You have heard that exercise is good for you and that it’s a necessity, but do you know how exercise benefits you? From your appearance to your mind, there are thousands of scientific studies that have highlighted a variety of proven benefits of exercise.
Exercise for Weight Loss and Muscle Building
Burn More Calories: On paper, weight loss is simple: burn more calories than you consume each day. Exercise demands energy, which you get from calories. Studies show that when combined with a healthy diet, exercise promotes fat loss and helps with weight management via burning calories.
Increase EPOC Levels: High-intensity, short-duration workouts will dramatically increase calorie burning during exercise and for hours afterward. When you perform intense exercise, your body enters an oxygen deficit. Known as Excess Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), this is when your body is trying to pay back its oxygen debt, and it requires excess calories to do so. Higher EPOC levels have been associated with greater calorie burning and fat loss post-exercise.
More Muscle Growth: Studies show that resistance exercise directly supports muscle building, regardless of whether you want to be big and bulky or solid and lean. Muscle growth occurs when you force your body to adapt to bodyweight-based or weight-bearing resistance exercises. In response to training, the body promotes protein synthesis, growth hormone release, and muscle hypertrophy or muscle growth. More muscle tissue also means more calories burned while at rest.
Exercise and Disease Risk
Stop Cardiovascular Disease: This is an umbrella term for a variety of diseases that directly impact the heart or blood vessels. Examples include high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. One of the most important proven benefits of exercise is the ability to significantly decrease – or even eliminate – your risk for developing a variety of chronic conditions.
Prevent Obesity: One of the top preventable deaths in the United States, obesity has become a global epidemic, according to the World Health Organization. Obesity is linked to a variety of other complications such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, low testosterone, and many more. Exercise is an effective and proven way to naturally prevent and treat obesity when paired with a healthy diet.
Exercise and Brain Health
Boost Brain Function: A variety of studies have listed the proven benefits of exercise to include significantly improving your brain health. Exercise has been linked to improved cell development and growth. It also increases blood flow to the brain, which can increase nutrient delivery and waste removal.
Better Memory: Exercise has been shown to improve memory, especially for older adults who are at risk for cognitive decline. Exercise can also enhance overall thinking skills, including faster reactions and information recall.
Alert, Focused, and Happy: Studies show that the release of norepinephrine and serotonin during exercise increases alertness, focus, and overall mood.
Exercise for Sleep
Ditch Insomnia: The Center for Disease Control states that one in three adults in the United States is not getting enough sleep with insomnia being a common problem. Studies show that one of the best natural remedies for insomnia is exercise. Research has consistently shown that subjects who exercised were able to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
More Time in Deep Sleep: If you want to improve your overall wellness and wake up feeling refreshed each morning, your body needs to go through all of the sleep cycles with a focus on deep sleep and rapid eye movement (R.E.M.) sleep. During deep sleep, the body is able to repair and recover while R.E.M. sleep focuses on the health of your brain. Exercise, especially when performed in the morning, can help to increase deep sleep, thereby improving your body’s ability to repair itself.
Hormone Health and Exercise
Testosterone Levels: For men in the United States, one of the greatest health concerns is the nationwide drop in testosterone levels. Low testosterone can lead to a number of symptoms including weight gain, depression, and a higher risk of mortality. Exercise promotes healthy levels of testosterone in men especially when paired with a natural diet free of testosterone-decreasing foods, such as processed soy and sugar.
Women’s Health: Aside from promoting growth hormone release, which is necessary for bodily repairs, exercise can help regulate hormones in women during the menstrual cycle, alleviating anger and depression while minimizing cramps. More importantly, exercise is essential for reducing the risk of osteoporosis while alleviating hot flashes and insomnia during menopause.
Getting More Exercise Each Day
You don’t need to be in the gym for two hours each day to experience the proven benefits of exercise. The Center for Disease Control recommends at least thirty minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days per week. Examples include power walking, bicycling, and light jogging.
Seventy-five minutes of higher intensity exercise per week is also recommended for those looking for a challenge with more intensity. Examples include jogging, swimming, and H.I.I.T. (high intensity interval training).
Which Benefits of Exercise Have You Experienced?
Do you exercise consistently? How has your life changed since starting to exercise? Which benefits have you noticed the most?