Why exercise? Discover the benefits for your health
WHY SHOULD YOU EXERCISE?
Phrases such as those of the philosopher Plato (427-347 B.C.) “Lack of activity destroys the good condition of any human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise keep it and preserve it”, or the Roman poet of the 1st century Juvenal “Mens sana in corpore sano”, make us see the link that was already given to physical activity with health centuries ago.
Everyone knows that regular physical exercise helps improve our health, nothing new. Even so, I would like to reinforce this idea in your mind and that your motivation to exercise increases. To do this, I bring you several of the benefits you will have by living a physically active lifestyle.
In a population in which the thickness of it tends to be increasingly aged (study), physical exercise has been shown to be very effective in improving this aging process. As you will see below, it will help us not only to live more years, but also to live them with a better quality of life.
One of the main consequences of aging is the loss of muscle mass. This is associated with a physical limitation, greater likelihood of falls, and a great deterioration in health due to the multiple functions that muscle tissue plays in it (study).
Strength training has been clearly accepted as a strategy to promote maintenance and growth of muscle mass in older people who have it atrophied. A much more effective strategy than nutritional or pharmacological alternatives has been shown (study).
Another problem of aging is the appearance of osteoporosis characterized by low bone mineral density. This problem increases the risk of fractures due to weak bones.
It is more common in post-menopausal women due to the drop in estrogen they suffer. Physical exercise is very effective in maintaining and improving bone tissue and muscle mass (study).
Hypertension is one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), is one of the most expensive and preventable.
Exercise programs have been shown to be as effective as the medications used to lower hypertension or even more. This avoids the side effects of medications and reduces the risk of CVD by 20-30% (study).
Insulin resistance contributes to type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Regular physical exercise improves insulin sensitivity in people with DMT2 and may last up to 72 hours since the last exercise session (study).
Physical exercise is very effective in improving body composition. In obese population, both with low intensity and high intensity programs, there were significant improvements in fat loss despite not having control of the diet (study). However, the most effective, healthy and recommended thing is to make it compatible with an improvement in eating habits as you will obtain better results.
Strength training has proven to be very effective in reducing visceral fat in post-menopausal women. Due to the lack of estrogens, this tissue tends to increase in this population group, putting their health at risk (study).
CHOLESTEROL AND CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES
There is also an improvement in lipid profile with both cardiovascular exercise and strength training. This means that good cholesterol (HDL) levels increase and bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides (study) are maintained or reduced.
The leading cause of death worldwide is ischemic heart disease. The following 8 factors alone are responsible for 75% of cases: alcohol consumption, tobacco consumption, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, hyperglycaemia, high blood pressure, high body mass index and high cholesterol (study).
As we have seen before, the practice of physical exercise is able to reduce the risk of all factors (reducing the consumption of alcohol, tobacco and increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables remains in your hands).
In any age group, a small increase in the levels of physical activity is enough to reduce the risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases in a substantial way, in comparison with inactive people (study).
A good state of the microbiota, commonly known as the intestinal flora, plays a very important role in people’s health. A healthy microbiote improves the immune system, decreases inflammation, prevents infections and tumors.
However, an altered microbiota has been linked to obesity, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease and diabetes. Physical exercise has been shown to be effective in enriching the diversity of the microbiote and improving its composition.
In addition to physical exercise, eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grain cereals will help you get the benefits mentioned (study).
Regular exercise decreases the risk of developing cancer. In addition, in people who overcome cancer, they mitigate many of the adverse effects of the therapies received, greatly improving their quality of life (study).
Exercise improves academic performance. One of the reasons is because adolescents improve their physical self-concept, which favours their social perception and helps their integration into the group (study).
It is also associated with cognitive improvements such as attention, memory, increased cerebral vascularization, neurogenesis and synaptogenesis (study).
As if all the benefits mentioned above were few, physical exercise also brings great psychological improvements.
Stress is a very common problem in today’s society and occurs when the organism feels threatened. There are many factors involved in the appearance of stress and, when it is prolonged over time, brings with it important health problems.
The practice of physical exercise has proved to be very effective in reducing work stress, improving the performance and quality of life of workers (study).
HAPPINESS AND SELF-ESTEEM
The happiness levels of 11,637 participants from 15 different countries were analyzed. Those who had a very active lifestyle compared to those who were physically inactive were 52% happier. Therefore increasing the amount of physical activity was associated with an increase in happiness levels (study).
Exercise is determinant for both the physical and mental health of older people, thus improving their quality of life. In this population group, after performing physical-recreational activities, they significantly increased their self-esteem.
Prior to 6 months of physical exercise, self-esteem levels gave average values according to the Rosemberg Test. At the end, they increased by 14.63%, placing themselves in high self-esteem values (study).
Load training is usually aimed at improving strength, muscle mass, endurance or power. However, significant reductions in depressive symptoms have been observed among adults, proving effective as a complement or effective alternative to usual therapies (study).
Scientific evidence suggests that there is a relationship between the amount of physical exercise and the benefits it brings. Whether we are very active or somewhat active, it is preferable to being inactive or sedentary (study). Therefore, I suggest that you take advantage of any opportunity to activate your body a little.
This enormous list and many others, will be the great benefits that will give you to keep physically active. In your hands is to get them or not.