Exercise is almost like a secret antidote to many of life's ailments. From depression to heart health and even libido--engaging in a regular exercise routine can improve virtually all aspects of life and help you live longer! Here are seven ways exercise can enhance your health:
Whether cardiovascular or strength training, exercise can boost your metabolism and help shed pounds because it expends calories, which is just what the body needs to maintain or lose weight. Exercise increases muscle activity. To have metabolically active muscles, you do not need to have large muscles, just active ones. The more your muscles move, the more they burn calories, even after the workout. Both cardiovascular and weight training provide this benefit.
Mental HealthPhysical activity has been shown to have a remarkable impact on mental health. This is because exercise is one of many ways to relieve stress and stress management is a key factor to achieving good mental health. Here are a few ways exercise aids your mental health:
- Since brain chemistry responds positively to exercise, staying physically active can prevent depression, reduce stress, and make you feel more relaxed. Choosing a brisk walk instead of time in front of the television will help you manage tension.
- Research shows that increased circulation of blood to the brain from exercise improves cognitive functioning. Not surprisingly, people who exercise are more productive at work and are quicker with answers. The risk of Alzheimer’s disease and senility are reduced in people who exercise regularly. So if you are having trouble concentrating or working out a complex problem, a quick jog around the block might do you a world of good.
- Other studies show that people who exercise fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly than those who do not exercise. Exercise actually increases your energy for most of the day, so exercising right before bed maybe is not the best idea.
Cardiovascular HealthThe heart is a muscle and exercise makes the heart and lungs more efficient, strong, and resilient. Blood and oxygen flow increase during exercise and forces the circulatory system to move blood through the body. The heart and lungs are responsible for managing the extra exertion, which makes them both stronger and more efficient.
Prevention of Chronic Disease
If there is a history of high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and certain types of cancer in your family, regular physical activity is as important in managing and preventing symptoms as medications.
Improve Quality of Life
Studies report that people who exercise have better moods, sex lives, interpersonal relationships, and health than those who do not exercise. In nature, bodies are supposed to stay active. People who move more report feeling better overall. Exercise can also improve your body composition, body image and thus self-esteem.
Some research has indicated that regular exercise boosts the immune system by causing the blood to circulate more freely. It can reduce the frequency of flu, colds, and illness. However, too much exercise without proper recovery can stress your body out and reduce the function of immune system instead.
Any weight-bearing activity will help strengthen bones by causing muscle fibers to pull on them. Strong bones are especially important as you age and grow.
- Exercise: 7 Benefits of regular physical activity. Mayo Clinic. 2011. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise/HQ01676
- Exercise and immunity. MedlinePlus. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007165.htm.
- Hillman CH, Erickson KI, Kramer AF. Be smart, exercise your heart: exercise effects on brain and cognition. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2008;9:58-65.
- How regular exercise benefits teens. WebMD. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/benefits-of-exercise.