exercise health benefits

Exercise Provides At Least 3 Remarkable Benefits

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Exercise For Health Benefits

Exercise has many great benefits, but they are not only for your physical health. Exercise can help improve:

  • Mental health
  • Physical Health
  • Heart Health
  • Weight Loss

Exercise For Improved Mental Health

Have you ever noticed how good you feel after you exercise? Or have you heard of something called a ‘runner’s high?’ There is scientific basis to these claims!

When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These chemical messengers interact with receptors in your brain and actually reduce the perception of pain. They also trigger good, happy feelings in the body that are similar to morphine. The difference between exercise and morphine (or other pain medications) is that there are no negative side effects to exercise.

Exercise for Physical Health

Exercise has wide and varied positive effects on the physical body.

By raising your heart rate with exercise for prolonged periods of time consistently, you can protect your heart from aging and strengthen its contractions. When you exercise regularly, your resting heart rate actually lowers because your heart can pump more efficiently. A normal heart rate is 60-100 beats per minute, but some elite athletes have resting heart rates well below 60 beats per minute.

Exercising regularly also lowers blood pressure because of the increased efficiency of the heart beat. It also  improves blood flow, by increasing the amount of smaller vessels to organs and muscles.

It is well known that exercising also helps with maintaining a healthy weight. Along with maintaining a healthy weight and waistline, exercising builds muscle tone and strength.

These physical factors (weight loss, improved muscle tone and strength), along with the positive mental affects, exercise leads to an improved self-esteem.

Regular Exercise Has Been Proven To:

  • Reduce stress
  • Lower incidences of anxiety and depression
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Improve sleep

What Form of Exercise is Best?

The type of exercise that is best for you depends on your personal preference, as well as your baseline health.

If you have never exercised in your life and you’d like to begin now (yay!) it is best to start slow and increase in frequency and intensity as you get more comfortable. This is the best way to avoid injuring yourself.

If you are someone who has abdominal weight gain and very low energy, it is best to speak with a trusted practitioner before adding in an intense exercise program. When we see a person with very low energy and abdominal weight gain, we may suspect that their stress hormone, cortisol is affected and causing this picture. If their cortisol is in fact affected, intense exercise will not help with weight loss and it will actually worsen their energy. If you suffer from chronic stress, weight gain and low energy, read about cortisol and its effects here.

Yoga or Pilates for Gentle Exercise Choices 

Yoga and pilates are great choices for adding in more gentle exercise programs. These exercises may be beneficial for someone who has never worked out before or who has an injury and requires a slower, more gentle approach. That is not to say that yoga and pilates won’t help you lose weight or give you the same benefits as jogging, for example.

Yoga and pilates are fantastic exercise options when taking into consideration an ageing body that needs a gentle approach. They are also great for increasing flexibility of the joint and improving joint stability and balance.

Here are some points to show why flexibility exercises are beneficial:

  • It’s less stress on the joints.
  • It’s great for flexibility, strength, balance.
  • It teaches effective breathing techniques.
  • It helps with stress and emotional well-being.

Why is Aerobic Activity Good?

You want to keep your heart healthy with aerobic exercises. Whether you’re an athlete or not, aerobic activity increases your endurance. As a result, you can perform better in everything, whether it be work, sports, or school. Good examples of aerobic activity include:

  • Walking, hiking, jogging or running
  • Biking
  • Swimming

What About Strength Training?

Weight training can help keep your muscles strong. Strong, healthy muscles take the load off the joints (i.e. there is less stress on the knee joint when the quad muscles are healthy and strong). Strong muscles act like shock absorbers for the joints.

Exercise for Everyone

Overall, you want to have a balance of all types of exercise. There’s less chance of injury with people who have strong muscles and flexible, supported joints.

At Bay Wellness Centre, we consider exercise to be a small part of the journey to optimal health. We always aim to address the whole body when working with our patients, so we will address lifestyle factors, including exercise.

If you’re feeling unsure about how to add exercise into your daily routine, getting the help of a professional can make your journey a lot easier. At Bay Wellness Centre, we work closely with Ryan Lacey, a kinesiologist and personal trainer, of Results Training and Conditioning.