Below we have an ever growing list of phenomenal facts relating to health, wellness, and the numerous benefits that exercise has on the mind and body.
26. TAP INTO CREATIVITY - Most people end a tough workout with a hot shower, but maybe we should be breaking out the colored pencils instead. A heart-pumping gym session can boost creativity for up to two hours afterwards. Supercharge post-workout inspiration by exercising outdoors and interacting with nature. Next time you need a burst of creative thinking, hit the trails for a long walk or run to refresh the body and the brain at the same time.
25. INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY - Feeling uninspired in the cubicle? The solution might be just a short walk or jog away. Research shows that workers who take time for exercise on a regular basis are more productive and have more energy than their more sedentary peers. While busy schedules can make it tough to squeeze in a gym session in the middle of the day, some experts believe that midday is the ideal time for a workout due to the body’s circadian rhythms.
24. COMBAT DISEASES & HEALTH CONDITIONS - being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol, and it decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Regular exercise helps prevent or manage many health problems and concerns, including:
High blood pressure
Type 2 diabetes
Many types of cancer
23. INCREASE CHANCES OF LONGER LIFE - Studies show that physical activity can reduce your risk of dying early from the leading causes of death, like heart disease and some cancers.
22. REDUCE RISK OF SOME CANCERS - Being physically active lowers your risk for developing several commonly occurring cancers. Research shows that adults who participate in greater amounts of physical activity have reduced risks of developing cancers of the:
Colon (proximal and distal)
Stomach (cardia and non-cardia adenocarcinoma
21. MANAGE BLOOD SUGAR & INSULIN LEVELS - Exercise can lower your blood sugar level and help your insulin work better. This can cut down your risk for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. And if you already have one of those diseases, exercise can help you to manage it.
20. QUIT SMOKING - Exercise may make it easier to quit smoking by reducing your cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It can also help limit the weight you might gain when you stop smoking.
19. BOOST IMMUNE SYSTEM - Exercise seems to play a significant role in preventing colds. This is due to the fact that physical activities, even simple ones such as walking for 30 minutes or moderate jogging, generate a higher number of white blood cells. These, in turn, help your immune system to fight off infections and keep viruses away.
This is especially efficient on the long term. According to studies, individuals who exercise regularly enhance their immunity and reduce the risk of catching colds and flu by half, compared to their sedentary counterparts.
18. BETTER SEX (jackpot!) - Regular exercise has been demonstrated to have unexpected beneficial effects on sex drive and performance of both men and women.
Improved blood circulation, higher energy levels, stronger cardiovascular system, higher flexibility and better self-esteem due to improved physical appearance, are only a few of the exercise-related factors that contribute to a better love life.
A group of women in their 40s observed that they experienced orgasms more frequently when they incorporated more strenuous exercise, such as sprints, boot camps and weight training, into their lifestyles.
Another study performed in 78 sedentary men revealed how 60 minutes of walking per day (three and a half days per week, on average) improved their sexual behavior, including frequency, adequate functioning and satisfaction.
More than that, constant exercise enhances sexual arousal of women and reduces the risk of erectile dysfunction for men.
Exercising has many benefits, but this alone makes it a very worthwhile endeavor!
17. HEALTHIER SKIN - Moderate physical activity improves blood circulation, thus providing oxygen and nutrients to all the cells in our body, including skin cells. This way, they receive the nourishment they require to produce natural antioxidants and protect skin aging.
In addition, exercise reduces skin inflammation, controls skin-related hormones and facilitates the elimination of free radicals from cells.
16. INCREASE ENERGY LEVELS - Regular exercise is a very effective way to counteract fatigue and boost energy levels even for people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome or other illnesses.
During exercise, more oxygen-rich blood is pumped to the lungs and throughout the body and, consequently muscles. When muscles receive more oxygen, you have more energy to take on anything that life throws at you.
15. IMPROVE SLEEP - Studies show that regular physical activities improve the quality of sleep even for people with severe sleep issues, such as insomnia.
One of the reasons is that during workout, the body’s core temperature increases. Consequently, after workout, the temperature drops back to normal while energy stores deplete, indicating the body that it’s time for sleep and the recuperative process.
14. FEEL YOUNGER - Resistance training can increase both the mitochondrial content and the oxidative capacity of muscle tissue. Moreover, some research on older adults with a mean age of 68 years showed a reversal in mitochondrial deterioration that typically occurs with aging, with the older participants experiencing gene expression reversal which resulted in mitochondrial characteristics similar to those in moderately active young adults with a mean age of 24 years.
Overall, the available scientific evidence to date suggests that the health benefits of strength training include a reversal of aging factors in skeletal muscle.
13. REDUCE CHRONIC PAIN - Chronic pain, often defined as pain that lasts over 12 weeks, is a major public health problem. According to a 2011 report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the prevalence of chronic pain in the United States has been estimated to be close to 116 million, which means that approximately half of all American adults are living with chronic pain.
The health benefits of strength training include treating several types of chronic pain, including lower back, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia pain.
Lower back: A large number of randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews have found that exercise reduces pain and improves physical function in people suffering with lower back pain. The efficacy of strength training alone has been examined in fewer trials, with a quantitative review by Haden et al. revealing that strength training is as effective in reducing pain and more effective in improving physical function than aerobic training in those suffering with low back pain.
Osteoarthritis: Research suggests that exercise of all types is effective in reducing osteoarthritic pain, with quantitative reviews that looked at trials utilizing strength training alone, showing a moderate-sized, positive effect of strength training for reducing pain associated with osteoarthritis.
Fibromyalgia: Randomized controlled trials that have examined the effects of strength training alone on pain in fibromyalgia patients have found pain reductions that range from moderate to large, with the evidence supporting the conclusion that strength training alone effectively reduces pain intensity among patients with fibromyalgia.
12. RELIEVE ANXIETY & STRESS - Exercise releases endorphins, which reduces mental tension and creates feelings of happiness and euphoria.
Regardless of its intensity, exercise can increase levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, relieving the brain’s response to stress and anxiety.
Studies have shown that exercise can even alleviate symptoms among the clinically depressed.
11. IMPROVE MEMORY - Regular physical activity boosts memory and ability to learn new things. Exercise increases production of cells in hippocampus responsible for memory and learning. For this reason, research has linked children’s brain development with level of physical fitness. But exercise-based brainpower isn’t just for kids. Working out can boost memory among grown-ups, too. A study showed that running sprints improved vocabulary retention among healthy adults.
"Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning," says Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John Ratey, author of the book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. "Even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain."
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9. EXCELLED BRAIN DEVELOPMENT - Canadian researchers have found that just 20-minute workouts three times a week while pregnant, leads to excelled brain development in your baby.
Researchers from the University of Montreal had 10 pregnant women exercise enough to leave them slightly short of breath at least three times a week. Some women ran, others walked, cycled or swam. Meanwhile, a second group of moms-to-be were only moderately active for around 10 minutes a week. When the babies were born, researchers measured their brain activity, and it was found that the babies whose moms worked out more had more mature brain functions than those born to moms who didn't exercise as much.
While it's not clear why exercise helps the unborn child's brain, it may be because it increases the oxygen supply to the baby, or it may increase production of the brain-boosting protein called BDNF. (This is EFFIN Amazing!)
8. INCREASE MENTAL RESILIENCY - Runner's high gets a lot of hype, but strength training also improves symptoms of clinical depression and anxiety. Exercise-triggered endorphins play a role, but strength training also provides an opportunity to overcome obstacles in a controlled, predictable environment, increasing mental resiliency, according to findings from Harvard Medical School.
7. EFFICIENT WEIGHT LOSS - Exercise science researchers suspect strength training is helpful for weight loss because it helps increase your resting metabolism (meaning the rate at which your body burns calories when you’re just going about your day, not exercising).
A study published in the journal Obesity in November 2017 found that, compared with dieters who didn’t exercise and those who did only aerobic exercise, dieters who did strength training exercises four times a week for 18 months lost the most fat (about 18 pounds, compared with 10 pounds for non-exercisers and 16 pounds for aerobic exercisers).
6. ENHANCE COGNITIVE FUNCTION - Lifting heavy weights increases production of the hormone IGF-1. This hormone is related to the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a neurotransmitter responsible for stimulating the growth of new neural pathways in the brain along with enhancing communication between existing pathways. In short, lifting heavy could make you smarter by enhancing cognitive function.
5. HEALTHIER JOINTS - Flexibility training (stretching) increases blood supply and nutrients to joint structures by increasing tissue temperature, which in turn increases circulation and nutrient transport. This allows greater elasticity of surrounding tissues and increases performance. Stretching also increases joint synovial fluid, which is a lubricating fluid that promotes the transport of more nutrients to the joints’ atricular cartilage. This allows a greater range of motion and reduces joint degeneration.
4. NORMALIZE RESTING BP - Cardiorespiratory conditioning reduces resting heart rate and normalizes resting blood pressure. Additional benefits of cardiovascular conditioning include reduced stress levels and fatigue along with improved self-confidence.
3. PROTECT MENTAL HEALTH - Exercise protects the brain and nervous system and helps to improve brain and nerve function. Research has shown that regular exercise can protect cells in the brain and nerves from the injury or erosion that normally occurs with neurodegenerative and neuromuscular disorders like Alzheimer’s and MS (multiple sclerosis). This means that exercise can also minimize the risk of dementia.
2. INCREASE BRAIN FUNCTION - Exercise and other physical activity can enhance nerve growth factors which are known to support the endurance and growth of several nerve cells. This stimulation of nerve cell growth ultimately leads to increased brain functioning through improvement of certain types of learning. This exercise-induced improvement in mental health also helps to prevent depression.
1. STRENGTHEN BONES - Exercise has been known to strengthen bones by causing an increase in the bone mineral density by increasing the rate at which minerals like calcium are deposited in the bones. Since bones naturally become weaker as people age, older adults are at a high risk for bone fractures. However, moderate to strenuous exercise has been known to reduce the risk of older adults getting a fracture in the heels, hips and other bones.
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