We've all been there, sitting on the couch watching TV after a long day of completing a never-ending to do list. The last thing on our minds is to get up and hit the gym. We often contemplate if exercise is worth making time for. So why should you exercise and what are the benefits?
Exercising has numerous benefits! From mental clarity to strengthening the muscles throughout the body; working out has proven to be the number one way to prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and many more (1). Exercise allows you to live a longer, healthier, and fuller life. One of the main reasons why people choose to exercise is to be able to play with their grandkids in their old age or to not feel winded going up the stairs. Exercising produces wonderful health benefits that can lead to a better quality of life.
Improves Cardiorespiratory Efficiency
When exercising, the body requires more oxygen and the heart needs to pump faster to meet the demands of the activity. The respiratory and cardiovascular system works together to deliver oxygenated blood to the working muscles. The working muscles are able to produce energy called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). The more efficient your cardiorespiratory system is, the better an individual can work without getting winded.
Decreases Body Fat and Increases Lean Muscle Mass
To lose one pound of fat, there needs to be a deficit of 3,500 calories. When combining diet and exercise, an individual can decrease their body fat percentage and increase their lean muscle mass. Those who desire to lose weight can remember the simple 80/20 Rule: 80% diet, 20% exercise. Incorporating strength training to your cardio workout program can increase lean muscle mass. According to Christopher Wharton, PhD, a researcher at Health Lifestyles Research Center, ‘At rest, 10 pounds of fat can burn 20 calories, while 10 pounds of muscle can burn 50 calories in a day’.
Sleep is very important to our overall health and wellbeing. Regular physical activity allows the body to raise its core temperature. When our bodies return to the normal core temperature after exercising, it can release a feeling of sleepiness.This can help improve your quality of sleep.
Getting a full 8 hours of sleep is imperative to weight loss. Our body produces hunger hormones, leptin and ghrelin. Inadequate sleep can greatly affect these hormones. When we are hungry, our stomach produces the hormone ghrelin. Ghrelin increases when we have poor quality of sleep, thus causing our bodies to feel more hungry than we actually are. Leptin is the hormone that communicates from gut to brain that the stomach is full. Sleeping for a full 8 hours rest every night can help restore balance to our hunger hormones.
Improves Mood and Energy
When exercising, the body produces the chemical called endorphins. Endorphins relieve stress, tension, and pain. Working out allows our body to release these endorphins, to put us in a better mood, relieve tension from our muscles, and manage stress.
Overall, exercising is a great way to relieve stress, prevent chronic diseases, improve quality of life, and may help with weight loss goals! Regular physical activity will help you live a long, active life. Take control of your health and start today!
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevalence of
physical activity, including lifestyle activities among adults—
United States, 2000-2001. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep.