Everyone already knows that exercise is good for the body. It’s been taught in school, endlessly marketed in ads and commercials, and even indoctrinated in kids as they grow up.
The real question is, do you know exactly how good exercise is for you?
A lot of people believe that exercising and working out are all about getting that perfectly-toned and chiseled physique.
Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Exercise
In reality, exercise gives us both mental and physical benefits, a great combination for a healthy and happy life.
When we exercise, not only do we burn unwanted fat and shape our muscles, our brain also produces specific hormones that help us feel better and happier.
What the Brain Does When We Exercise
Exercising leads to a series of chemical changes in our brain, mainly due to the increase in blood flow and the new neural pathways it creates. Regardless of how light or intense our physical activity is, the brain responds by releasing certain hormones that affect our body differently.
Among these hormones are endorphins, natural painkillers which give us that high-and-happy feeling after we finish exercising.
Endorphins also help reduce discomfort, allowing you to move your body almost normally even after a heavy workout.
This hormone also improves self-esteem, which is why most people automatically feel better about themselves after completing their workout session.
Dopamine, a chemical neurotransmitter normally found in the body, is also increased as we undergo physical activity. This is quite significant since dopamine plays a sizable role in affecting a person’s mood, concentration and muscle control, among other things.
High levels of dopamine have also been shown to increase a person’s sense of motivation especially towards positive goals, which is probably why people continue to go to the gym despite the hardships of working out.
Testosterone is another important hormone as it affects muscle growth, metabolism and even libido. If a person’s testosterone levels drop to a certain rate, that person can be prone to obesity and depression. Regularly participating in physical exercises can greatly raise one’s testosterone levels and maintain them at a healthy range.
Serotonin works similarly with endorphins and dopamine in that they are our body’s natural happy pills. Aside from helping us feel more stable and calm, serotonin can also assist in regulating one’s appetite, mood and sleep patterns.
Naturally, regular exercise also does wonders against stress and depression, since having the brain produce the happy hormones previously discussed can counter the production of stress-inducing hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. If left uncontrolled and untreated for an extended period of time, these stress hormones can cause several mental illnesses that can also lead to physical manifestations.
Learn More: How to Workout Like a Fashion Model
Muscle and Bone Conditioning
When we work out, the usual goal in mind is to lose weight. However, without noticing, we also build and strengthen the muscles and bones in our body whenever we exercise.
This is helped by the fact that when we undergo physical activity, the body releases hormones that increase the muscle’s ability to absorb amino acids, which are helpful in muscle growth and nourishment.
Regular exercise can also help build a person’s bone density, which can come in handy later in life as we try to avoid aging bone conditions like osteoporosis. High-impact activities like sports and gymnastics are great choices to augment your bone density.
Getting to the gym and exercising effectively and harmlessly is probably one of the most important things. Hiring a certified personal trainer or joining a commercial gym is a good way to ensure that you meet your personal fitness goals.
Remember that our muscles and bones will gradually deteriorate as we age, losing significant mass and function over time. However, regular physical activity can greatly lessen the rate at which our bones and muscles decline by maintaining strength as we get older instead.
Studies also show that people who exercise age slower, at least at the cellular level, leading to longer lives.
Learn More: Best At-Home Cardio Workouts
People Who Exercise Sleep Better
Several studies have been made to prove the correlation between exercise and sleep. In one study, the results showed that moderately exercising at least two hours a week can improve sleep quality by up to 65%.
In another case, people with insomnia were subjected to regular exercise over sixteen weeks straight, and as time progressed, they were able to sleep more deeply and longer than before the experiment.
According to experts, the energy spent exercising during the day helps stimulate further recuperation once the body enters sleep, leading to a better quality of rest. It also helps the cycle continue – better sleep leads to a more energized feeling the next day, so you can exercise again.
Exercise is a lot more beneficial to the body than most people think. Keeping a daily routine to maintain physical activity can also do wonders in keeping your skin young-looking and with a certain glow.
The cardiovascular system is easily boosted if you exercise consistently, enhancing your body’s overall blood circulation and muscle control, which can also mean improving your sex life.
Concluding Thoughts – How Exercise Improves Your Health and Happiness
The mental and physical improvement that comes from regular physical activity is imperative in prolonging your life span and improving your overall health. It is highly recommended to keep an active lifestyle to strengthen the body and avoid chronic diseases.
Read Next: How to Lose Weight on a Budget