Benefits of Exercise / Movement

Brigitte Nowicki

Date: 27 May 2020

By: Brigitte Nowicki

  • Reading time: 40 Mins

Exercise offers incredible benefits for nearly every aspect of your health and wellbeing. With regular exercise you change your body for the better, you improve your health, your metabolism and your moods improve, you reduce your stress levels, you become stronger and you are able to move better, your confidence improves and with all that, your life improves!  Exercise is the one thing that you can do to immediately improve your health and your quality of life, it serves to:

o strengthen your muscles and bones

o strengthen your immunity, which can decrease your risk of illness and infection

o lower your blood pressure, sometimes as much as some antihypertensive medications

o boost the levels of good cholesterol in your blood

o improve your blood circulation

o improve your ability to control weight

o reduce your stress levels

o help you sleep better at night

o boost your energy

o improve your self-image

Health Benefits:

Chronic Disease: Daily physical activity is essential to maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of chronic disease.
Regular exercise has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, cardiovascular fitness and body composition, yet decrease blood pressure and blood fat levels. In contrast, a lack of regular exercise — even in the short term — can lead to significant increases in belly fat, which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and early death.

Research supports the use of HICT (and HIIT) for reducing insulin resistance, which is a contributing factor in the development of type 2 diabetes. Unfit but otherwise healthy middle-aged adults were able to improve their insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation after just two weeks of such training (three sessions per week)

Belly fat and weight loss: Daily physical activity is essential, together with a healthy diet, to reduce belly fat and decrease the risk of developing these diseases.

Core Strength: provides the foundation for movement throughout your entire body, and strengthening your core can help protect and support your back, make your spine and body less prone to injury, and help you gain greater balance and stability.

Joints & Bones: as exercise can place as much as five or six times more than your body weight on them. Bone mass begins a slow decline once you reach adulthood, but exercise can help you to maintain healthy bone mass. Weight-bearing exercise is actually one of the most effective remedies against osteoporosis. As you age your bones can easily become less dense and hence, more brittle — especially if you are inactive.

Muscles: improves age-related decline in muscle mass ie peak muscle mass occurs, on average, sometime during your early 40s. After this, it will begin to gradually decline, eventually leading to changes in your mobility, strength and ability to live independently.

Maintaining muscle mass also plays a role in metabolic and hormone function, which plays a role in your risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Strengthening the muscles around joints not only helps to support, lubricate, and strengthen your joints, but the tug on your muscles and bones created by resistance exercise (like weight training) actually will help to strengthen bones and counter osteoporosis.

Even people with mild to moderate hip arthritis can avoid the surgeon’s knife and hip replacement surgery by exercising. And exercise helps to improve flexibility, movement and joint range of motion as well.

Aging can make our joints and bones more subject to arthritis (inflammation) and osteoporosis (weak bones). Obviously, these two things can lead to injuries and immobility as we age. Lifting weights and most kinds of weight-bearing exercise actually help to manage arthritis pain and create more mobility in our joints.

Pain: A review of several studies indicates that exercise helps participants with chronic pain reduce their pain and improve their quality of life. Several studies show that exercise can help control pain that’s associated with various health conditions, including chronic low back pain, fibromyalgia and chronic soft tissue shoulder disorder, to name a few.

Sex Life & Erectile Dysfunction: Exercise can help improve sexual desire, function and performance in men and women. It can also help decrease the risk of erectile dysfunction in men.

Exercise is crucial to supporting a fast metabolism and burning more energy daily. It also helps you maintain muscle mass and weight loss.

After the age of 35, most adults begin to lose 8-10% of their muscle mass per decade. That means by age 55, you have lost up to 20% or so of your muscle mass—if you aren’t exercising. This means your metabolism—and your ability to burn fat—decreases drastically with loss of muscle. Muscle is one of the most metabolically active parts of our bodies, so losing muscle means our metabolism drops! Think of muscle mass as our ‘engines’, so if you want to boost that metabolism back up, start a weight training program, which revs up our physical engines. More muscle, more ‘horsepower’, more metabolism—and more energy!

The metabolic benefits can continue for up to 72 hours after the workout has been completed, which increases resting energy expenditure.

Exercise is far better than dieting because while dieting, a reduced calorie intake will lower your metabolic rate, which will delay weight loss. On the contrary, regular exercise increases your metabolic rate, which will burn more calories and help you lose weight.

Exercise can go a long way toward “cleaning up” and toning your complexion. As we age, our skin naturally loses its plumping, youthful layer of fat. But if you exercise the right way, you can build up muscle which gives that same effect. In fact, regular physical activity can take about 7 to 10 years off your age. All it takes is a minimum of 30-40 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise five days a week.

In the study, an exercise science professor from Brigham Young University compared the telomere lengths in those who did regular vigorous exercise and those who were sedentary. His conclusion was startling: the more physically active we are, the less our biological aging. In other words, exercise truly does slow down our biological aging clock.

Moderate exercise can provide antioxidant protection and promote blood flow, which can protect your skin and delay signs of aging.

The increased blood flow benefits your brain, allowing it to almost immediately function better. As a result, you tend to feel more focused after a workout. Furthermore, exercising regularly promotes the growth of new brain cells. In your hippocampus, these new brain cells help boost memory and learning. Many of these changes boost brain cell function and protect from diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or even stroke, and ward off age-related decline

According to neuroscientist, Wendy Suzuki, exercise helps your prefrontal cortex which is involved in focus, attention, personality and judgement, to improve and grow, improving your capacity for focus and improving your mood. And what’s more, exercise helps to increase your long- and short-term memory. ncrease your long- and short-term memory.

Exercise actually helps your brain make new brain cells and helps your brain to expand and become stronger. And these benefits are lasting benefits!

Exercise is that one thing that you could do that would immediately improve your mood, your focus and your memory. A single 30-minute workout increases your ‘happy’ brain chemicals of dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline, improves your focus and attention as well as your reaction times.

There is plenty of research validating the value of exercise for the treatment of depression ie regular exercise is one of the “secret weapons” to overcoming depression.

Physical activity improves your body’s ability to use oxygen and also improves blood flow, both of which have a direct effect on your brain. Exercise also increases your brain’s production of endorphins ie the “feel-good” neurotransmitters that gives you the sense of well-being and euphoria that many people experience after exercise.

The mental benefits of aerobic exercise have a neurochemical basis. Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.

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. Additionally, exercise can increase the production of endorphins, which are known to help produce positive feelings and reduce the perception of pain

Exercise can also help take your mind off your worries, by bringing the focus onto your body, rather than your mind. By concentrating on the rhythm of your movements, you experience many of the same benefits of meditation while working out. Also, by focusing on a single physical task can produce a sense of energy and optimism which helps provide calmness and clarity.

Regular physical activity, regardless of whether it is aerobic or a combination of aerobic and resistance training, can help you sleep better and feel more energized during the day ie the energy depletion that occurs during exercise stimulates recuperative processes during sleep

Engaging in regular physical activity increases the energy levels of everyone, even people with persistent fatigue and those suffering from serious illnesses.

Exercise can significantly increase energy levels for people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and other serious progressive illnesses like Cancer, HIV/AIDS and Multiple Sclerosis.

With CFS, exercise seems to be more effective at combating CFS than other treatments, including passive therapies like relaxation and stretching, or no treatment at all.

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