It’s common knowledge that exercise is associated with weight loss and general health. It’s also important in order to prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes. Let’s talk about some lesser known benefits of regular physical activity.
ENDURANCE EXERCISE CAN SLOW DOWN THE AGING PROCESS
In addition to keeping your body healthy, it can literally keep you looking and feeling young. Little organs inside our cells called mitochondria, are responsible for determining how fast our cells grow and die. When we’re young, our cells are continuously going through the cycle of cell growth and death and growth again, but as we get older this process can take a nosedive. This slower rate of cell regrowth is what leads to signs of aging like wrinkles, thin loose skin, and slower metabolism. One of the best things you can do to help revitalize these little mitochondria is by staying active. Exercise literally speeds everything up in your body and changes your cells from being old and damaged to young and healthy. So with regular exercise, you get younger and healthier tissues, improved heart function, and an overall more youthful appearance.
The mitochondria are called the powerhouses of the cell because not only do they keep your cells growing at a rapid rate, they’re also responsible for generating energy. If you’ve noticed that you’ve been more tired, sluggish, and dependent on cups of coffee to stay awake, your aging mitochondria might be the culprit. As you age, there is less energy being generated for the body to run on. Being physically active can improve your muscle strength and increase endurance. This is because physical activity delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy. By sticking to a regular exercise plan, you’ll have increased energy, better mobility, and healthier organs.
IT IMPROVES YOUR MOOD
Had a hard day at work? Exercise can be a great way to blow off steam after a stressful day. Physical activity stimulates the brain that leaves you feeling happier and more relaxed. You also feel better about yourself and the way you look when you exercise regularly, and it increases your confidence and improves your self-esteem. Jumping on the treadmill or going for a walk helps to release tension by increasing brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine, which act as natural antidepressants leading to improved mood and decreased anxiety. Exercise also releases endorphins, which creates feelings of happiness and euphoria. Studies have shown that moderate intensity exercise for at least 3 times a week can actually reduce symptoms of depression about as effectively as antidepressants. Working out also prevents you from mentally replaying the day in your head by altering your blood flow from your brain to the areas its needed most.
If you’re not convinced to go out and join a gym yet, this should change your mind. Feeling too tired or being out of shape can affect your chances of enjoying intimacy. Regular activity can leave you feeling energized and looking better which can have a positive effect on your sex life. For women, sex is all about the mindset, so exercise can be especially beneficial as it relieves stress and releases endorphins washing away any tension leading to enhanced arousal. For men, good blood flow is key as regular exercise boosts circulation and keeps the arteries open and blood pumping resulting in better performance. For both men and women, good blood flow helps with lubrication, genital sensation, and exercise increases testosterone which increases libido. Sexual activity can also double as exercise burning extra calories giving you a good full body workout.
EXERCISE LETS YOU EAT MORE
Pound for pound muscle burns more calories at rest than body fat, so the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism. This means that not only do you burn calories during exercise but you also burn calories when resting. Can you eat anything you want? Of course not. This means that having a cookie once in a while isn't going to completely derail your diet. So when you exercise regularly, you can afford to enjoy some of the foods you really like. You can get away with those things in moderation more than you can when you're not working out.
EXERCISE MAKES YOU SMARTER, MORE PRODUCTIVE AND MORE CREATIVE
Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning. When you engage in physical activity, it increases the level of brain chemicals called growth factors which help us learn. This is especially apparent when learning new complicated activities that rely on coordination because it enhances our attention and concentration skills. Activity also increases blood flow to your brain by 15% delivering fresh oxygen and also helping to stave off age related diseases like Alzheimer’s. If you’re feeling uninspired or unproductive, the solution can be just a few jumping jacks away. Studies show that employees who took time to exercise are more productive at work and a heart pumping gym session can boost creativity for up to two hours afterward.
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