Most people understand that daily exercise is important but there are some people who don’t understand why it is important and what it can do for us.
Firstly, we need to remember that our ancestors were nomadic. This means that they spent most of the time going from place to place in order to find shelter and food. They travelled really large distances every single day. Thus, our bodies are meant to be active – they have evolved to be active regularly.
Let’s think of this another way. A sports car, of course, is designed to drive quickly. In the same way, we are designed to be mobile and to move. If a sports car isn’t driven regularly then it will probably not work as well as it should. The same can be said for the human body. People develop a whole host of health problems if the majority of their day is inactive. For example, if we spend too much time in front of the television or at a desk.
How exercise benefits us
Maintaining fitness and doing regular exercise is really beneficial. Benefits include:
- Having increased energy levels
Doing exercise increases the efficiency of the cardiovascular system. This is the system that carries nutrients and oxygen to the muscles. If your cardiovascular system works well, tasks and movement seem easier and so you will have more energy in general.
- Improved muscle strength
Being active is great for your muscles and your joints. It also means that your ligaments and tendons are more flexible. This means that you are able to move easily and won’t be risking injury. Having strong ligaments and muscles will reduce the risk of developing pain in your joints or lower back because your joints will be aligned properly. This means that you will also be more coordinated and have better balance.
- Helping you to maintain a weight that is healthy
Most people know that calories are burned during exercise. However, did you know that when you have more muscle, you end up burning more calories even when you’re still? This is how exercise gives you a double-whammy of calorie burning!
- Improved brain function
Because exercise increases the flow of blood into the brain, the levels of oxygen in the brain are increased. As well as this, exercise releases certain hormones that help in cell production in the hippocampus. This part of the brain controls learning and memory. So, by exercising, you are boosting your cognitive ability and your levels of concentration. You are even helping to reduce your risk of developing a degenerative disease like Alzheimer’s.
- Good for the heart
There are two types of cholesterol – one that is good and one that clogs up arteries. When you exercise regularly, you reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase the good cholesterol (HDL). As well as this, you can help lower your blood pressure so that your heart is not under as much stress. By exercising, therefore, you are lowering your risk of developing heart problems.
- Lower risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes
Exercising regularly allows you to control the levels of glucose in your blood. This can help to delay or prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes. A primary cause of the onset of Type 2 diabetes is being overweight or obese. Exercise is great at preventing this too.
- Enhanced immune system
Since your body’s ability to transfer nutrients and oxygen around your body is boosted by exercise, your cells are more able to fight viruses and bacteria.
- Reduced chances of bone disease development
If you do regular weight-bearing exercise like walking, weight training or running, you actually lower your risk of developing two degenerative bone conditions, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
- Reduced risk of some cancers
Being fit and healthy has a correlation with a lower risk of cancers like breast cancer, colon cancer and even lung cancers and endometrial cancers. As much as a third of all cancers are linked to being overweight, so exercise really can keep some cancers away.
- Improved sleep
Doing exercise will make you sleep better and when you sleep better, your stress levels are lower.
- Improved mood
When you exercise, you release endorphins which make you feel more relaxed. Endorphins are known to improve mood and lower stress.
- Prevention and treatment of mental conditions
It’s a well-known fact that exercise helps you mentally. After exercising, you feel a sense of achievement and are able to cope much better with the stresses and strains of everyday life. This can help you tackle or stave off depression or other mental health issues.
Of course, exercising is great but if you haven’t exercised in a while or you have underlying health conditions, it is important to seek advice from your doctor before you start anything new.