Health Q&A

The Top 10 Benefits Of Exercise: Keep Moving For Good Health

March 4, 2019

Why should you exercise?

People who lead a sedentary lifestyle, in other words those who don’t partake in adequate physical activity, can put themselves at risk of health problems. Topmed recommends you stick to a healthy diet and exercise programme. If you’re unsure about what sort of exercises you should be doing, take a look at our article on Tips To Starting An Exercise Routine That Works For You.

Exercise Guidelines

The World Health Organisation recommends the following guidelines for physical activity:

  • Adults should partake in 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate-intensity exercise per week or 70 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week
  • Children and adolescents should partake in at least 60 minutes of daily exercise

The link between obesity and exercise

A South African study found that two out of three women and just under a third of men are overweight or obese. This condition is often the result of poor eating habits and low activity levels. Basically, it’s when you consume more food than your body can realistically burn off.

Obesity is excess body fat that is determined by weight and height.  People with a body mass index of between 25 and 29.9 are deemed overweight, while a BMI of 30 or higher is diagnosed as being obese. A high BMI increases your risk of developing chronic diseases, like diabetes.

The top 10 benefits of regular exercise

Regular exercise strengthens your cardiovascular system, improves blood circulation, tones muscles and enhances overall flexibility. Here are some of the reasons you should consider taking up some form of exercise:

1.  Exercise helps with weight loss and reduces the risk of obesity

There is a clear relationship between energy levels and exercise. Your body uses energy in three ways: by digesting food, maintaining bodily functions (like heart rate) and through physical activity. So, exercise plays an important role in supporting your body’s metabolic rate by burning calories.

2. Exercise helps lift your mood

Exercise can improve your mood if you suffer from depression, anxiety or stress.  This is because exercise increases your brain’s sensitivity for hormones like serotonin, which can relieve the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Exercise also has the advantage of releasing endorphins after a workout, so it’s an instant mood enhancer.

3. Exercise improves muscle tone and bone health

Regular exercise aids in muscle growth as physical activity releases hormones that promote amino acid absorption. Furthermore, exercise can assist in the prevention of osteoporosis as it helps build good bone density levels. High impact exercises, like football or running, have proven to be the best for bone health. Find out more in our article Osteoporosis Prevention: Building Healthy Bones For A Future Investment.

4. Exercise can improve energy levels

You need regular exercise in your routine if you’re suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, or even if you just have low energy levels and are constantly feeling tired. Exercise helps you feel invigorated. It’s especially beneficial for patients suffering from progressive illnesses, like dementia or multiple sclerosis as it assists with muscle coordination.

5. Exercise is good for brain health and memory

Regular exercise improves brain function and memory as it stimulates oxygenated blood flow to the brain. This helps protect brain function and structure.

6. Exercise reduces the perception of pain

Exercise is an excellent way to overcome chronic pain as it helps raise your pain tolerance threshold. While you should always consult a health professional, like a doctor or biokineticist, before embarking on any exercise if you have an injury or condition, moderate or specialised exercise can go a long way in assisting with recovery or rehabilitation.

7. Exercise can improve your skin health

Your skin is affected by oxidative stress, which occurs when the body’s oxidative defences cannot repair the damage caused by free radicals. Exercise helps improve your skin quality by producing natural antioxidants. This can delay the appearance of ageing and give you a glowing complexion! 

8. Exercise can help reduce the risk of chronic disease

Regular exercise improves your overall health levels, like promoting cardiovascular fitness, lowering your blood pressure and keeping your body mass index at an optimal level. This reduces your risk of developing a serious chronic condition, like cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

9. Exercise improves your sleep quality

Exercise not only helps you relax by reducing stress and anxiety, but it also improves the quality of your sleep cycle. This is because exercise raises your body temperature, which aids in sleep quality. Furthermore, the energy used up during your physical activity can help stimulate a recuperation period achieved by sleeping.

10. Exercise can improve your sex life

Exercise improves blood flow throughout the body, strengthens the cardiovascular system, tones muscles and enhances flexibility. All of this can improve sexual function and performance.

At Topmed we encourage a healthy lifestyle, so recommend you make exercise a part of your health routine. Regular exercise has so many benefits for your physical and mental well-being.

 

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