10 Health Benefits of Exercise – Moving for Better Health

10-health-benefits-of-exercise

Everyone knows we should be moving more. Especially us Americans.

It’s hard to hit the gym at the end of the day. Work was exhausting. If you drink any more coffee you won’t be able to sleep. Your brain is tired of being flipped on high alert all day.

It isn’t hard to understand why exercising is difficult to commit to. The daily grind leaves us lethargic, unmotivated, and disconnected – all symptoms inductive of a 45-minute gym stop feeling like an evening consuming excursion.

However, exercise may be just what you need! Here are 10 health benefits of exercise and how exercise could be a natural treatment for many of those daily grind symptoms.

1 – Exercise helps you control your body weight.

An obvious advantage of exercising is controlling your weight. An active person who maintains a healthy diet is fully utilizing the nutrients being ingested for fuel, growth, heat, protection, and various other bodily functions. When our bodies are running efficiently, we feel good.

2 – Exercising helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

I want to be clear here. In order to benefit from the advantage of exercising for heart health, you do not need to be a triathlete. Movement is necessary. Any movement at all. In fact, equally for both men and women.

One study found when walking a measly five and a half miles a week at a brisk pace of about two miles per hour the risk of cardiovascular events was reduced by a whopping 31% (1). Could you imagine three miles per hour? Or, dare I say… four?

3 – Exercise strengthen your muscles AND your bones.

We all get into the gym for different reasons. Whatever the reason, growth comes from the muscle – unless you take the eating and couch surfing for growth path. But we don’t recommend it. Exercise-Builds-MuscleLosing weight comes from improving muscle. Gaining weight comes from improving muscle. Regardless of your goal when it comes to losing or gaining weight, fundamentally they are both approached by improving your muscles.

While we are gaining all this ripped new muscle, we are actually strengthening our bones as well. Particularly, when we perform exercises against gravity, e.g. weightlifting, basketball, running, etc.

Maintaining our bone strength is a crucial component of health for every age group in every gender. Exercise is crucial to the prevention of osteoporosis – as well as the treatment of osteoporosis (2).

4 – Exercise can improve your mental health and mood

The psychological benefits of exercising are extensive.

Exercise in recent years has been studied quite thoroughly in its relation to depression and anxiety. Exercising can help with depression, anxiety, and your overall feelings due to its influence on releasing those wonderful “feel good” endorphins – you know? Those brain chemicals which “enhance our sense of well-being.”

Exercise also leads to more tangible benefits and “feel goods”. Benefits such as higher confidence levels, social comfortability, higher quality sleep, emotional maturity, and healthier self-views. (3)

5 – Tiring out with exercise will increase energy levels!

Sure, you’re getting tired and sweaty. You can barely breathe and your heart feels like it’s going to jump right out of your chest, but believe me when I say you will have more energy later on.

Any exercise you do that elevates your heart rate and gets your cardiovascular system working, is going to increase your energy levels. The more consistent you are with your exercising, the higher and more consistently higher your energy levels will be.

Think about this, let’s go back to the daily grind analogy. You spend all day sitting at a desk and working on a computer. Yet, you come home at the end of the day exhausted. That seems kind of strange when you physically haven’t moved all day, right?

Well, contrarily, exercising has the opposite effect as well (4). Exercising will allow you to heal and progress overtime both internally and externally. The research in exercising effect on depression is outstanding (3).

6 – Exercise can help your brain health and memory

brain health benefits
Exercise promotes healthy benefits for your brain

Aside from the psychological benefits that exercising provides, it also provides benefits to your brain and memory health as well. A recent study conducted at Harvard Health Publishing found that regular exercise “changes the brain to improve memory and thinking skills.” (5)

These exercise-induced benefits occur due to exercise having the capability to reduce insulin resistance, inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors. (5)

7 – Exercise can help you sleep better.

Exercise not only helps increase the quality of your sleep, but it also helps to increase the duration of your sleep. Quality sleep is one of the most underrated and under spoken about necessitations of good health. In particular, sleep quality improvements are even greater if your exercise is performed outside where you can absorb all of that wonderful sunlight.

There is a lot of debate over what time during the day we should be exercising. In general, I most often see support for exercising in the morning or afternoon. Working out in the evening can rev some people up too much leading to an inability to sleep until late in the night (not ideal if you have to wake up in the morning for work).

8 – Exercise promotes a healthy pregnancy

For the female warriors of our human race, exercise is known to directly promote a healthy pregnancy. Another study observed 12 women who followed specific exercise routines and had their metabolic responses measured during rest, immersion into water, and during aerobic exercise in water. The results found that “pregnancy significantly alters metabolic responses to exercise in the water.” (6)

9 – Exercise can promote a better sex life

“A growing body of research suggests it may boost desire, arousal, and satisfaction.” (7) In men, regular exercise is linked to lower risks of erectile disorders.

A study conducted in 1990 (yeah, this has been known a while) concluded, men who exercised regularly over a 9-month period were shown to engage in sex more often. These men exercised in monitored groups for 60-minute sessions for roughly three and a half days a week. When comparing this group of men to the group of men in the non-exercise group, the exercise group revealed increases in sexual activity, less sexual performance issues, and an increase in the satisfaction of their orgasms. (7)

In addition:

“The degree of sexuality enhancement among exercisers was correlated with the degree of their individual improvement in fitness.” (7)

10 – It can help you live longer.

Last but definitely not least, exercise can help you live longer. This doesn’t necessarily need a study to support it. Let’s just look at the details we established with the former points of this article. Health benefits of exercise:

  • Promotes lower risk of heart disease and prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Increases your quality and duration of sleep (crucial for good health!).
  • Promotes healthy psychological headspace.
  • Helps brain health and memory.
  • Increases sexual desire, satisfaction, and ability.
  • Higher levels of energy during the day.
  • Promotes a healthy pregnancy.

10-health-beneifts-live-longer

Exercise leads to an overwhelming number of potential health benefits that are not mentioned on this list of 10 health benefits of exercise. A healthy body and mind will live longer than an unhealthy body, mind, or body and mind.

Get out there and get moving! Your body and mind will feel renewed and you can live your best, longest life.

 

 

 

 

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Citations:

  1. Harvard Men’s Health Watch. (Published: 2009, August, updated: 2018, July 08). Walking: Your steps to health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/walking-your-steps-to-health.
  2. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases [Accredited Health-info]. (Retrieved: 2018, September 16). Exercise for your Bone Health. https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/exercise/exercise-your-bone-health.
  3. Craft, Lynette L, Ph.D. and Perna, Frank M., Ed.D., Ph.D. (2004; PMCID: PMC474733). The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC474733/.
  4. Rodriguez, Diana. (2018, February 2). Why Exercise Boosts Mood and Energy. https://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/workouts/boost-your-energy-level-with-exercise.aspx.
  5. Godman, Heidi, Executive Editor. (2018, April). Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110.
  6. McMurray, R.G., Ph.D., and Katz, V.L., MD and Berry, M.J., Ph.D., Cefalo, R.C., MD, Ph.D. (2018, September 16). The effect of pregnancy on metabolic responses during rest, immersion, and aerobic exercise in the water. https://www.ajog.org/article/0002-9378(88)90009-9/fulltext.
  7. Davis, Robert, J. (2017, June 02). How Exercise Can Improve Your Sex Life. https://www.health.com/sex/exercise-and-sex