You probably hear–on a daily basis–that exercise is good for you. Have you ever stopped to consider all the benefits that physical activity has to offer, however? This article will discuss a few of the obvious and not-so-obvious ways that exercise improve your body and your mind.
1. Exercise benefits your mind. When you engage in strenuous activity, your heart rate rises, pumping oxygen-rich blood through your body at a faster rate. Oxygen is absolutely essential for your brain to function properly, and the boost of oxygen your brain receives through exercise can enhance your mental clarity and your ability to recall information. Exercise can also benefit your mental health, as it causes your body to release endorphins, or feel-good chemicals that lift the mood and cause you to feel serene and euphoric. This may help to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
2. Exercise enhances your appearance. Regular cardiovascular exercise, along with a sensible diet, helps you to maintain a weight that is appropriate for your frame, and it helps you lose weight if you are carrying too many extra pounds. Not only that, but strength training exercises, such as lifting weights or body-weight exercises like push-ups, crunches, pull-ups and others, helps your muscles become toned and defined, creating a streamlined, fit-looking physique. The benefits of feeling good about your appearance are numerous; most importantly, your confidence and self-esteem receive a boost when you are proud of the way you look.
3. Exercise reduces your risk of developing certain diseases. The risk of cardiovascular diseases like stroke, congestive heart failure and others is greatly reduced by regular exercise. Cardio training works your heart, strengthening the muscle tissue and allowing it to function more efficiently. Exercising may also reduce the risk of obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, and it enhances your immune system, which makes you less susceptible to illnesses and infections in your environment.
4. Exercise improves the aging process. As you grow older, your mobility declines as your strength and flexibility may suffer. Regular exercise helps to minimize these effects, however. Low-impact exercises like walking and swimming are excellent ways to stay in shape, barring any health problems that keep you from exercising.
5. Exercise prevents injuries. When you are strong, fit and flexible, you are less prone to becoming injured on the job or in your day-to-day activities. With more flexible and stable joints, sprains and strains are less common. Core exercises, in particular, can help you to build strong muscles in your back and abdominal regions. This reduces the likelihood of back pain, and it makes it easier to perform tasks such as lifting or pulling.
6. Exercise gives you greater flexibility in your diet. While you can eat pizza and drink beer without working out, doing so in conjunction with a fitness routine makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight. Regular exercise allows you to indulge in your favorite foods and beverages on occasion and in moderation without worrying about gaining weight.
Working out for 30-60 minutes at least three times per week has a number of positive effects on your body and your mind. Find an activity that you enjoy to look and feel your best, no matter your lifestyle.