While prescription medication is a god-send for people that suffer from debilitating and chronic illnesses, the best type of medicine is preventative care. The benefits of regular physical activity are well-researched and well-known; exercise can help prevent many serious conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. With numerous short-term and long-term health benefits, exercise is a great idea for any individual looking to improve symptoms of their medical condition and their general well-being. Here are just a few of the benefits of regular physical activity:
Many chronic conditions – such as type 2 diabetes – are caused by an excess amount of weight carried by the human body. Inactivity is a large factor in weight gain that can ultimately contribute to obesity. Regular aerobic and anaerobic exercise has been shown to increase your metabolic rate, so you can burn more calories even when you are not exercising. Combine increased physical exercise with a reduction in the amount of calories consumed and you will be well on your way to a healthier body and life.
Muscle and Bone Strength
Building and maintaining bones doesn’t just mean getting your daily intake of calcium. The body is a beautiful machine that is meant to be used! High-impact exercises such as running, weightlifting, and gymnastics have been shown to improve bone density more-so than low-impact exercises such as cycling, yoga, and swimming. Increased bone density in your younger years can also help osteoporosis later in life.
Exercise also stimulates the growth of new muscle fibers when coupled with a moderate increase in protein intake. Exercise also releases multiple hormones that aid in the body’s ability to absorb and use amino acids, which are the building blocks for muscle regrowth and repair.
In an interesting study, it was found that exercise can significantly improve the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in affected individuals. Exercise showed a much greater improvement in fatigue symptoms related to progressive illnesses (such as multiple sclerosis, HIV, cancer) when compared to stretching, relaxation, therapy, and stimulant medication.
Reduce the Risk of Chronic Disease
Many chronic diseases are related to prolonged inflammation of the body and an excess amount of weight. In fact, a lack of regular exercise has been shown to be THE cause of most chronic disease. Regular cardiovascular exercise has been shown to reduce blood fat levels, body fat levels, and improve blood pressure and heart function. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the rates of type 2 diabetes, sudden early death, heart disease, and obesity.
Improve Skin Health
Regular exercise can help improve the body’s production of natural antioxidants, which help protect cells from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when the body cannot repair damage that is caused by free radicals, which can lead to internal damage of the organs and external damage of the skin. Exercise can also improve blood flow to the skin, which can improve overall appearance and delay skin aging.
Improve Brain Health and Memory
Exercise improves brain function, memory, and health through various avenues of improvement:
- The size of the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, and frontal cortexes increase with regular physical exercise. These are the areas of the brain that are responsible for working memory, verbal memory, problem solving, and the development of personality (among other characteristics).
- Exercise reduces negative changes in the brain which can lead to neruo-degenerative disorders such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s.
- Exercise reduces chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, which are two factors associated with cognitive decline in older adults.
- Exercise stimulates the growth of new brain cells and neural connections, which can strengthen and repair the connections between multiple areas of the brain.
- An increase in heart rate and oxygen will allow more blood flow to brain tissue.
Improved Sleep Quality
One study has proven that 2.5 hours of regular, moderate exercise per week can improve sleep quality by about 65%. This was shown across the board, even with age groups that experience more instances of sleep disorders (the elderly). Energy depletion during exercise is also hypothesized to decrease the internal temperature of the body during sleep, as well as increase the regenerative properties of the body when at rest.
Reduce Chronic Pain
In recent years, studies have proven that exercise can help improve symptoms of pain in chronic pain patients. The overall consensus and recommendation for chronic pain patients used to be rest and inactivity, while new research proves the opposite. Regular exercise has also shown to improve the level of pain tolerance, as well as decrease the amounts of pain perception in patients.
Improve Your Sex Life
Exercise improves muscle tone, increases sex drive, improves blood circulation, strengthens the cardiovascular system, improves sexual performance, enhances sexual pleasure, increase the frequency of sexual activity, improves the quality of orgasms, and promotes an enhanced feeling of well-being. Regular exercise has also been shown to reduce the symptoms of erectile dysfunction in men.
Improve Levels of Happiness
Exercise is now being commonly prescribed by forward-thinking doctors for the alleviation of symptoms related to mental disorders such as chronic stress and anxiety. By promoting the release of endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine, exercise can help combat mental stress and improve a person’s perceived mental state. Interestingly enough, studies have shown that it does not matter how intense the exercise is; people benefit from low-to-moderate-to-high intensity levels of exercise across the board.
The impact of exercise is so powerful that stopping exercise can have a dramatically negative impact on individuals who regularly exercise. The takeaway? Regular exercise improves nearly all markers related to mental well-being and mood regulation.
The Health Benefits of Exercise
The health benefits of exercise are well-documented, well-researched, and infallible. Exercise is proven to Improve your skin tone, reduce your risk of chronic disease, increase your energy levels, improve muscle and bone strength, reduce negative weight, promote a better sex life, reduce symptoms of chronic pain, aid in sleep quality, and improve brain health and memory function. If they sold a pill that did all that, it would be flying off the shelves!
We recommend at least 30 minutes of daily exercise to reap all the benefits listed above. The best part? It’s free, it doesn’t need a doctor’s prescription, and it helps you look and function your best.
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