By Cheshire Que, RND, RN, RD
hat is the first thing that crosses your mind when you think of the word exercise? Weight loss, right? Albeit essential to any weight management program, the benefits of exercise must not be solely limited to its role in making one lose weight. In reality, exercising without proper nutrition will not result to significant weight loss. This leads us to ponder on whether exercising is worth the effort and energy at all. And science says it is! Because exercising has other health benefits that promote overall wellbeing, improved quality of life, and longevity.
Exercise improves blood circulation, oxygenating and nourishing the cells in the body effectively. After all, what is the use of eating healthy food and taking all those supplements if the nutrients are not well absorbed and distributed in the body?
Each time an individual engages in any form of exercise or even just by doing a physical activity, the lungs expand and take in more life-giving oxygen. The heart rate elevates as blood flow increases to supply more oxygenated blood to the muscles. As a result, the body becomes stronger and fitter. Regular exercise decreases one’s resting heart rate and blood pressure. Both indicators positively impact the risk of developing chronic illness that not only affects the quality of life but also causes premature deaths.
Exercise also enables the body to be more sensitive to the hormone insulin. This helps the body absorb its primary source of fuel—sugar in the form of glucose. People who have diabetes mellitus will be able to effectively manage their blood glucose level if they move around a lot and exercise on a regular basis.
During exercise, pores are opened to flush out toxins that are only expelled through vigorous sweating. The skin’s natural glow due to the flow of oxygenated blood and nutrients is noticeable.
When it comes to battling depression, exercise has shown to be as potent as anti-depressant medications in terms of improving the mood. Production of brain neurotransmitters or the so called happy hormones are triggered by exercise. One of these hormones, the serotonin, is a precursor of the sleep hormone melatonin.
Increased blood flow to the brain during exercise promotes the growth and development of more neurons also known as brain cells. This process helps with memory enhancement that is crucial, especially as we mature in age and the threat of dementia is just around the corner. Mature adults must remain physically active while taking into considerations limitations in flexibility and mobility. Any form of movement throughout the day is beneficial.
Exercising regularly, especially those that involve weight bearing, makes the bones stronger. This prevents osteoporosis, which is common among mature adults. Exercise releases hormones that enable the bones to efficiently absorb calcium that greatly impacts bone mass. Healthy bones maintain good posture.
The benefits of exercise are not just experienced from within but also radiates through our skin. During exercise, pores are opened to flush out toxins that are only expelled through vigorous sweating. The skin’s natural glow due to the flow of oxygenated blood and nutrients is noticeable. This also prevents acne formation.
The next time you get tempted to skip on your workout or be a couch champion, think about the many benefits of exercising. Overcome the temptation by putting on your workout clothes and get moving. You will surely not regret it after sweating it off for an hour because your will feel energized, look better, and live longer.