You know exercise is good for you, but do you know how good? From boosting your mood to improving your sex life, find out how exercise can improve your life.
The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age, sex or physical ability.
Need more convincing to get moving? Check out these 10 ways exercise can lead to a happier, healthier you.
Builds aerobic power
Your aerobic capacity is your body’s ability to work at maximum capacity by getting oxygen from the air to your body’s tissues. Ordinarily, people lose about 1 percent a year of their aerobic power or, if you’d like to do the math, 10 percent per decade. If you start calculating at the age of 40, this means that people can lose 30 percent of their maximum aerobic capacity by the time they reach age 70.
That’s a lot of unnecessary huffing and puffing. Both long-term and short-term exercise training studies show that you can cut this loss in half so that you’re losing 15 precent rather than 30 percent in that 30-year period. Building aerobic power is your most important reason to exercise.
Combats health Conditions
Regular exercise helps prevent or manage many health problems and concerns, including:
High blood pressure
Type 2 diabetes
Many types of cancer
It can also help improve cognitive function and helps lower the risk of death from all causes.
Maintains immune functioning.
Your immune system is what protects you from infection and other chemical toxins. The immune system also plays a role in maintaining a healthy response to stress (more on this later). Even short-term exercise programs can reverse some of the deleterious effects of aging on this sensitive, complex, and crucial regulatory system which controls so much of your everyday health.
Reduces body fat.
Your BMI, or body mass index, provides an approximate measure of your overall metabolic status. If you’re in the overweight to obese categories now, a regular program of aerobic exercise can help bring your BMI down to normal levels. The good news is that the more you exercise, the more you are able to work off your body fat because muscle “burns off” more calories, effectively speeding up your metabolism.
Builds muscle mass.
Resistance training also builds your muscles. In fact, the tension of your muscles against your bones is what also helps your bones get the maximum benefit of weight lifting. If you don’t engage in regular weight-lifting, you’ll lose muscle strength at the rate of—guess what—1 percent per year. If you do, you can cut this—guess again—in half.
In fact, the process of “sarcopenia,” which refers to normal loss of muscle strength with age, is best reversed by this type of exercise. Keeping your muscles strong also helps you stay more aerobically fit and helps you maintain a healthy lean (or fat-free) body mass.
Aging affects the tissues of the lung in some ways that can’t be changed by exercise. However, exercise can improve your breathing by strengthening the muscles that help your lungs open up to bring in oxygen and compress to push out carbon dioxide.
Exercise also improves the efficiency with which oxygen permeates the cells of your body through its effects on aerobic capacity. While the non-exercisers will have to stop their workout to catch a breath, you’ll be able to push on past them due to this greater efficiency of your breathing capacity.
Boosts your energy.
Because your body is functioning more efficiently, you’ve got more oxygen to fuel your body’s cells. You also feel fewer aches and pains and have greater strength. As a result, you can go about your daily activities feeling less fatigued, stressed, and weary.
Although going to the gym early in the morning or late in the afternoon may feel like the last thing you have energy to do, once you build exercise into your daily routines, these workout bouts will actually seem less tiresome because you’ll feel more mentally and physically capable of carrying them out.
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Improves sex life.
Keeping your muscles active through use helps promote the demands placed on your endocrine glands to produce more hormones. With more muscle mass comes greater stimulation to produce androgens, which help both men and women maintain their sexual functioning.
You are also likely to feel more fit and be more fit, which in turn will benefit your interest in and ability to carry out sexual activity. Your emotional resilience will also be greater if you exercise, which also benefits your relationship health.
People who exercise regularly also have lower risk of depression. Our pill-popping culture tends to emphasize medical interventions for psychological disorders over behavioral treatments. Exercise is one of these behavioral treatments. Aerobic exercise improves your mood by causing your body’s endorphins to kick in.
These are the natural “feel good” neurotransmitters that start to exert their effects after about 20 minutes of training. These regular exercise-related boosts eventually improve your overall mental health over the long term.
Related to exercise’s effects on mood are its effects on your levels of anxiety. As your levels of endorphins increase, your feelings of worry also start to diminish. When you exercise, you refocus your attention from your daily problems to the workout itself. You can gain a fresh perspective on even the most preoccupying concerns in your life by taking an exercise break. When you return to these daily problems, you approach them with renewed energy and even some new ways to figure out solutions.