Medically Reviewed By | Dr. Kate Panawash, PT, NCS, DPT
Yes, exercising feels good, but it feels even better when you know just how deep the benefits run. Exercise is great for building muscle and losing weight, but above all else, it is great for your holistic health.
Regular exercise can promote everything from a healthier heart to better sleep. By keeping up with regular physical activity, you can support your health and well-being in ways you didn’t even realize.
What Are the Health Benefits of Physical Activity?
Many people exercise to improve their muscle mass, lose body fat, or train for specific sports. While these benefits are great, they are far from the only ones. Physical activity can significantly impact your quality of life in general.
The following are some of the most significant health benefits of exercise.
1. Heart Health
Your heart is your engine, and using that engine keeps it running strong. Aerobic exercise gets your heart pushing more oxygen to your muscles, keeps your heart strong, and can even reduce your risk of heart disease.
Exercising is so good for your heart that athletes often actually have a slower heart rate. Like any muscle, the more you put your heart to work, the stronger and more efficient it gets at doing its job. This means that the heart can better pump oxygen and nutrients throughout the various parts of the body, from the brain to the muscles and beyond.
On top of the benefits for the heart itself, there are also multiple benefits for the veins and arteries that lead to it. Aerobic exercise can help lower the bad cholesterol in your arteries, which reduces your risk of plaque buildup that can lead to blockages. By promoting healthy circulation, exercise also helps you reduce high blood pressure. “Exercise is a powerful tool for maintaining or improving cardiovascular health,” notes Katelyn Panawash, Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and Board Certified Neurologic Clinical Specialist (NCS).
2. Mental Health
Regular physical activity is great not only for your physical health but also for your mental health. Aerobic exercise offers several benefits for the mind. Regular exercise promotes a more positive mood,a healthy mindset, and overall well-being.
Every time you work out, your body releases what are called endorphins.Endorphins are a type of hormone released through the nervous system that makes you feel happier. These chemicals relieve pain and reduce stress to support a healthier mood and mental state. Regular exercise helps maintain those happy hormones flowing through the body for better long-term mental health.
3. Better Brain Health
Exercise can promote better brain health by getting your blood flowing throughout the body. Physical activity offers several benefits for the brain, like maintaining healthy thinking and learning skills, improving memory formation, and supportingoverall cognitive health.
These benefits are especially important for supporting your brain health as you age. A regular exercise routine may even help slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease for those who are at risk for the condition.
4. A Healthy Body Weight
Many people want to shed a few pounds but have a hard time doing so. One of the best ways to reach and maintain a healthy body weight is to keep up with regular exercise. Exercise helps you burn calories and use the food you eat as energy to achieve healthy weight loss.
Exercise also supports better metabolic health so that your body can convert your food into useful energy. As a result, you can minimize weight gain while using the calories to build muscle and get stronger instead.
5. Lower Likelihood of Chronic Disease
An active lifestyle can lower your risk for several health conditions, like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Physical activity can also promote healthy bone density and reduce your risk of osteoporosis.
Plus, on top of reducing your risk for chronic disease, physical activity helps to manage chronic disease symptoms. For example, motion can help to alleviate some of the painful symptoms of arthritis.
That’s not all, though; regular exercise may also help lower blood sugar for people with diabetes and help support improved thinking skills for people with dementia. Targeted exercise on specific muscle groups can also help to alleviate pain.
For example, working the muscles in your core can help to provide more support for your spine and may reduce back pain. Altogether, exercise should be a priority for holistic health.
6. A Positive Self-Image
If you have ever looked in the mirror after a workout and gotten excited about your results, you know how exercise can boost your confidence and self-image. Exercise can help promote better self-esteem in many ways. For one, the chemical endorphins the brain releases during exercise help improve your self-image.
At the same time, engaging in self-improvement allows you to get excited about the results. Whether you lose body fat or gain muscle mass, you will enjoy seeing your progress just as much as you enjoy the actual physical activity.
Still, this positive self-image is just one example of how physical activity helps to improve your overall quality of life.
7. Better Sleep
Keeping in motion can help those struggling with insomnia by promoting better sleep. Between its ability to relax your mind and simply tire you out, exercise helps you engage in a deep sleep at night.
As little as 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day maysupport better sleep that same night. Exercise at least one to two hours before bed, so it doesn’t keep you awake. Of course, everyone is different, so you should experiment with the timing of your workout to see when exercising provides you with the most benefits.
8. A Stronger Immune System
Movement can even help boost your body’s defenses against sickness by supporting a healthy immune system. Regular exercise can mobilize the white blood cells in the immune system that fight pathogens, so your body can better fight off disease and illnesses more effectively.
Exercise can also raise body temperature to kill outside bacteria and remove bacteria from the lungs. As a result, you are likely to enjoy fewer illnesses and less inflammation.
9. Healthier Aging
Keeping in motion can pay huge dividends in the present and down the road. The body loves momentum — the more that you move, the more that the body can keep moving. Maintaining a regular exercise routine can support your body’s ability to stay active as you age, promoting better strength and a healthy range of motion.
“Regular exercise can also help maintain bone density and preservation of muscle. Both are harder to maintain as we age,” Panawash highlights.
Staying active also helps you stay in tune with your body to reduce the risk of falling and getting injured in older age. “Staying active throughout the day and with exercise can naturally help maintain balance, but it’s also recommended to work balance-related exercises into your program for added challenges,” adds Panawash.
Given everything you’ve heard so far, it may not come as a surprise that some studies have even shown that adults who exercise regularly may live longer than those who do not. Exercise should be a regular part of your schedule, regardless of age.
“Our bodies continue to change over our lifetimes. Working with a Physical Therapist is a great way to learn what your body needs to keep up with the lifestyle you want to maintain as you age. They are experts at understanding how different medical diagnoses impact your physical well-being and will ensure you are safe with your exercise routine,” says Panawash.
What Exercise Is Best?
After seeing all the benefits of movement, the only remaining question is which movement is best for your health. The incredible part is that it is largely up to you, as any aerobic exercise that gets your heart pumping and muscles active is good for providing you with the above benefits.
Excellent examples of aerobic exercises include:
- Playing a sport
Ultimately, the best exercise is the one you don’t give up on — the most important thing is staying active. Therefore, you should choose an exercise you enjoy and know that you can keep up with regularly.
Keep Active With Incrediwear
Altogether, regular exercise is great for your physical and mental health. Still, despite all the benefits of regular exercise, many factors can prevent you from keeping it up — especially pain and discomfort. Fortunately, you don’t have to let pain or discomfort get in the way of your activity when you have the help of Incrediwear.
Incrediwear offers a complete collection of wearable recovery technology, likeknee sleeves and shoulder braces, to support the body’s natural healing process and reduce discomfort. Each one of our products uses our semiconductor technology to boost your blood flow for better performance.
Explore our complete collection of recovery wear products for yourself and see how they can keep you active and in motion.
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