The Health Benefits Of Exercise
We all know that exercise is good for us. But why is it good for us? Here are some of main benefits explained:
- Exercise improves mood. Whether you need an emotional lift or to let off some steam after a stressful day just 30 minutes of exercise can help. Physical activity stimulates various chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins, and that leaves you feeling happier and more relaxed. Also, if regular exercise is giving you a sense of achievement and helping you feel better about your appearance that will in turn boost your confidence and self-esteem.
- Exercise helps control weight. Exercise can help you lose weight and prevent weight gain. When you're physically active you burn calories, and the more intense the activity and/or the longer you do it, the more calories you burn. Try to enjoy the exercise of your choice as much as you can but don't worry if you can't find time every day. Just get more active throughout your day: use the stairs rather than a lift, walk whenever you can, put more energy into your household chores.
- Exercise combats health conditions and diseases. Are you worried about your health? Not matter what your current weight exercise boosts good cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood). This keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which reduces your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Regular exercise helps prevent or manage a number of health problems, such as stroke, metabolic syndrome (a term for the combination of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity), type 2 diabetes, depression and anxiety, some types of cancer, arthritis, chronic pain.
- Exercise can help your brain health and memory. Exercise will increase the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain, which helps brain health and memory. It can do this in various ways: Stimulating the production of hormones that can enhance the growth of brain cells; Causing the hippocampus, a part of the brain that's vital for memory and learning, to grow in size, which helps older people increase their mental function; Reducing changes in the brain that can cause Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia.
- Exercise helps you sleep better. If you're finding good sleep elusive regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and deeper. Saying that it isn't a good idea to exercise to close to bedtime as you may be too energised to go to sleep!
- Exercise boosts energy. If you find yourself winded by grocery shopping, household chores or a short flight of stairs it may be time to do more exercise. Regular physical activity will improve your muscle strength and increase your endurance. Exercise increases circulation, which helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to all areas of your body and your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. As your heart and lungs improve you'll have more energy to cope with daily activity.
- Exercise can help your skin health. Moderate exercise can increase your body's production of natural antioxidants and increase blood flow, which can protect your skin and delay signs of aging.
- Exercise can be fun and sociable. Exercise can be enjoyable. It helps you de-stress, enjoy being outside, or simply do things that make you happy. Physical activity can also help you connect with family and friends in a fun social setting, as well as make new friends. Take a class or two, walk beautiful countryside with others or on your own, go for a lovely bike ride, try something new, whatever floats your boat.
- Exercise can boost your sex life. Unlikely though this may seem it's true! You may feel too tired, stressed, or unattractive to enjoy physical intimacy. Regular exercise can improve energy levels and appearance, which may in turn boost your sex life. But it goes deeper than that. Regular exercise can enhance arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction.
Exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better, healthier, and to have fun. It's a good idea to do a combination of vigorous and moderate aerobic exercise, such running, cycling, brisk walking, or swimming for at least 2.5 hours/week. On top of that activities such as Yoga and Pilates are great for relaxation and improving strength, especially core strength. And using weights will help with strength too. Space out your activities through the week, and if you want to lose weight you may have to increase your effort.
As ever if you're trying anything new and have an existing medical condition it's good to check in with your doctor.
- CIMSPA Exercise fitness directory (Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity)