Positive Effects of Exercise
A plethora of researches have shown that regular exercise is one of the most beneficial activities for our physical and mental health. Not only does it improve the overall health, and keeps you fit and toned, it can also help to reduce your risks of developing various chronic diseases. No matter what your age is, there is a lot that you can gain just by staying active.
Different types of exercises
Even just walking around your neighborhood can have positive effects on your overall well-being. But if you really want to exercise regularly and get fit through exercise, it is paramount that you choose the right type of exercise for you. There are different types of exercises and while what suits one person may not be the best option for another, most people gain the most benefits by combining two or more types of the following exercises.
- Endurance/Aerobic exercise or cardio: This type of exercise increases your heart rate and breathing rate. It requires the heart to pump oxygenated blood, which is delivered to working muscles. Therefore, breathing and heart rate are stimulated so that they can be sustained for the entire session of the exercise. Aerobic exercises keep the lungs, heart and circulatory system healthy and working in good conditions. They also improve your overall fitness. Examples are jogging, running, swimming, biking, trekking, kickboxing, and so on.
- Resistance/Strength training: These are exercises that strengthen your muscles by making use of opposing forces like resistance bands, dumb bells or weights. It can help to increase resting metabolism by as much as 7 percent and can also help to prevent muscle loss. Regular resistance exercises can also help in reducing body fats and burning calories, thereby losing weight.
- Balance exercises: Balance exercises like tai chi and exercises that require you to stand on one leg can improve your bodily balance, and prevent accidents like falls. We require balance for various activities we perform every day like walking and running, so it is important that we practice balance exercises regularly. Especially among seniors and people who have had strokes or are obese, regular balance exercise is a must.
- Flexibility exercises: Flexibility exercises help you to stretch your muscles and can help to prepare your body for more intense physical activities. Especially for professional athletes and sportspersons, even flexibility exercises as simple as stretching are crucial before they start playing or performing. This will help to prevent injuries. Yoga is a common flexibility exercise.
Benefits of exercising
Regular exercising has multiple benefits. You have almost nothing to lose when you exercise, except for body fats and calories. If you are still not convinced that you need to start to get moving now in order to lead a longer, healthier life, read on for the best benefits of exercising. These will help you understand why exercising is important.
Exercise helps to regulate your weight
Regular exercise can help you to prevent unhealthy weight gain, and also help to reduce weight. When you get your body moving and engage in physical activities, you burn calories in the process. If you engage in intense activities regularly for a long period of time, you will burn more calories.
Resistance exercises or strength training exercises are your best options for controlling weight as they tend to burn more calories than any of the other types of exercises like aerobic, balance and flexibility exercises. But don’t worry if you cannot go the gym regularly. Even just small activities like walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator or cleaning the house can help you reap the same benefits. The key here is to be consistent.
Exercise prevents diseases
Especially among older adults, chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart diseases are common. Staying active by exercising regularly can help to prevent such diseases. Even if you are already suffering from them, exercise can help to reduce their symptoms.
Exercise helps to boost good cholesterol, also known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL). It also helps in decreasing unhealthy triglycerides. By aiding you to achieve a smooth blood flow, you can either prevent or fight heart diseases. In other words, regular exercise strengthens your immune system and thereby, prevents many illnesses.
1. Exercise gives you an energy boost
Staying active by exercising regularly can build your endurance and improve muscle strength, thereby giving you an energy boost. Research has found that low-intensity exercises like a leisurely stroll help to reduce fatigue and increase your energy by as much as 20 percent.
Exercise delivers necessary nutrients and oxygen to your body tissues, helping your cardiovascular system to perform more efficiently. When the health of your heart and lungs improve, the result is a boost in energy.
2. Exercise increases strength, balance, and flexibility
Strength training and balance and flexibility exercises are as important as aerobic exercises. Whether you are lifting weights, practicing yoga or tai chi or incorporating bodyweight exercises, your muscle mass and muscle strength will greatly improve. Such exercises also strengthen the bones. This is especially important for older adults.
Stretching is also a must, especially before intense workout sessions. It increases your flexibility and improves blood circulation to the muscles. Even just a few minutes of stretching every day can make a huge difference in your body’s flexibility. You will find that you can do everyday chores with great ease.
3. Exercise can help to prevent depression
Exercising is known to be a great way to improve your mood. Physical activities can stimulate certain brain chemicals like endorphins, which will make you more relaxed and help you to attain a happy mood.
A recent study which involved 30,000 adults as subjects found that just an hour of exercise per week could help to prevent depression. It was reported that among the subjects, those who do not engage in any exercise are 44 percent more likely to suffer from depression, in comparison to those who exercised about one to two hours per week.
4. Exercise helps you to be determined and perseverant
Exercising regularly is not an easy task. For most people, it is difficult to motivate yourself every day to engage in physical activities. But once you set a clear goal and work consistently toward it, regardless of the speed of your development, exercising can prove to be extremely beneficial, and even enjoyable.
Once you have pushed yourself enough to be able to exercise regularly, you are highly likely to be more disciplined, determined and perseverant in other aspects of your life. By setting clear goals and a plan of action, you are likely to make exercise a habit.
5. Exercise helps you sleep better
Exercise strengthens your circadian rhythm and helps to keep you more bright-eyed in the daytime, thereby helping you sleep better at night. It also improves your sleep quality, meaning that you will wake up more refreshed than usual. So, if you have a problem falling asleep at night and are all too used to tossing and turning instead of getting a good night’s sleep, exercise may be the solution to your problems.
But to experience this benefit, you may need to wait for about 4 months for your exercise routine to positively affect your sleep. So, remember to be patient, and exercise regularly and consistently to ensure that you get a sound sleep every night.
6. Exercise increases your self-esteem and confidence
Many research has shown a strong association between positive self-esteem and confidence and regular physical activity. Aerobic exercises have been found to improve positivity, resistance exercises like lifting weights help to reduce anxiety, and balance and flexibility exercises have been shown to improve self-worth.
Despite what type of exercise you are doing, staying active can help you to feel better about yourself. In other words, exercise improves your self-esteem and boosts self-confidence. While it may be easy to think that the results of exercising are what improves our perception of ourselves, it has been found that not the fitness but rather the act of exercising itself can make people believe that they look better.
7. Exercise improves your memory
Exercise not only provides physical benefits but also improves your memory. In 2014, a study found that regular aerobic exercises like running, jogging, and swimming increases the size of the part of the brain which controls learning and memory – the hippocampus – among women, considerably reducing risks of dementia.
So, if you find yourself constantly forgetting where you left your keys or important documents or if you find that you are growing to be quite absent-minded, taking up aerobic exercises can help you boost your memory.
8. Exercise increases longevity
According to a research which was published in 2012, it was found that engaging in moderate exercises for 150 minutes or about half an hour for five days every week can increase your longevity or lifespan by as much as 3.4 years.
It was also reported that exercising 10 minutes per day or 75 minutes per week can increase your lifespan by 1.8 years. The findings of this research were also applicable to people who were obese or overweight. To put this into perspective, it is important to keep in mind that being obese or leading an inactive life can shorten your lifespan by about 7.2 years.
Now that you have understood why exercising is important, make a commitment to start exercising today itself. You will definitely see a positive change in your life within a short period of time itself.