The Real Benefits Of Exercise
There's More Than You Think!
You’ve heard that exercise is good for you; that’s old news. But besides what is common knowledge, exercise has an amazing range of health benefits that’s simply astounding. Thousands of studies back this up, suggesting the connection between exercise and health is more than just an association.
Unfortunately, the most common connection people make with exercise is rapid and consistent weight loss, and it’s the most unfortunate myth. Diet is 70 percent of weight and fat loss. What you take off in the kitchen then shows the hard work you do with exercise. Conversely, you cannot out train a bad diet. I’ve had clients come in to train three times daily, a habit that tells me exactly what’s going on with their eating. Guilt is a great motivator but training three times daily won’t undo the damage and it’s not sustainable in the long run.
What do the studies say on the issue?
Generally, it is said that dieting produces a reduced calorie intake which helps lower your metabolic rate, which can temporarily delay weight loss. But remember, the focus is on the word diet and calorie restriction. That approach is like kicking a dead horse - it won’t go anywhere. Just eat in a healthy manner to get the nutrients you need and these foods are inherently low-calorie anyways.
Regular exercise has been shown to increase your metabolic rate, which can burn more calories to help you lose weight. (Eu J Clin Nutr). Additionally, studies have shown that combining aerobic exercise with resistance training can maximize fat loss and muscle mass maintenance, which is essential for keeping the weight off and maintaining lean muscle mass.
Again, nothing contradictory about that statement as long as you don’t sabotage your effort with cheesies and fries and keep up the consistent effort on both fronts. Put both good eating and exercise together and you have a wonderful combination that keeps you trim and chock full of lean muscle.
So let’ s talk about the real benefits of exercise:
Heart Disease - If you're physically active, your heart gets trained to beat slower and stronger, so it needs less oxygen to function well; your arteries get springier, so they push your blood along better; and your levels of "good" HDL cholesterol go up.
Cancer - Exercise can help reduce the risk of breast, colorectal, endometrial, gallbladder, kidney, lung, liver, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, thyroid, gastric, and esophageal cancers.
High Cholesterol - Exercise can increase HDL (good) cholesterol while maintaining or offsetting increases in LDL (bad) cholesterol naturally. But you have to put in a good effort as research shows that high intensity aerobic activity is needed to lower LDL levels.
Hypertension - Exercise can lower resting systolic blood pressure 5–7 mmHG among people with hypertension.
Diabetes - Hard working muscles stay more receptive to insulin, the hormone that ushers blood sugar into cells.
Brain Health - Several studies have found that exercise can reduce the symptoms of depression similar to antidepressant medications. In old age, physical activity may delay the slide of cognitive decline into dementia, and even once that process has started, exercise can improve certain aspects of thinking.
Longer Life - Overwhelming evidence exists that lifelong exercise is associated with a longer health span. Why? Because it delays the onset of 40 chronic conditions/diseases, lowering your risk of early death by up to 3o percent.
Cardiovascular Protection - Accumulating evidence has demonstrated that exercise training not only reduces cardiovascular disease risk but also provides direct cardiovascular protection.
Improves Mood - Exercise helps to decrease feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress. Additionally, exercise can increase the production of endorphins, which are known to help produce positive feelings and reduce the perception of pain.
Builds Muscle - Exercise plays a vital role in building and maintaining strong muscles and bones.
Increases Energy Levels - Exercise can be a real energy booster for many people.
Many more benefits too many to list…
Given the benefits, it’s almost a crime to not stay mobile and work the cardio and muscles. Most evidence suggests that the choice of the kind of activity is far less important than whether to be active at all. Still, about half of adult Americans don't meet oft-cited exercise guidelines. About a quarter of adults say they devote none of their free time to active pursuits. (Harvard Health Publishing)
So the bottom line is that with exercise offering incredible benefits that can improve nearly every aspect of your health, are you partaking of it regularly? If not, ask yourself why not?