Exercise: 10 Benefits to Regular Workouts
A lot of the emphasis placed on exercise and improving physical fitness is that of weight loss. There are however, many benefits to regular exercise that have nothing to do with whittling your waistline. While it is true that exercise can help with the prevention of obesity and help with weight management – it can also prevent certain diseases (i.e. Type 2 diabetes, Cardiovascular disease), improve your mood, and increase energy. Working out can truly help better your overall quality of life. Let’s take a look at 10 of the most important reasons to start working out regularly:
Weight Management/Obesity Prevention
Common motivators behind working out is striving to achieve a fitness/weight goal or to prevent having issues with weight in the future. When you start working out, the amount of calories burned increases, helping to reduce body fat. After a workout, the body continues to burn calories as well, resulting in an overall higher calorie burn than spending the day in a non-active state.
While frequent exercise can result in a loss of body fat, it also increases muscle as you push your body and recover from a workout. Increased muscle mass is also related to a boost in metabolism, which helps to burn further calories.
If you are wanting to lose weight or prevent weight gain – it is important to eat healthier foods and watch serving sizes or, all the work you are doing in the gym will be for naught.
Risk of Heart Disease is Reduced
Working out provides many benefits in regards to heart health, including significantly decreasing the risk of heart disease. Factors that can lead to heart disease, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, can be decreased with exercise. Working out improves blood flow and helps decrease the buildup of fatty deposits and LDL cholesterol throughout the arteries. As mentioned, frequent exercise can also lead to weight loss, which reduces physical stress on the body and requires less work from the heart.
Aerobic exercise, such as biking, swimming, shoveling, power walking, and more, is particularly effective in reducing the risk for heart disease because it gets your blood flowing. Increasing your heart rate through exercise helps to strengthen the heart over time, allowing it to move blood around the body more efficiently and effectively. A stronger heart lowers the likelihood of a stroke, heart attack, or other associated heart disease issues.
A Chance to Socialize and Make Connections
No matter your age and what sport or exercise you enjoy, working out can provide a great way to make friends and connections. You can meet others on a sports team, in an exercise class, at the gym, running groups, and more. It is still important to push yourself and set and achieve your own goals, but having somebody there along the way can make exercising more enjoyable and help you to keep motivated. The people you meet from exercising may even become friends outside of your workout.
Whether the people you work out with include your trainer, friend or family member, or teammate, working out in the presence of others can be a great source of encouragement and motivation. When exercising with others, it is less likely for people to cut corners and make excuses, allowing for the maximum potential in a workout session. You can also combine your exercise knowledge to switch up routines and make exercising more entertaining.
It might be difficult to completely eliminate stress from daily life, but working out provides an effective outlet so it is easier to handle. Exercise increases your feel-good neurotransmitters and lowers stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Numerous forms of exercise, including team sports, yoga, lifting, and others can completely alter stressful or negative feelings, reduce stress, and improve the quality of your daily life.
When working out, the body produces endorphins, or chemicals that are released into the body from the nervous system to block pain and stimulate positive feelings and energy. While endorphins have been associated with feelings of anger, fear, and anxiety, the endorphins produced during exercise can provide feelings of relief, happiness, and even the feeling of euphoria experienced in some circumstances, such as runners’ high.
The endorphins produced flow through the bloodstream and increase energy when working out and in the time after a workout as well. If you work out in the morning, these endorphins often provide a feeling of energy, concentration, and happiness for the rest of your day.
Better Sleep Quality
Working out can improve the quality and duration of sleep, and can even aid in relieving insomnia. Because stress is reduced with exercise and energy levels are heightened during the day, sleep is likely to come about more easily. Improved sleep contributes to a positive cycle because it provides the energy needed to perform and push yourself in the next day’s workout.
Exercise may not affect the quality of sleep immediately, but if you stick with it, the effects after a few weeks will be present. The quality of sleep is improved due to the increased periods of slow-wave sleep, which is the deepest stage of sleep. This phase of the sleep cycle provides the most rejuvenation, ensuring that you wake up feeling rested and energized the next day.
The effects of exercise on the mind can make a huge difference in daily life and improve your overall view of yourself and the life you lead. The physical changes that come with a dedicated exercise routine lead to a higher self-esteem and can positively impact the way you view and treat your own body. In a society that is so focused on body image, these positive changes can reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, especially in regards to the way you view yourself.
Working hard to reach your fitness goals can also boost confidence in the sense of feeling accomplished. Knowing how hard you work and the effort that goes into working out consistently provides a lot of confidence in yourself that can transfer into other aspects of your life. This can be in relation to a job, a new challenge, home projects, relationships, and more.
Helps Keep You Young
Aging is inevitable, and eventually all notice the toll growing older takes on the body. However, with frequent exercise, you can slow the appearance of aging and keep your mind and body feeling younger. The strength developed from workouts and stretching can result in healthier joints and muscles, putting less of a strain on the body as you age. This strength allows you to perform more activities with less effort over time.
Healthy, strong bones and muscles promote better posture, which can keep you from hunching and prevent problems related to many joints and the back. Working out can keep you looking younger because those who exercise tend to have smoother skin that retains its elasticity. As mentioned, exercise can improve sleep and reduce stress, which also does wonders for your skin by reducing dark circles under the eyes, wrinkles, acne and the scars that come with it.
Immune System Boost
A boost to your immune system reflects one of the many benefits of moderate exercise. Improved circulation and a heightened heart rate promote faster flow of white blood cells through the blood stream, allowing them to better perform their designated functions. This reduces the number of colds you may contract and can help fight diseases in the long run.
Consistent exercise can prepare your body to fight off unwanted visitors; however, it is important to not overdo it. Overworking your body can cause fatigue, which leaves your body unable to fight off bacteria and infections as effectively.
Helps Sharpen Memory
Various studies have shown that regular aerobic exercise can actually improve the performance of the brain through the creation of new brain cells in the hippocampus, aiding in retaining memory and learning. Working out can slow the brain’s deterioration over time by increasing blood flow within the brain and strengthening the cells and neurons.
In addition to physically increasing the size and performance of the hippocampus, exercise reduces factors that can lead to a diminishing cognitive state and diseases, such as dementia. Stress, anxiety, and other feelings that can contribute to cognitive difficulties are lessened, leading to an overall healthier mind and sharper memory over time.
Working out frequently provides many benefits that can affect your body physically and mentally, allowing you to lead an overall healthy and happy life. These 10 points are important reasons to start working out, and the results are worth the effort in both the short and long-term.
If you have any health concerns or pre-existing conditions, be sure to check with your doctor to get clearance before embarking upon a new fitness routine.