How Exercise Affects the Body
Exercise is more than just a way of getting thinner, stronger, or more attractive. Exercise is a vital factor in good health. Our bodies need exercise in much the same way they require essential vitamins and minerals. One can even think of exercise as a required “nutrient” for the genetic expression of health and homeostasis. In short, it is completely impossible to experience total health without regular exercise.
Health Benefits of Exercise…
- Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out. These chemicals can actually make exercise addictive for some people, and they start craving it. There is no healthier addiction than reasonable daily exercise.
- Exercise, like all movement, burns calories. The longer and more intense the exercise, the more calories you burn, and the easier it is to keep your weight under control.
- You’ll look better and feel better when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
- Regular physical activity can help prevent or manage high blood pressure. It also tends to boost high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol while decreasing triglycerides, keeping your blood flowing smoothly by lowering the buildup of plaque in your arteries.
- Exercising consistently can help prevent type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer.
- Physical activity delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. In fact, regular physical activity helps your entire cardiovascular system work more efficiently. This results in more energy!
- If you have trouble falling and staying asleep, exercise may make a difference. A regular exercise regimen can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. However, don’t exercise too close to bedtime, since you may be too energized to fall asleep.
Types of Exercise…
- There are four main types of exercise, and each offers specific health and fitness benefits.
- Strength/resistance training involves using your muscles against added weight or your own body weight. This type of exercise improves muscle and bone strength. Since muscle mass burns more calories even at rest, strength training is very helpful with weight management.
- Flexibility exercises and stretching help joint and muscle flexibility. This will increase your range of motion and decrease the risk of injury.
- Aerobic activity, or cardiovascular exercise, engages the large muscles in your legs to make your heart and lungs work harder than usual. This type of exercise improves endurance and stamina, promotes heart health, and burns calories for weight loss.
- Balance exercises help maintain balance and coordination. This makes injuries less likely and can be especially important for the elderly.
- Although there are many types of exercise and many opinions on what techniques work best for various health, fitness, and weight loss goals, all the experts agree that the best kind of exercise is the kind that you actually do on a consistent basis.
- It’s okay to start slowly. If you’re not used to adding exercise to your day, start by taking a short daily walk or lifting some weights while watching TV. You may find yourself excited to add more as you discover how rewarding it can be.
- It’s best to aim for at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 5 times a week, but experts agree that it’s also okay to break that up into 10-minute mini-workouts. Studies show that you will still reap benefits.
- If you track your steps with a pedometer, 10,000 steps a day is recommended for healthy adults. This goal may not be sustainable for some groups, including older adults and those living with chronic diseases. However, this number is probably too low for children, an important target population in the war against obesity.
- If your health is a high priority, exercise should be an automatic priority. Find a workout or walking buddy, set exercise appointments for yourself, or set up a healthy competition with your family, coworkers, or classmates. Whatever you do, get moving!
- A New Paradigm http://blogs.mercola.com/sites/vitalvotes/archive/2009/07/13/a-new-paradigm-exercise-as-a-necessary-nutrient.aspx
- Types of Exercise http://www.improving-health-and-energy.com/types-of-exercise.html
- Exercise: 7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise/HQ01676
- Slide Show: Balance Exercises http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/balance-exercises/SM00049
- What is Cardiovascular Exercise? http://www.ideasforwomen.com/health/fit-5sp-cardio-1.php
- Physical Activity for Everyone: Guidelines: Adults http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/adults.html
- How Many Steps/Day Are Enough? Preliminary Pedometer Indices for Public Health http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14715035