How Exercise Benefits Your Health

You’ve probably heard on radio, on TV, in newspapers and all around you that exercise is good for you and healthy for the heart, and had a vague understanding of how exactly. And if you are like most people, those statements are not enough motivation to get you out of bed in the morning to break a sweat with any regularity.

Emerging evidence shows that there are plenty of compelling reasons to start moving your body at any age and even if you’re ill or pregnant. Scientists are learning that exercise is, actually, medicine. “There is no pill that comes close to what exercise can do,” says Claude Bouchard, director of the human genomics laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana. “And if there was one, it would be extremely expensive.”

Boost of Happiness
Studies reveal that whether we are fully conscious of it or not, humans are always looking for ways to be happy. Countless studies show that many types of exercise, from walking, cycling and running make people feel better and can even relieve symptoms of depression. Exercise triggers the release of chemicals in the brain such as serotonin, norepinephrine, endorphins, dopamine, that dull pain, lighten mood and relieve stress. For years we focused almost exclusively on the physical benefits of exercise and really have ignored the psychological and emotional benefits of being regularly active.

Good for Your Brain
Are you constantly misplacing your keys or struggling to recall names? Exercise is, as of now, the best way to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Exercising regularly can help jog your memory. A 2014 study found that aerobic exercises, like running or swimming boosts the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning, in women with a recognized risk factor for dementia. Besides looking to brain food to boost your memory and mental skills, start breaking a sweat!

You will Age Slower
Exercise has been shown to lengthen lifespan by as much as five years. A small new study suggests that moderate intensity exercise may slow down the aging of cells. As humans get older and their cells divide over and over again, their telomeres, the protective caps on the end of chromosomes, get shorter. To see how exercise affects telomeres, researchers took a muscle biopsy and blood samples from 10 healthy people before and after a 45-minute ride on a stationary bicycle. They found that exercise increased levels of a molecule that protects telomeres, ultimately slowing how quickly they shorten over time. Exercise, then, appears to slow aging at the cellular level.

Increase Self-confidence
Exercising can help you feel better about yourself, no matter what type of workout you do or how fit you are. One study found that “the simple act of exercise and not fitness itself can convince you that you look better.” With so much emphasis on our outward appearances in society today, it’s comforting to know that one of the benefits of exercise helps people feel better about themselves and how they look naturally.

Become Less Susceptible to Disease
From fortifying your immune system against future cancers to reducing the risk of breast cancer, regular exercise helps protect your body. Although researchers aren’t entirely sure how exercise boosts immunity, theories range from bacteria being flushed out of the body to a reduction in stress-released hormones that might increase the risk of illness.

While we wait for the science to catch up, it’s clear that engaging in moderate to intense exercise benefits your body in ways we’re not even sure of yet.

Helps Your Body Recover From a Major Illness

For decades, people with certain diseases were advised not to exercise. Now scientists know that far more people can and should exercise. It is appropriate for people with different chronic conditions, from Type 2 diabetes to heart failure to increase their body movement. A recent analysis of more than 300 clinical trials discovered that for people recovering from a stroke, exercise was even more effective at helping them rehabilitate.

So the next time you think you are too busy, think about the endless benefits to exercising your body.

P.S- The benefits are not limited to the only ones mentioned in this article.

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