Most people who pay attention to their health and wellness are aware that exercise is good for them. However, the majority of the benefits of exercise has recently been on how it helps people lose weight. While exercise does in fact play a huge role in weight loss and fitness, there are so many other amazing benefits of getting more active and exercising more frequently.
Researchers are finding that there are actually two effects of exercise on the body, short-term and long-term. Many people will feel the short-term effects, but stop exercising before they get to experience the long-term effects.
In this article, readers will look at both the short-term and the long-term benefits of exercise. While the types of exercises that people will adopt will differ from person to person, as long as it is done regularly, many of these benefits can be experienced.
Following are top 10 health benefits of exercises:
1. Promotes Healthy Weight Loss
A discussion on exercise can’t be had without pointing out the obvious. As mentioned above, one of the most celebrated results of exercise is weight loss, though this is really the tip of the iceberg.
In recent decades, society has become much more sedentary, going from being inactive at home to being inactive at work. This inactivity combined with the serious problems in diet contribute to weight gain and obesity.
Weight loss is experienced when people burn more calories than they consume on a regular basis. The body burns calories in three different ways. The first is by keeping the body functioning, like keeping the heart beating and the lungs working.
Unfortunately, this burns very few calories. The second way the body burns calories is by digesting food. The problem is, the calories absorbed during the digestion process often counteract the calories burned.
The third and final way the body burns calories is through exercise. What makes exercise superior to the two methods above is that it doesn’t just burn calories, exercise also increases the metabolic weight, helping those who exercise regularly continue to burn energy throughout their days. By combining aerobic workouts, like cardio, with resistance training, people won’t just lose weight, they’ll also build and maintain muscles.
2. Supports Muscle and Bone Health
As mentioned above, exercise doesn’t just help people burn away fat, it also helps them build up and maintain their muscle mass. The process of exercising causes a series of reaction in the body. One of these reactions is that the increased pumping of blood that happens during a workout sends more oxygen to the muscles, providing them with a boost of amino acids.
Over time, this continuous process helps muscles grow while simultaneously protecting them from breaking down. And since people begin to lose muscle mass as they get older, providing their muscles with this support will help them decrease muscle loss, keeping them strong as they age.
A little known fact is that exercise also helps build up the density of bones. Again, as people age, they begin to lose bone density, often causing breaks that take a long time to heal. However, science has found that high-impact exercises, such as running, support a higher bone density, keeping them strong. In fact, these high-impact exercises have actually been found to prevent osteoporosis.
3. Reduces Risks of Chronic Diseases
As the obesity crisis has become more of an issue in the Western world, scientists and health professionals have all said the same thing: Lack of exercise causes chronic diseases. The fact that inflammation in the body, which is caused by not moving and increased insulin levels, has been found to be the source of many chronic illnesses, the need for physical activity becomes more obvious.
Regular exercise improves insulin sensitivity in people while also improving body composition. Even light exercise on a regular basis can help prevent the buildup of belly fat, which is also tied to many health conditions.
4. Supports Cognitive Function
While a lot of the benefits of exercise are tied to the physical changes it provides, there are many mental benefits that come with regular exercise, too. To start, as already mentioned, exercise increases the amount of blood flowing through the body, bringing more oxygen to the brain.
This helps keep the tissue in the brain healthy. The biggest benefit seen with this increased blood flow is that it seems to provide specific support for the hippocampus. The part of the brain that supports memory and learning, the hippocampus has been found to breakdown as people age, which is why it’s more important to give it as much support as possible.
When inactivity causes problems with insulin and an increase of inflammation in the body, the brain is not exempt from the side effects. The structures and functions in the brain are directly affected by inflammation in the body, causing a wide range of problems, including Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia. However, regular exercise combats this oxidative process, decreasing inflammation and supporting the overall functions of the brain.
5. Improves Skin Health
Going back to the physical benefits of regular exercise, no one wants to deal with breakouts or blemishes on their skin. Thankfully, when people adopt the habit of exercise, they will actually see a change in the health of their skin. It’s normal for people to have breakouts when they’re stressed, which causes a series of reactions in the body.
When people get stressed, free radicals in the body start to damage the cells, causing a deterioration of the skin. This oxidative stress can cause breakouts, as well as early signs of aging, discolorations, and even texture problems.
Regular exercise helps improve skin health by reducing oxidative stress in the body. As oxygen gets pushed through the body more and more frequently, the tissue beneath the skin gets the antioxidants it needs to be healthy. Not only will this decrease breakouts and improve the overall texture of the skin, but it will also decrease signs of aging.
6. Boosts Energy Levels
While exercise can feel extremely draining at first, over time it can actually boost energy levels when it is done on a regular basis. Chronic fatigue and general exhaustion is something that many people suffer from these days. However, exercise might be just the solution for these problems.
In several studies, it was found that regular exercise over the course of six weeks alleviated feelings of fatigue, boosting energy levels. The same effects were felt by those suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, as well as other serious health conditions.
7. Promotes Better Sleep
One on hand, regular exercise helps boost energy levels. And on the other hand, exercise also helps people relax and sleep better. Strangely enough, most experts agree that the reason exercise helps with sleep and relaxation is tied directly to body temperatures. Sleepiness and relaxation occurs when the temperature in the body drops slightly.
Unfortunately, for those who aren’t active during the day, the drop in temperature isn’t enough to make a difference. However, when people workout, they are increasing their body temperature, keeping it higher throughout the day. This means that when it’s time to rest or relax, the temperature drop is more drastic and better felt by people, causing them to relax and sleep better.
While regular exercise is beneficial for everyone who wants to get better rest, it has been found to also improve rest for those with chronic illnesses and the elderly. These two groups often struggle the most with getting to sleep at night and staying asleep through the night. With exercise, both groups will reap the benefits. And the good news is that to get these results, any exercise seems to work, either aerobic or aerobic mixed with resistance training.
8. Decreases Pain
Again, one of the biggest problems in the body is that of inflammation, which can result in a wide range of diseases and conditions. Unfortunately, chronic pains is one of the issues tied to increased inflammation.
The good news is that regular exercise has been found to decrease pain levels in participants, even those with chronic pain. Not only does exercise help reduce pain, but it also increases pain tolerance and perception, helping those with chronic pain get real, long-term relief.
9. Stimulates the Libido
When it comes to maintaining a healthy relationship, having good sex on a regular basis is hugely important. Thankfully, exercise can help with that, too. The more people exercise, the more their cardiovascular system improves. As a result, the blood circulation throughout the body improves, going to all the tissues, including those in the genitalia.
With this improved circulation, the genitalia in both men and women becomes more sensitive, improving sexual pleasure. As a result, those who exercise regularly are more likely to have sex more frequently.
There are other benefits for improved sexual performance due to exercise. For one, those who exercise regularly are more likely to be toned and more fit, making them more comfortable in their bodies, which always improves sex. Plus, regular exercise can also improve flexibility, making a sex life more adventurous.
10. Increases Happiness
With all the amazing benefits that come with exercising regularly, it makes perfect sense that studies have found regular exercise improves the happiness in people. Not only does exercise decrease stress and anxiety, it also boosts moods and increases feelings of happiness.
This ties into the cognitive health that exercise helps protect. When people exercise, it changes the brain, making it more sensitive to serotonin and norepinephrine, two hormones that are vital for relieving the feelings associated with depression.
Exercise changes other hormones in the body, too. For example, regular exercise boosts the production of endorphins, which improves moods and decreases feelings of pain. As a result, those who exercise regularly suffer from less anxiety and depression, having overall better outlooks on life.
And the reverse of this is true, too. A study found that when people who exercised regularly stopped for even as little as two weeks, the experienced more negative moods and feelings than they did while exercising.
Top Health Benefits of Exercise Conclusion
For those who want a way to improve their life in a grand fashion, exercising regularly is the perfect start. With regular exercise, not only will people experience better health, but their moods and outlooks on life will begin to transform. And for many, all it requires is a small dedication of three times a week.
All that matters is finding an exercise that people can stick with for the long-term. With all the gyms and workout programs, there truly is an exercise for everyone.