Regular exercise promotes good health. The word HEALTH is often associated only with physical fitness, though there are other components of health. It includes all aspects of life that affects physical, mental and social health.
Level of fitness affects how you sleep, eat and learn. If you are fit, you look good, you have energy and generally feel good about yourself.
1. Improved Cardiovascular Health
The heart as a muscle needs regular exercise and like any muscle, the more it is used, the stronger it gets.
A strong heart pumps blood more efficiently than a weak one so more work is done with less effort. This will decrease blood pressure.
2. Better Weight Control
Inactivity is much to blame for weight gain and obesity as is overeating.
Our bodies require a minimum number of calories each day in order to maintain itself. Additional calories must be used up, or they will be stored as fat. This leads to weight gain that comes with many chronic diseases.
The number of calories we burn depends on the nature of the activity
- If we take in fewer calories than we burn we lose weight
- If we take more calories than we burn we gain weight
3. Improved Metabolism
Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. This energy we get from food is measured in units of heat called calories. The only way to maintain the minimum number of calories the body requires after intake is through increasing metabolic rate that can be achieved by exercise.
4. Makes you Happier
Exercise has been shown to improve your mood and decrease feelings of depression, stress and anxiety.
It increases brain sensitivity for the hormones Serotonin and Norepinephrine, which relieve feelings of depression. Exercise also produces changes in parts of the brain that regulates stress and anxiety.
Studies have shown that people with anxiety become more aware of their mental state and even practice distraction from their fears.
Your mood can benefit from exercise no matter the intensity of the physical activity.
5. Less Fatigue, More Energy
Exercise is a real energy booster and builds a strong body. Exercise can also help reduce the feeling of chronic fatigue, stiffness and lack of coordination.
Additionally, exercise has been shown to increase energy levels in people suffering from illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis.
6. Good for your Muscle and Bones
Physical activity like weight lifting can stimulate muscle building. Exercise helps release hormones that promote the ability if your muscle to absorb amino acids which help muscles to grow and reduces their breakdown.
Adequate protein intake should also be paired with weight lifting for proper muscle growth.
People tend to lose muscle mass and function when they get older leading to injuries and disabilities. Regular physical activity is therefore essential for reducing muscle loss and lose of strength.
High-impact exercise such as running, soccer and basketball, have shown to promote a high bone density than non-impact sports like swimming and cycling. Osteoporosis which affects the bones can also be reduced later in life when you exercise at younger age.
7. Reduce Risk of Chronic Diseases
Chronic diseases are primarily caused by lack of regular physical exercise. Lack of exercise can also lead to increase in belly fat which increases the risk of heart diseases, type 2 diabetes and early death.
Regular exercise has been shown to improve cardiovascular fitness, body composition and insulin sensitivity thus decreases blood pressure and blood fat levels.
Regular physical activity is therefore recommended to reduce belly fat and decrease the risk of chronic diseases.
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8. Ability to Recuperate
Exercise can help the body’s protection against disease by resistance through fitness. A strong, toned body is capable of recuperation, or restoring itself at a faster rate than a body in poor condition.
This is also evident how your breathing quickly get back to normal after an intense exercise as compared to people who live sedentary life. Your lung capacity and the amount of air that you can take in a single breath increases
9. Increased Mental Alertness
Exercise greatly contributes to the functioning of your nervous system by tuning it to a high level, allowing more skillful body movements.
Exercise can improve your reaction time by helping you respond quickly to stimuli.
The overall mental performance increases too. It increases the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is responsible for memory.
Exercise pumps blood to the brain which helps you think more clearly and also increases the connections between nerve cells that helps protect your brain against diseases.
10. Improved Self Esteem
Self esteem involves physical, mental, social, emotional judgement of ourselves.
Regular exercise helps build confidence by improving your body image. Your body gets strengthened and toned during exercise. These result greatly improves your self esteem.
Being physically fit gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment for taking good care of yourself.
Exercising with a friend makes it enjoyable and in turn boosts self esteem as you encourage each other.
11. Improved Sex Life
Engaging in regular can boost sex drive by strengthening the cardiovascular system, improve blood circulation, enhance flexibility and tone muscles.
Study has shown that working the muscles beyond the pelvic floor may help reduce erectile dysfunction.
This can be achieved through regular aerobic exercise that improve blood flow. Erectile dysfunction is often caused by blood flow problems to the penis.
In women, pelvic floor exercises can improve blood circulation to the vagina hence increased sexual arousal. Ability to relax vaginal muscle and vaginal lubrication can reduce pain during sexual intercourse hence ease to reach orgasm.
The following simple behavior should not be taken for granted because they all add up to an increase in physical activity throughout the day
- Stand rather than sit
- Walk rather than ride in a car
- Use stair rather than an elevator/ escalator
- Walk briskly rather than walk slowly
- Walk around rather than stand still
- Run or jog rather than walk
To achieve optimal result, you could choose a more active routine throughout your day