The Importance of Exercise – 5 Benefits of Exercising
Exercise, when you think about it, is actually a very strange phenomenon. Our society has changed so much in just the past 100 years; physical activity has no longer become mandatory. Instead of working outside in fields, people now work mostly inside in cubicles. Instead of walking to places we have cars and planes to carry us. Consequently, physical activity isn’t nearly as high on everyone’s to-do list as it should be.
Despite this abundance of convenience, it is still extremely important to exercise regularly. You may even be sick of hearing this from your doctor. However, he is not wrong. Your body was not designed to be sedentary; it was designed to be active.
The benefits of exercise are so numerous. It would take a much longer article than this to go through all of them. For the sake of not keeping you on the computer, here are just 5 benefits of exercising.
Exercise Improves Weight Control
One of the biggest reasons that doctors will recommend exercise is because it aids in weight loss. In a study done on obese young adults in 2017, researchers found that 12 weeks of high intensity exercise significantly reduced body weight and fat in the participants.
Weight loss boils down to a simple formula: Calories in over calories out. You burn a certain number of calories a day through daily activities and exercise. That amount is contrasted with the food you eat. Basically, if the amount of calories you eat is equal to the number of calories you burn, you maintain weight. If you have a deficit, you lose weight. If you have an excess of calories, you will gain weight.
Exercise Reduces Risk of Disease
Reducing risk of disease, particularly heart disease, is perhaps the biggest benefit of exercise. This is especially important because of how widespread heart disease is.
According to a report from the CDC, approximately 610,000 people died from heart disease in the US alone. This number equaled 25% of total deaths in the US. It is no surprise that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US.
Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of heart disease. The best part about it is there is no one exercise you have to do. All exercise, be it CrossFit, running, yoga, or basic weightlifting will significantly improve your health.
Improves Strength, Joint Health, and Bone Density
Now, this one may seem like a “duh,” but it is still important. Regular exercise strengthens your muscles and joints by causing adaptations in your body. Think of it this way: If someone asks you to carry 30 pounds up 2 flights of stairs, initially that would be extremely difficult. But, after repeating this multiple times, it would not be as difficult or painful, because you were stronger.
Exercising is also extremely crucial to improving bone density. In the same manner, as muscles, bones adapt to exercise and become stronger. According to the National Institute of Health, the best bone-strengthening exercises are weight-bearing exercises. These include walking, running, weightlifting, and most sports.
Exercise Improves your Mental and Emotional Health
Exercise isn’t just beneficial for the body. Having a consistent fitness routine also aids your mind and emotions. It has even been shown that exercise can help reduce symptoms of mental disorders. A study published in February of 2018 shows that exercise improved overall cognitive function in participants with Parkinson’s disease.
Have you ever been working out, and all of a sudden you feel like you were 10 feet off the ground? Or maybe you were on a run and suddenly you felt like you could conquer the world? This phenomenon is actually a chemical rush that is released by your brain. When you exercise, your brain will release endorphins, which are pleasure hormones. This influx of happy chemicals has lasting effects on your mood. According to WebMD, endorphins actually have an effect that is similar to morphine. Also, exercise will help prevent anxiety and depression.
Exercise Improves Your Self-Esteem
This benefit goes hand-in-hand with the emotional health. Exercise is a surefire way to improve your confidence and self-image. Think about this: Have you ever stopped and looked in the mirror after a month or so of consistently working out? That person looks much stronger and confident compared to the person that stood there a month before.
Not only does your self-image improve, your outlook on life changes. When you start exercising consistently, there are days where it can be challenging to finish a workout. Or there are days when you struggle to break a plateau. Being in those situations changes your perspective on other life situations. Where you were once stressed out beyond imagining, now you are controlled and ready to tackle the problem.
Time to Get Active
While physical activity may not be mandatory anymore, it is still essential to maintaining a healthy and happy life. Exercising does so much for your body. It reduces the risk of disease, helps you lose weight, and keeps your muscles and joints strong.
So the question is, what are you waiting for? Get up! Go for a run! Join a gym! Find a Spin class to go to! You will never regret the day you decided to make the change.