Exercise benefits us in many ways. We feel better both physically and mentally, and it can help us live longer. Just how good is exercise and what specifically does it help improve? It is safe to say that we all want to feel better about ourselves, have more energy, feel stronger and have healthy relationships. One of the ways to achieve this is through exercise. So, let us dive in and talk about the many benefits of exercise.
- It gives us more strength and energy
Have you ever carried a couple of bags of groceries from your car into the house and find yourself panting for air? Do those same bags feel really heavy, but a 5-year-old can pick them up without an issue? Exercising as little as 2 – 4 times a week for only 20 to 30 min at a time can make a world of difference. Exercise stimulates muscle growth and can increase bone density. Exercise increases blood flow that carries nutrients and oxygen to our muscles and organs, strengthening them. As our bodies adjust to this increase in physical activity, our endurance gets better.
- It Improves our mental health and can help stabilize our mood
When we exercise, our bodies release chemicals called endorphins. These chemicals are released by the pituitary gland. They create a feel-good effect and reduce our sensitivity to pain. Exercise improves blood flow to the brain; this helps with the growth of new blood vessels and new brain cells.
- It helps us lose weight
Exercise increases our metabolic rate, which burns more calories and helps us lose weight. Dieting (reducing our calorie intake), actually lowers our metabolic rate which will delay weight loss. Aerobic exercise combined with weight training maximizes fat loss and increases muscle mass. More muscle means less fat.
- IT helps with Heart Health in a few ways:
- Lowers and balances cholesterol levels: Increases our levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and lowers LDL’s (bad cholesterol) in our blood. HDL’s help flush out the bad cholesterol, LDL’s, from our arteries, keeping them unclogged and our blood free flowing.
- IT lowers our blood pressure: Regular exercise makes our heart stronger. Our heart can now pump blood with less effort. This decreases the pressure on our arteries making it more efficient. Our hearts end up beating slower to pump the same amount of blood through our bodies.
- It helps blood sugar and insulin levels
When we exercise, our muscles work harder and we burn more glucose. Our muscles can use glucose without insulin, lowering the blood sugar levels in our systems. This makes our bodies use insulin more efficiently. These benefits last for hours after we finish our exercise.
- It Improves sexual health
Because exercise can make us feel more confident and give us more energy overall, our sex life can easily improve. Exercise causes the brain to produce endorphins, which stimulate the release of sex hormones, lowering our blood pressure and cortisol levels to help relax the body.
- It can help improve our sleep
Studies have shown that exercise helps us fall asleep faster and improves the quality of our sleep. We have a deeper sleep cycle when we exercise, giving our bodies and minds a chance to rejuvenate. When our bodies and minds are well rested, all our internal functions are at an optimally more balanced state.
- IT can help memory and thinking skills
Exercise pumps more oxygen to the brain. It also aids in releasing a wide range of hormones. These hormones are beneficial in providing a nourishing environment that can help with the growth of new brain cells. Brain plasticity is also stimulated by encouraging the formation of new connections in the brain.
- It can help you live longer
By reducing many major risk factors like heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, to name a few,we can expect to live longer, happier lives. Because our minds are sharper and we are making better decisions, we are less likely to have some sort of tragic accident that can end our lives prematurely.