You come to learn in life that doing something you don’t want to do with the sole intention of benefiting yourself, is seen as both rude and offensive, however there is one exception — exercise.
Exercise delivers self-improvements that most are completely unaware of and you can boast about them to your friends without being seen as disrespectful.
Below is my list of mind-blowing health benefits of exercise, both physical and mental, and why you should include it into your daily routine…
1. Improve Blood Circulation
During exercise your body begins to heat up and the blood vessels in your muscles open up (dilate) and the flow of blood to your organs and tissues is much greater.
The idea that a greater amount of water can flow through a fire hose than through a garden hose is a simple analogy to help you understand and visualize.
The short-term effect of this increased blood flow is the delivery of more oxygenated blood to the working muscle. Long-term effects include a reduction in risk of developing a variety of heart disorders, including heart attack and stroke, and delivers enhanced sexual pleasure and performance for both men and women.
2. Promote Weight Loss
Simply put, to lose weight you must burn more calories than you consume, and exercise helps you accomplish this. If you exercise often and those exercises are high-intensity, you can lessen the amount of food you reduce from your diet. For example, if you’re not exercising and eliminating 500 calories from your diet, you can cut 250 calories from your diet if you choose to exercise regularly.
Obviously the best results come by both exercising and reducing calories, but if you’re struggling to lose weight it doesn’t mean give up on reaching your weight loss goals. Supplement what you can’t do with what you can do. If you can’t cut back enough on the calories, just make sure you burn more calories. If you can’t burn enough calories, just make sure you consume less calories.
3. Regulate Cholesterol Levels
I’ve come to realize that many people don’t know exercise can actually improve their cholesterol.
Even low-intensity physical exercise performed in moderation can trigger an increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, or good cholesterol, in our blood.
You can choose any physical activity you enjoy, even if you do it in 10-minute intervals a few times a day, can help you lose weight and improve your cholesterol. The only thing you have to worry about is making sure that you can keep up the changes you decide to make.
4. Lower High Blood Pressure
Including exercise into your life-style routine has been shown to lower blood pressure levels by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury. However, it’s important to be consistent because if you stop exercising, your blood pressure will likely rise again.
If you’re on your way to high blood pressure, also known as prehypertension, exercise can help to prevent developing full-blown hypertension, and if you already have hypertension, regular physical activity can in fact, bring your blood pressure down to safer levels.
The best types of exercise for lowering blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing. Weight lifting can also help reduce blood pressure, but before you go putting that much stress on your body, I suggest talking to your doctor about developing an exercise program.
5. Increase Energy Levels
Several studies have shown that sedentary people who start a regular exercise program experience an increase in energy levels. In on study published on the Psychological Bulletin, the researchers analyzed 70 reports on exercise and fatigue involving more than 6,800 people.
“More than 90% of the studies showed the same thing: Sedentary people who completed a regular exercise program reported improved fatigue compared to groups that did not exercise, it’s a very consistent effect,” as stated by O’Connor.
The results show that regular exercise increases energy and reduces fatigue, and that the average effect showed greater improvements than those from using stimulant medications, including ones used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.
6. Counter Anxiety Symptoms
According to some studies, one vigorous exercise session can help with alleviating severe anxiety symptoms for hours, and a regular schedule may significantly reduce them over time.
Although medication has a positive effect for most people, some recent studies are starting to show these pills may not have a positive effect on anxiety or depression or may not make a strong impact on long-term mental health.
Some people may respond positively and others may find it doesn’t improve their mood much, but with a good exercise session, you’re almost guaranteed to experience less anxiety.
7. Increase Muscle Strength
Exercise can improve your muscular system by increasing your muscle strength. Resistance exercise, such as weightlifting, is the ideal form of exercise for strength training.
A stronger muscular system can generate more force against resistance, and allows you to move heavier weight over greater distances.
The diameter of your muscles expands as they get stronger, which protects your bones and joints from problems, such as osteoporosis and arthritis. To stimulate muscular growth, the National Federation of Personal Trainers recommends heavy weightlifting sets of four to 12 repetitions each.
8. Release Tension From Stress
Studies show that exercise is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function, which can be a life saver when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate.
Exercise and other endorphins — chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers — produced when performing any type of physical activity, have been shown to improve sleep, which studies have also shown reduces stress. Meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy, even breathing deeply can cause your body to produce endorphins.
Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.
9. Enhance Self-Confidence
Self-confidence is a product of what people believe in and what we actively set out to achieve. If you aren’t aware, exercise can be an incredibly helpful tool for achieving a feeling of self-confidence, that can have a positive impact on our everyday lives.
Feeling confident in a rational and realistic manner is a sound safeguard against several physical, mental and emotional obstacles we face throughout our lives.
Whenever you exercise your personal worth increases because it gives you a feeling that you have done something rather than sitting passively and brooding over issues.
10. Support Mood and Well-Being
When you exercise, the body releases chemical substances known as endorphins which relieve stress and make you feel good psychologically. This drastically enhances you mood and overall feeling of well-being and happiness.
Since exercise improves your appearance, the way you view yourself and the way you see others view yourself will improve. If you catch the eyes of the opposite sex, it no doubt makes you feel attractive and proud about your appearance and pumps up your self-confidence.
On some occasions when you are lost in anxious and negative thoughts, doing physical exercise can shake this mindset and make you feel confident and positive.