Benefits of exercising daily

There are a lot of ways in which we can rejuvenate our day, exercise is certainly the best way we can make our day a better one. Morning workouts are always effective as they help to cherish our mood and engulf positivity in us. People who do regular activity have a lower risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some cancers. Exercise is defined as any movement that makes your muscles work and requires your body to burn calories. There are many types of physical activity, including swimming, running, jogging, walking and dancing, to name a few. Being active has been shown to have many health benefits, both physically and mentally. It may even help you live longer.

Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. “If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented,” says Dr Nick Cavill, a health promotion consultant.

12 reasons why you need to exercise everyday

1. Exercise aids in weight loss

It can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn. Regular trips to the gym are great, but don’t worry if you can’t find a large chunk of time to exercise every day. To reap the benefits of exercise, just get more active throughout your day — take the stairs instead of the elevator or rev up your household chores. Consistency is key.

To understand the effect of exercise on weight reduction, it is important to understand the relationship between exercise and energy expenditure. Your body spends energy in three ways: digesting food, exercising and maintaining body functions like your heartbeat and breathing. While dieting, a reduced calorie intake will lower your metabolic rate, which will delay weight loss. On the contrary, regular exercise has been shown to increase your metabolic rate, which will burn more calories and help you lose weight. Additionally, studies have shown that combining aerobic exercise with resistance training can maximize fat loss and muscle mass maintenance, which is essential for keeping the weight off.

2. Exercise alleviates your mood

Exercise has been shown to improve your mood and decrease feelings of depression, anxiety and stress. It produces changes in the parts of the brain that regulate stress and anxiety. It can also increase brain sensitivity for the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which relieve feelings of depression. Additionally, exercise can increase the production of endorphins, which are known to help produce positive feelings and reduce the perception of pain. Furthermore, exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms in people suffering from anxiety. It can also help them be more aware of their mental state and practice distraction from their fears. Interestingly, it doesn’t matter how intense your workout is.

It seems that your mood can benefit from exercise no matter the intensity of the physical activity. In fact, a study in 24 women who had been diagnosed with depression showed that exercise of any intensity significantly decreased feelings of depression. The effects of exercise on mood are so powerful that choosing to exercise (or not) even makes a difference over short periods. One study asked 26 healthy men and women who normally exercised regularly to either continue exercising or stop exercising for two weeks. Those who stopped exercising experienced increases in negative mood.

3. Exercise reduces the risk of cardiac disorders

Get out of the medicine cabinet and reduce your risk of heart disease the natural way. A meta-review of a variety of studies and trials conducted by researchers in 2013 ­— encompassing 305 trials with more than 339,000 participants — found that no statistically detectable differences existed between those who exercised and those who were given medications in the prevention of coronary heart disease and pre diabetes.

In fact, in those patients who already had suffered a stroke, physical activity interventions were more effective than drug treatment. Work with your doctor to set up an exercise plan that works for you. Exercise is one of the best things you can do to keep your heart healthy and reduce your risk of developing stroke or coronary heart disease. In fact, regular exercise can reduce your chance of cardiovascular disease by a third. Every year in the UK, over 41,000 people die from stroke and around 74,000 from coronary heart disease.

4. Exercise makes your muscles and bones strong

Exercise plays a vital role in building and maintaining strong muscles and bones. Physical activity like weight lifting can stimulate muscle building when paired with adequate protein intake. This is because exercise helps release hormones that promote the ability of your muscles to absorb amino acids. This helps them grow and reduces their breakdown. As people age, they tend to lose muscle mass and function, which can lead to injuries and disabilities. Practicing regular physical activity is essential to reducing muscle loss and maintaining strength as you age. Physical activity helps build bone density when you’re younger, in addition to helping prevent osteoporosis later in life. Interestingly, high-impact exercise, such as gymnastics or running, or odd-impact sports, such as soccer and basketball, have been shown to promote a higher bone density than non-impact sports like swimming and cycling.

5. Exercise can increase your energy levels

Exercise can be a real energy booster for healthy people, as well as those suffering from various medical conditions. One study found that six weeks of regular exercise reduced feelings of fatigue for 36 healthy people who had reported persistent fatigue.  Furthermore, exercise can significantly increase energy levels for people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and other serious illnesses. In fact, exercise seems to be more effective at combating CFS than other treatments, including passive therapies like relaxation and stretching, or no treatment at all. Additionally, exercise has been shown to increase energy levels in people suffering from progressive illnesses, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and multiple sclerosis.

6. Daily physical activity betters your skin health

Your skin can be affected by the amount of oxidative stress in your body. Oxidative stress occurs when the body’s antioxidant defenses cannot completely repair the damage that free radicals cause to cells. This can damage their internal structures and deteriorate your skin. Even though intense and exhaustive physical activity can contribute to oxidative damage, regular moderate exercise can increase your body’s production of natural antioxidants, which help protect cells. In the same way, exercise can stimulate blood flow and induce skin cell adaptations that can help delay the appearance of skin aging.

7. Exercise promotes a lower cholesterol

As most men get older, cholesterol numbers begin to move in the wrong direction. Levels of so-called bad cholesterol — low-density lipoprotein (LDL) — gradually increase. Levels of good cholesterol, called high-density lipoprotein (HDL), tend to fall. Unfortunately, that combination of high LDL and low HDL is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease. Excess cholesterol accumulates on the inner lining of blood vessels, leading to arthrosclerosis and heart attacks. The best way to keep LDL cholesterol levels down is to eat a diet low in saturated fat (the kind found in meat and high-fat dairy products.) The single best way to boost good HDL cholesterol? Exercise. A 2007 Danish study of 835 men found that regular physical activity was consistently associated with higher levels of HDL cholesterol. A meta-analysis of 52 exercise training trials, including 4700 subjects, found that HDL levels increased an average of 4.6 percent — enough to take a significant notch out of heart disease risk.

8. Daily exercise increases strength and flexibility

If strength training and stretching aren’t a part of your fitness routine, it’s time to incorporate them. Though many adults engage in cardio activities, quite a few stay away from resistance training and building muscle — and that’s a mistake.

Strength training, whether you’re lifting weights, doing body weight exercises or incorporating yoga moves, helps improve muscle strength and muscle mass, particularly important as we age. It also keeps bones strong, thus serving as a great natural treatment for osteoporosis. Plus, increased muscle helps your body burn calories more efficiently long after your workout is over. And don’t forget about stretching: It increases your body’s flexibility, helping everyday tasks become easier. It also sends more blood to your muscles, improving circulation, and can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Just a few minutes a day of deep stretching can make a difference.

9. Exercise improves memory and self-confidence

Are you constantly misplacing your keys or struggling to recall names? Exercising regularly can help jog your memory. A 2014 study found that aerobic exercise, like running or swimming, boosts the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning, in women with a recognized risk factor for dementia. Besides looking to brain food to boost your memory and mental skills, start breaking a sweat!

Feeling down on yourself? Exercising can help you feel better about yourself — no matter what type of workout you do or how fit you are. One study found that “the simple act of exercise and not fitness itself can convince you that you look better.” With so much emphasis on our outward appearances in society today, it’s comforting to know that one of the benefits of exercise helps people feel better about themselves and how they look naturally.

10. Exercise reduces the risk of cancer

You’re less likely to develop certain cancers if you meet the weekly recommended amount of exercise (150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week). Your risk of breast and bowel cancer can be up to 25 percent lower if you’re active compared with people who aren’t. Also, if you’re a woman and are regularly active, you have a third less risk of developing womb cancer than women who are inactive. Some studies have shown that exercise may also reduce your risk of other cancers, such as lung and prostate cancer. But there isn’t enough evidence as yet to say this for certain. Keeping active and exercising regularly will, on the whole, help you maintain a healthy body weight, This, in turn, reduces your risk of cancer, because being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for developing cancer.

11. Exercise makes you less susceptible to any disease

From fortifying your immune system against future cancers to reducing the risk of breast cancer, regular exercise helps protect your body. Although researchers aren’t entirely sure how exercise boosts immunity, theories range from bacteria being flushed out of the body to a reduction in stress-released hormones that might increase the risk of illness. While we wait for the science to catch up, it’s clear that engaging in moderate to intense exercise benefits your body in ways we’re not even sure of yet.

12. Exercise improves sleep

Regular exercise can help you relax and sleep better. In regards to sleep quality, the energy depletion that occurs during exercise stimulates recuperative processes during sleep. Moreover, the increase in body temperature that occurs during exercise is thought to improve sleep quality by helping it drop during sleep.Many studies on the effects of exercise on sleep have reached similar conclusions. One study found that 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity per week can provide up to a 65% improvement in sleep quality. Another showed that 16 weeks of physical activity increased sleep quality and helped 17 people with insomnia sleep longer and more deeply than the control group. It also helped them feel more energized during the day. What’s more, engaging in regular exercise seems to be beneficial for the elderly, who tend to be affected by sleep disorders. You can be flexible with the kind of exercise you choose. It appears that either aerobic exercise alone or aerobic exercise combined with resistance training can equally help sleep quality.

Modern hurdles in the way of regular exercise

People are less active nowadays, partly because technology has made our lives easier. We drive cars or take public transport. Machines wash our clothes. We entertain ourselves in front of a TV or computer screen. Fewer people are doing manual work, and most of us have jobs that involve little physical effort. Work, house chores, shopping and other necessary activities are far less demanding than for previous generations.

 We move around less and burn off less energy than people used to. Research suggests that many adults spend more than seven hours a day sitting down, at work, on transport or in their leisure time. People aged over 65 spend 10 hours or more each day sitting or lying down, making them the most sedentary age group.

To stay healthy, adults should try to be active daily and aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity over a week through a variety of activities.

For most people, the easiest way to get moving is to make activity part of everyday life, like walking or cycling instead of using the car to get around. However, the more you do, the better, and taking part in activities such as sports and exercise will make you even healthier. For any type of activity to benefit your health, you need to be moving quick enough to raise your heart rate, breathe faster and feel warmer. This level of effort is called moderate intensity activity. One way to tell if you’re working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk but you can’t sing the words to a song. If your activity requires you to work even harder, it is called vigorous intensity activity. There is substantial evidence that vigorous activity can bring health benefits over and above that of moderate activity. You can tell when it’s vigorous activity because you’re breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate has gone up quite a bit. If you’re working at this level, you won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.

How much exercise do you need to reap these health benefits?

The answer to how much exercise you need depends partly on what you’re after. Burning about 1,000 extra calories a week in activities is likely to extend your life. Walking half an hour most days of the week is all you need to significantly lower your risk of colon cancer and diabetes. But the more physical activities you can weave into your daily life, the healthier you’ll be. “Most studies of physical activity show a strong dose-response rate,” says exercise expert Steven Blair. “The more you do, the more you benefit.”

Add it all up and an active life also means a longer and healthier life. In a 2004 study at Finland’s University of Kuopio, researchers followed 15,853 men aged 30 to 59. Over a 20 year period, men who engaged in physically active leisure activities — jogging, skiing, swimming, playing ball, or doing serious gardening — were up to 21% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease or to die of any cause during the study period.

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