You know exercise is good, but did you know in just how many ways it benefits your body? If you are like many people, you spend the majority of your time indoors being sedentary. There are several reasons for this, including not having enough time or energy, not being athletic, or not having enough energy and time left over after dealing with various life circumstances such as illness or disability. Some also theorise that another reason most people don’t exercise is because in the beginning, exercise may be uncomfortable.
Others say they need to be motivated to get started, or just don’t find exercise fun or exciting. Thankfully, these concerns all have uncomplicated solutions when you want to enjoy the satisfying and refreshing benefits of simple exercises. Each type of exercise offers a unique advantage to your health, including some of the benefits outlined below.
How Exercise Benefits Your Health
Researchers are still discovering some of the exciting ways exercise benefits our entire being. Below are just a few of the ways you may prosper from exercises you can do at home, outdoors or at the gym.
|Reduces Your Risk Of Heart Disease
A 15-year study found replacing sedentary activity with just 30 minutes a day of light activity reduces your risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Exercise helps reduce blood pressure and improves muscle function and strength, including that of your heart.
|Helps Insulin Sensitivity
Research has found those with diabetes and low cardiorespiratory fitness are at an increased risk for overall illness and death. Exercise helps protect against that by improving your insulin sensitivity.
|Physical activity may effectively prevent depression, enhance your mood and lift your spirits.
Improves Cognitive Skills
Regular activity increases the size of the brain’s hippocampus, the area responsible for verbal memory and learning. While important at every age, research also demonstrates cognitive improvements are enjoyed by young adults too, including executive function and increased cortical thickness.
|Affects Mitochondrial Biogenesis
Mitochondrial function is vital to your overall health. Exercise enhances mitochondrial biogenesis in skeletal muscle and your brain.
|Strengthens Bones And Muscles
Weight bearing activities make bones and muscles stronger, reducing the potential for osteoporosis.
One review of the literature found sleep and exercise were interrelated as one exerted a positive effect on the other. Moderate aerobic exercise may also increase the amount of deep sleep you enjoy.
While the exact mechanism for experiencing a reduction in stress has not been identified, researchers have demonstrated exercise does reduce anxiety and stress, potentially (in-part) from enjoying a â€˜time outâ€™ from daily worries.
While doctors have been recommending exercise for years to help reduce constipation, researchers now find exercise also contributes to positive changes in your gut microbiota, which may provide benefits to your health and help in the prevention of disease.
|Get An Energy Boost
As little as 20 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week over six weeks may help improve your energy levels and help you feel less tired.
In a study of 264 adults, researchers found physical activity was directly and indirectly associated with self-esteem.
|Reduces Overall Risk Of Death
In one literature review, data confirmed that regular exercise is effective in the prevention of chronic disease and premature death.
|Reduces The Risk Of Falls And Disability
Falls are a significant cause of disability in the elderly, and exercise plays an important role in prevention.
Strength Training Supports Joints And Brain Function
Strength training is foundational to good overall health. It helps prevent the natural loss of skeletal muscle that may occur with sedentary behaviour or advancing age. Increasing muscle mass also helps boost your metabolism and prevent damage to your joints. In contrast, inactivity and muscle loss increase the potential of damage to large joints that may lead to arthritic changes and pain.
Exercises that build strength in your large muscles helps support your joints, and resistance training helps slow plaque formation in the brain which positively impacts cognitive function.
Benefits also include reducing the signs of ageing, and increasing the potential to remain independent as you age. Bone and muscle loss are compounded by a sedentary lifestyle. Further, weakened muscles and a brittle bone structure are a recipe for disabling falls.
Doing strength and resistance training at the gym is an opportunity to use free weights or a weight machine. However, if you don’t have the time or resources to go to the gym, you might like to consider doing weight bearing exercises at home.
High Intensity Interval Training In Nine Minutes A Day
In just minutes each week, researchers have found those participating in high intensity interval training (HIIT) may significantly improve their health. The benefits from HIIT are largely due to the impact it has on your cellular mitochondria, responsible for producing energy in your cells.
Your aerobic fitness is determined by measuring the amount of oxygen your mitochondria consume as you push yourself to an anaerobic threshold, or the limit of your aerobic capacity. This measurement is called your VO2max. The lower your VO2max, the higher your risk of chronic disease.
HIIT triggers mitochondrial biogenesis by reversing age-associated declines in mitochondrial health. Improvements in your VO2max depend on how well your mitochondria adapt. One literature review has found that VO2max increases with interval training.
In one study of elderly participants, the researchers pitted three types of exercises against each other and a control group. They found that HIIT exercises were the clear winner.
Although ageing is inevitable, you may affect your biological age by making strong lifestyle choices. The end result is improved cardio-metabolic health.
Staying Flexible Affects Body And Mind
As you design your exercise program, it’s important to include flexibility. Unfortunately, this is usually the most neglected element in a program. The benefits of being flexible include improving your posture, increasing mental relaxation, reducing muscle tension and soreness and reducing the risk of injury.
As people age, they tend to become less flexible. Sometimes this may be a result of inactivity, but flexibility is also impacted by your age, gender, shape and activity level. Activities that improve flexibility also help prevent back pain and balance problems.
Additionally, flexibility helps you achieve a full range of motion, which in turn improves your athletic performance and your balance.
The regular practice of yoga is one of the simplest ways to achieve greater balance, flexibility and improve your health.
One aspect of yoga, on the physical level, is that it involves low-impact exercise that combines flexibility and strength training. A regular yoga practice can help lower your risk of heart disease, because it will improve your body mass index and lower blood pressure and heart rate. If you don’t have time or the resources to go to a yoga class three times a week, again, you might like to consider learning poses and doing them in the privacy of your own home.
Core and Foundation Exercises To Help Prevent Lower Back Pain
Core exercises and Foundation Training are important contributors to reducing your potential for experiencing lower back pain and other chronic pain issues. Foundation Training involves the use of structural movements to help realign your posture, focusing on your core muscles. The exercises train your posterior chain muscles to work together, thus reducing your risk of lower back pain.
Foundation Training was developed by Dr. Eric Goodman after being told spinal surgery was his only option. His program teaches you how to optimise your posture and reduce your risk of injury by moving your body the way it was designed to. The program incorporates movements to help you move and breathe better, and does not require a gym membership or any type of specialised equipment.
Your core muscles, those surrounding your abdomen and back, can also be improved by attending regular Pilates classes, doing kettlebell exercises, or simple body-weight exercises such as the plank. Each of these exercises can be done at home or at the gym.
All of these exercises are important because they can help get to the root cause of many types of physical pain, which typically are triggered by improper posture.
As you teach your body to work against gravity in the way it was designed, you’ll do more than build core strength. You will also experience less pain and a greater ability to go about your daily activities.
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