Why Exercising Isn’t Just For Losing Weight
In a world that is increasingly aware of the effects of weight gain and obesity, exercise and its benefits are more obvious than ever. While much of the focus of exercising is placed on achieving weight loss, this is not the only way in which exercise can be beneficial. People who do not suffer from any type of weight problem will also reap rewards from including physical activity in their lives. When people work out, whether they are at home, using exercise machines, or jogging, they are helping their bodies to become stronger and healthier. The positive results of regular workouts are both immediate and long-term.
Exercise and the Heart
When a person exercises, the muscles of the body get stronger. If the muscles are minimally used, they grow weaker. This is true for the heart as well, as it, too, is a muscle within the body. While a person exercises, the heart works harder and their heart rate increases. When this is done regularly, the heart strengthens and becomes more efficient. This causes an improvement in the way that it pumps blood throughout the body, and it also improves how well oxygen in the body is used. People will notice that as a result of their body pumping more blood per beat, their heart rate is lower. Another benefit of exercise and a stronger heart is that people will be less likely to lose their breath while they are performing certain activities. For a stronger heart, 60 minutes of brisk aerobic exercise should be performed between three and five times a week.
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- Exercise and Your Heart (PDF)
Aerobic exercises are at times also called cardiovascular exercises. These types of exercises are meant to elevate one’s heart rate and cause the body to use more oxygen. Benefits of aerobic (exercise include improvements to the heart, circulatory system, and lungs. Types of aerobic exercise include running or bicycling with the help of gym fitness machines such as the treadmill, your favorite elliptical, max trainer or a stationary bike. Outdoor jogging, bicycling, or swimming are also forms of aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise helps to increase stamina and also helps to lower cholesterol.
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Strength exercises are meant to help the muscles of the body become stronger, but they do not just strengthen the heart. Strength training also builds other muscles, which in turn helps the body to burn more calories. In addition, strength exercises also improve the body’s bone density. These types of workouts are generally performed using some type of equipment, such as dumbbells or resistance machines.
Exercise and Mood
One of the benefits of working out regularly is the release of certain chemicals that have a positive effect on mood or help regulate it, reduce feelings of pain, and essentially make people feel good. These chemicals include endorphins and serotonin. As a result, when people work out, they sleep better and often feel better about themselves. Regular exercise can not only improve one’s mood and alleviate stress, but studies have also shown that it helps to fight certain types of depression. In addition, exercise offers the benefit of boosting one’s self-esteem as a result of positive changes to the body as a direct result of working out. For some people, exercise may be a relaxing activity that allows them to reflect or have quiet time away from stressful issues in their lives.
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Exercise and Disease Risk
When people exercise or perform some form of physical activity for at least 150 minutes a week, they also greatly reduce their risk of developing certain types of health problems and diseases. Both aerobic exercises and strength exercises are beneficial in this way. The risk of Type II diabetes, for example, is lowered by as much as 58 percent. The risk of stroke is also decreased, as is the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer, such as colon cancer.