Learning how to take care of your body and mind is an important lesson. With countless fad diets hitting the market, many people do not understand that weight loss and fitness goals cannot be achieved through diet alone. Physical exercise plays an important role in our health and provides countless benefits to our bodies.
This article will provide a brief overview of both the physical benefits of exercise for sedentary adults in the modern age and answer the question, why is exercise good for you?
Modern day health issues
The 21st century has enabled the majority of people to do everything from the comfort of their home and PC. The notion of manual labour is slowly dying out and people in the Western World are living a more inactive lifestyle compared to 50 years ago.
Unfortunately, the intake of food has not decreased in line and the food ingested is of a lower quality compared to previous generations. Heavily processed foods combined with over-consumption of calories and stationary lifestyles have led to an obesity epidemic in the UK. Coronary heart disease (CHD), strokes, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and ‘syndrome X’ are all prevalent in today’s adult population.
Many sufferers resort to prescription drugs and surgery to reverse the ailments stated above and to lose weight. However, simply adopting a more structured diet and increasing physical activity can both reverse existing cases and remove the likelihood of encountering them in the future.
It comes as no surprise to fitness industry professionals that large private health companies are now offering free, or discounted gym memberships for those who sign up for their personal health plans. This alone emphasises the perceived importance of exercise in the medical world. Previously there was a culture of ‘fire fighting’ as opposed to addressing the root cause.
Embracing the benefits of regular exercise in daily routines can help people feel exponentially better, both physically and emotionally.
Why exercise is important
There is no denying that exercise is good for you. Weight training and cardiovascular exercise, such as indoor cycling, will increase motor control and coordination, something that can be transferred to everyday life. Self-efficacy is also shown to be heightened in many of those who train.
In short, this means although not task-specific, the benefits of exercise can aid other aspects of your life in terms of competence and confidence. Some of life’s simple pleasures such as playing with your children in the park can be significantly enhanced through structured exercise.
Benefits of aerobic exercise
Physiologically, the benefits of aerobic exercise alone are endless in terms of both general health and fitness. Lowered blood pressure as a result of cardiovascular training is well documented and advisable for all of those who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure (BP).
Simply adopting three 30-minute exercise sessions each week will see a significant reduction in BP and produce obvious benefits of step aerobics, when combined with a structured diet. Studies have even shown a drop of about 10mmHg in blood pressure readings after only 6 months of continuous exercise. Whilst this is neither a given nor definitive it gives an idea of how easy it is to reverse such conditions as elevated blood pressure.
Aerobics is also beneficial for general aches and pains. When participating in cardio and aerobic exercises, posture and flexibility are enhanced in the seasoned trainer. Simple ‘niggles’ can be avoided by carrying out resistance and floor-based exercises. With cases of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis on the increase, it seems a logical decision to incorporate basic training to prevent these conditions and enhance your quality of life in later years.
Although research in the area is in its infancy, some studies even suggest forms of cancer, such as breast cancer in females, can be avoided if exercise is conducted on a regular basis, regardless of age. For those recovering from cancer, exercise has been shown to boost the immune system and thus hinder the chances of cancer returning.
Exciting research elsewhere has linked exercise with the reduction of bowel cancer. Again, the mechanisms are not known but the likely reason is an alteration in hormone levels associated with cardiovascular, aerobic, and resistance training being the likely cause.
As stated, the research on these topics is not yet conclusive but does offer yet another reason why people should participate in aerobic exercise.
Weight training benefits
The misconception of weight training making females masculine or overly muscular needs to be quashed for the benefit of future generations. The main reason people appear larger, become obese, or are out of shape is due to an over-consumption of calories which leads to higher body fat levels and the medical complications that follow.
Weight training, through various mechanisms, actually reduces body fat, increases metabolically active tissue, and aids posture in those who embrace it. Some of the benefits of kettlebells and other weight lifting exercise include strengthened bones and joints, improved heart health, and reduced risk of injury.
The benefits of lifting weights not only results in an aesthetically pleasing lower body fat percentage but also provides many health benefits including avoiding type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
Type 2 diabetes is becoming a major issue with many people who are simply ingesting too many calories (and of a poor nature) whilst being sedentary. Research shows that just a few years ago, 1 in 5 adults in the UK was classed as obese. This figure is rapidly rising and simple measures such as cardio and weight training can initially halt and, ultimately, reverse this trend.
Social and emotional benefits of exercise
Many people in the UK resort to external stimuli to get their kicks. In a society overrun with binge drinkers, recreational drug users, computer game junkies, and TV dinners, very few people actually get their endorphin rush from the exercise anymore.
Many scientific studies document the mental benefits of exercise and physical training on mood, anxiety, and long term depression. Sport or physical exercise is often prescribed before medication for those suffering from depression and similar related issues. Simply implementing three 30 minute sessions a week is enough to increase self-esteem and a feeling of well-being according to many published papers, demonstrating the emotional benefits of exercise.
Exercise alone can improve body composition and delay the physical ageing process, helping you to feel younger for longer and allowing you to enjoy more time with loved ones. Socially exercising with friends and family helps to strengthen bonds and emotional ties through the release of endorphins and having a common goal.
This article has merely skimmed the surface and in-depth research can be conducted in each area documented to further understand just how important simple exercise is for your health, fitness, and aesthetics.
Here at Performance Meals, we strongly believe in the link between good exercise and a healthy diet plan to improve both physical and mental wellbeing. Our support zone is full of helpful workout plans and mindfulness exercises to help you feel your best from the inside out.
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