more relaxed. This can help you deal with stress and reduce your risk of depression.
- Help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age – Exercise stimulates your body to release proteins and other chemicals that improve the structure and function of your brain.
- Strengthen your bones and muscles – Regular exercise can help kids and teens build strong bones. Later in life, it can also slow the loss of bone density that comes with age. Doing muscle-strengthening activities can help you increase or maintain your muscle mass and strength.
- Reduce your risk of some cancers, including colon, breast , uterine, and lung
- Reduce your risk of falls – For older adults, research shows that doing balance and muscle-strengthening activities in addition to moderate-intensity aerobic activity can help reduce your risk of falling.
- Improve your sleep. Exercise can help you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
- Improve your sexual health – Regular exercise may lower the risk of erectile dysfunction(ED) in men. For those who already have ED, exercise may help improve their sexual function. In women, exercise may increase sexual arousal.
- Increase your chances of living longer – Studies show that physical activity can reduce your risk of dying early from the leading causes of death, like heart disease and some cancers.
- It Can Make You Feel Happier – Exercise has been shown to improve your mood and decrease feelings of depression, anxiety and stress.
- It produces changes in the parts of the brain that regulate stress and anxiety. It can also increase brain sensitivity for the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which relieve feelings of depression (Source).
- Exercise can increase the production of endorphins, which are known to help produce positive feelings and reduce the perception of pain (Source).
- Exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms in people suffering from anxiety. It can also help them be more aware of their mental state and practice distraction from their fears (Source).
- It Is Good for Your Muscles and Bones: Exercise plays a vital role in building and maintaining strong muscles and bones. Physical activity like weight lifting can stimulate muscle building when paired with adequate protein intake. This is because exercise helps release hormones that promote the ability of your muscles to absorb amino acids. This helps them grow and reduces their breakdown (Source).
- Exercise helps build bone density when you’re younger, in addition to helping prevent osteoporosis later in life (Source). Interestingly, high-impact exercise, such as gymnastics or running, or odd-impact sports, such as soccer and basketball, have been shown to promote a higher bone density than non-impact sports like swimming and cycling (Source).
- It Can Increase Your Energy Levels: Exercise can be a real energy booster for healthy people, as well as those suffering from various medical conditions (Source).
- Exercise can significantly increase energy levels for people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and other serious illnesses (Source).
- Exercise has been shown to increase energy levels in people suffering from progressive illnesses, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and multiple sclerosis (Source).
- It Can Reduce Your Risk of Chronic Disease. Lack of regular physical activity is a primary cause of chronic disease (Source).
- Regular exercise has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, cardiovascular fitness and body composition, yet decrease blood pressure and blood fat levels (Source).
- It Can Help Skin Health. Your skin can be affected by the amount of oxidative stress in your body. Oxidative stress occurs when the body’s antioxidant defenses cannot.
- In the same way, exercise can stimulate blood flow and induce skin cell adaptations that can help delay the appearance of skin aging (Source).
- It Can Reduce Pain. Chronic pain can be debilitating, but exercise can actually help reduce it (Source). In fact, for many years, the recommendation for treating chronic pain was rest and inactivity. However, recent studies show that exercise helps relieve chronic pain (Source).
- Exercise can help build relationships – Think of what exercising with a partner can do for a relationship, whether it’s with a spouse, a sibling, or a friend you used to go to lunch with once a week. Not only that, but exercise is always more fun when there’s someone to do it with.
- Exercise pumps up your heart – Not only does exercise help fight disease, says Bryant, it creates a stronger heart; the most important muscle in the body. That helps makes exercise – and the activities of daily life — feel easier. “Your heart and cardiovascular system will function more effectively. The heart will build up less plaque. It will become a more efficient pump.” And “when the heart becomes stronger, it pumps more blood per beat, so at rest, the heart rate is lower. It’s not going to have to beat as fast” to expend the same amount of effort. Within only a couple days after you start exercising the body readily adapts to the stimulus it’s getting and it becomes easier. You will feel less fatigue. It will not take as much effort when it comes to breathing. You shouldn’t have as much pain or soreness.
- Exercise lets you eat more – Pound for pound, muscle burns more calories at rest than body fat. So the more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate. And, of course, you also burn calories while you’re actually exercising. All this means that “cheating” with a cookie once in a while isn’t going to take you back 10 steps. “Can you eat anything? No. “But you can afford to enjoy some of the things you really like when you exercise regularly. You can better get away with those things in moderation than you can when you’re not working out.”
- Improves self-esteem and self-confidence since body and mind are improved and strengthened
- Increases sense of self control
- Provides source of pleasure and fun
- Releases anger and negative emotions
- Enhances coordination, power, timing and balance
- Boosts immune system functioning
- Reduces severity of asthma
- Improves functioning of organs
- Can relieve tension headaches
- Can reduce the urge to smoke because the adrenaline rush and stress relief from a brief workout can replace similar feelings smokers get from tobacco
- Causes body to use calories more efficiently
- Can act as an appetite suppressant
- Decreases fat tissue
- Improves physical appearance
- Enhances one’s image and opinion of the body
- Improves bone density and prevents osteoporosis
- Reduces joint discomfort
- Can reduce or eliminate impotence due to increased blood flow
- Prevents or manages type 2 diabetes
- Has a significant salutary effect on fibrinogen levels
- Alleviates menstrual cramps
- Improves athletic performance
- Enhances quality of life
- Improves glycogen storage
- Regulates hormones
- Allows you to overcome illness or injury more quickly
- Can allow for better performance at work
- Allows one to stay independent as they get older
- Can keep health care insurance premiums lower
- Allows for healthy pregnancy
- Provides a healthy break from work
- Reduces inflammation
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Other Health benefits exercise
Given the overwhelming evidence, it seems obvious that we should all be physically active. It’s essential if you want to live a healthy and fulfilling life into old age.
It’s medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have:
- Up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
- Up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
- Up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
- Up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
- A 30% lower risk of early death
- Up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
- Up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
- A 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
- Up to a 30% lower risk of depression
- Up to a 30% lower risk of dementia
Regular exercise has so many benefits; the list here of benefits of exercise is not conclusive as there are lots of other benefits of exercise.