Health benefits of exercise
Exercise can have a huge impact on your overall health and wellbeing. As well as helping you to lose weight and get in shape, it can help improve your mood, boost your confidence, and reduce the risk of heart disease and other medical conditions.
A combination of cardiovascular, strength and conditioning exercises in the gym will keep you fit, strong and healthy. If you’re still not convinced, exercise also has many other benefits.
Exercise strengthens all of the tissues in the body. As well as improving cardiovascular fitness, it builds muscles and connective tissue. It will improve your mobility, while also reducing your chance of injury.
Reducing the risk of major health conditions
Taking regular exercise is the best way to reduce your chances of getting conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. According to the Department of Health, it can reduce your chances of type 2 diabetes by 40%, cardiovascular disease by 35%, falls, depression and dementia by 30%, joint and back pain by 25%, and cancers (colon and breast) by 20% (source: UK Chief Medical Officers’ Guidelines 2011).
Mind and body
Exercise is as much a workout for the mind as it is the body. Every time you exercise, the body releases mood-enhancing chemicals. These endorphins are often called the happy hormones. Whether you are doing cardiovascular exercise or strength work, your body will produce these endorphins, which leads to feelings of happiness and euphoria. As a result, many people use exercise to help control depression.
Exercise is also a great way to combat stress. Working out helps deplete the body of its stress hormones, which have a negative impact on your health. After a hard day at work, a good session will help you to feel energised and relaxed. Taking up a competitive sport is also useful as a way to combat stress, and push yourself to train harder. If you’re focused on beating an opponent, you’re likely to forget about the stress in your life.
A better night’s sleep
If you struggle to get to sleep at night, don’t despair because exercise is great for insomnia. If you exercise regularly, you may notice that your quality of sleep improves. The time it takes you to get to sleep may decrease, especially following an evening workout. During the day you may feel less sleepy, and more energised.
Improving brain function
Scientific studies have linked exercise to improved brain function and improvements in learning and memory. Endurance exercise has been shown to release a hormone called irisin, which has an impact on the brain, particularly the part controlling learning.
Improving reproductive health
If you’re trying to start a family, then exercise can help. Working out regularly may improve reproductive health and reduce the risk of infertility. According to a study from the University of North Carolina, women who were more active before fertility treatment were three times more likely to conceive as women who were least active.
Helping recovery from cancer and other diseases
A healthy diet and exercise can be very effective in helping people who are recovering from cancer and other diseases. Obviously, the amount of exercise a person can do depends on what they are recovering from, but it can help recovery by building muscle mass and strength.
Whatever your age or fitness ability, exercise will help improve your health now and in the future.