The Top 10 Benefits of Regular Exercise
Exercise is defined as any movement that makes your muscles work and requires your body to burn calories.
There are many types of physical activity, including swimming, running, jogging, walking, and dancing, to name a few.
Being active has been shown to have many health benefits, both physically and mentally. It may even help you live longer.
Exercise has helped me reduce pain and feel better since I was diagnosed with lupus.
Here are the top 10 ways regular exercise benefits your body and brain, listed by Health Line:
It can make you feel happier
Exercise has been shown to improve your mood and decrease feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress.
It produces changes in the parts of the brain that regulate stress and anxiety. It can also increase brain sensitivity for the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which relieve feelings of depression.
Additionally, exercise can increase the production of endorphins, which are known to help produce positive feelings and reduce the perception of pain.
It can help with weight loss
Inactivity is a major factor in weight gain and obesity. While dieting, a reduced calorie intake, will lower your metabolic rate, which can delay weight loss, regular exercise has been shown to increase your metabolic rate, which can burn more calories to help you lose weight.
Additionally, studies have shown that combining aerobic exercise with resistance training can maximize fat loss and muscle mass maintenance, which is essential for keeping the weight off.
It is good for your muscles and bones
Exercise helps release hormones that promote the ability of your muscles to absorb amino acids. This helps them grow and reduces their breakdown.
As people age, they tend to lose muscle mass and function, which can lead to an increased risk of injury. Practicing regular physical activity is essential to reducing muscle loss and maintaining strength as you age.
Also, exercise helps build bone density when you’re younger, in addition to helping prevent osteoporosis later in life.
It can increase your energy levels
One study found that 6 weeks of regular exercise reduced feelings of fatigue for 36 people who had reported persistent fatigue.
It can significantly increase energy levels for people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and other serious illnesses. In fact, exercise seems to be more effective at combating CFS than other treatments.
Additionally, exercise has been shown to increase energy levels in people with other conditions like cancer.
It can reduce your risk of chronic disease
Lack of regular physical activity is a primary cause of chronic disease. Regular exercise has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, heart health, and body composition. It can also decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
In contrast, a lack of regular exercise — even in the short term — can lead to significant increases in belly fat, which may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. That’s why regular physical activity is recommended to reduce belly fat and decrease the risk of developing these conditions.
It can help skin health
Your skin can be affected by the amount of oxidative stress in your body, that occurs when the body’s antioxidant defenses cannot completely repair the cell damage caused by compounds known as free radicals. This can damage the structure of the cells and negatively impact your skin.
Even though intense and exhaustive physical activity can contribute to oxidative damage, regular moderate exercise can actually increase your body’s production of natural antioxidants, which help protect cells. In the same way, exercise can stimulate blood flow and induce skin cell adaptations that can help delay the appearance of skin aging.
It can help your brain health and memory
Exercise increases your heart rate, which promotes the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain. It can also stimulate the production of hormones that enhance the growth of brain cells. Plus, the ability of exercise to prevent chronic disease can translate into benefits for your brain, since its function can be affected by these diseases.
Exercise has been shown to cause the hippocampus, a part of the brain that’s vital for memory and learning, to grow in size, which may help improve mental function in older adults.
Lastly, it has been shown to reduce changes in the brain that can contribute to conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.
It can help with relaxation and sleep quality
With regard to sleep quality, the energy depletion that occurs during exercise stimulates recuperative processes during sleep. Moreover, the increase in body temperature that occurs during exercise is thought to improve sleep quality by helping it drop during sleep.
One review of six studies found that participating in an exercise training program helped improve self-reported sleep quality and reduced sleep latency, which is the amount of time it takes to fall asleep.
Another study showed that 16 weeks of physical activity improved sleep quality and helped 17 people with insomnia sleep longer and more deeply than the control group. It also helped them feel more energized during the day.
What’s more, engaging in regular exercise seems to be beneficial for older adults, who are often affected by sleep disorders.
You can be flexible with the kind of exercise you choose. It appears that either aerobic exercise alone or aerobic exercise combined with resistance training can both improve sleep quality.
It can reduce pain
Although chronic pain can be debilitating, recent studies show that exercise helps relieve it. In fact, one review of several studies found that exercise can help those with chronic pain reduce their pain and improve their quality of life.
Several studies also show that exercise can help control pain associated with various health conditions, including chronic low back pain, fibromyalgia, and chronic soft tissue shoulder disorder, to name a few.
Additionally, physical activity can also raise pain tolerance and decrease pain perception.
It can promote a better sex life
Engaging in regular exercise can strengthen the heart, improve blood circulation, tone muscles, and enhance flexibility, all of which can improve your sex life.
Physical activity can also improve sexual performance and sexual pleasure while increasing the frequency of sexual activity. Interestingly enough, one study showed that regular exercise was associated with increased sexual function and desire in postmenopausal women.
A review of 10 studies also found that exercising for at least 160 minutes per week over a 6-month period could help significantly improve erectile function in men. What’s more, one study found that a simple routine of a 6-minute walk around the house helped 41 men reduce their erectile dysfunction symptoms by 71%.
Another study demonstrated that women with polycystic ovary syndrome, which can reduce sex drive, increased their sex drive with regular resistance training for 16 weeks.