Jacks top 5 Benefits of exercise
When it comes to exercise the list of benefits is so extensive yet majority of people get hung up on just one: weight loss. Too often people are focussing solely on burning calories and in a lot of cases, punishing themselves for the calories that have been consumed and trying to counter balance that. This kind of thinking is not conducive to a healthy relationship with exercise because we want exercise to be something we look forward to and enjoy doing so that we will happily exercise consistently for as long as our body will enable us to.
So although there are plenty more, here are my top 5 benefits of exercise:
- Increased Mood and Brain health
People who exercise regularly have been shown to have improved mental health, emotional wellbeing and lower rates of mental illnesses. Exercise not only increases your energy levels but also produces chemicals in the brain that bring about feelings of joy, bliss and happiness. This will not only reduce your risk of mental illness but can be a very effective treatment for those who need to manage a mental illness or are simply just having a ‘bad mood’ kind of day.
- Improve Heart health
Exercising at a moderate to high intensity is like preconditioning your heart to be more resilient which can reduce your risk of heart attack and developing heart disease. Exercise also help your heart by improving other risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity. To initiate the metabolic pathways responsible for heart health you need to engage in exercise that gets your heart rate up (moderate to high intensity).
- Increase Strength & Posture Support
I find that resistance training is undervalued, particularly by females. Females do not need to worry about getting bulky from lifting weights, in fact even females who lift heavy weights don’t need to worry about this (unless you are engaging in a specific training program to do so). As we age we lose muscle mass and experience a decline in bone density and resistance training is the best way to minimise this. Not to mentioning strengthening the supporting muscles around spine and pelvis (also known as your core muscles).
- Live Longer
Regular exercise not only improves your lung, heart and muscle functioning but it can also work at a cellular level to slow the ageing process and in turn you will live longer. In the flip side, inactivity can reduce your life expectancy.
- Improve Gut health
More research is warranted in this area and will no doubt be available over the next decade but studies are currently showing that exercise has independent beneficial effects on our microbiome. This means that regardless of diet, stress management, our environment and any illnesses or medication, exercise alone can improve our gut health through improving the composition of bacteria present, stimulating the growth of beneficial bacteria and the associated substances produced by this bacteria to improve the microbiome as a whole.