Exercise is a dreaded subject with many people. It is well known that exercise helps you lose weight faster, so some dieters reluctantly make it a part of their daily routine. There are DVDs and programs dedicated to different types of exercise; everything from hip hop to yoga. Did you know that even if you don’t need to lose weight, exercise can improve your life in ways you haven’t considered?
Exercise can make you smarter:
Regular exercise helps with the prevention and maintenance of Diabetes and Heart disease, but a lesser known effect is what it can do for your brain. Harvard researchers say that just 10 minutes of daily exercise can change your brain. Each time a person exercises, chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and norephedrine are released into your body, helping boost your memory and mental sharpness.
Consistent workouts can slow the aging process.
Studies conducted by the University of California showed that daily exercise at least three days a week for 45 minutes caused a cellular change that slowed the process of aging. Much of this improvement is attributed to the decrease of stress relieved through physical movement. Exercise also increases blood flow to the brain which helps us to put worry out of our minds easier and helping us to stay younger mentally and physically.
Exercise fights depression:
Did you know that burning off 350 calories, three times each week can treat depression just as effectively as antidepressants? Each person is different, but studies have shown that consistent exercise relieves the symptoms of depression. Research has determined that physical activity boosts the neurons in the brain that are often affected by depression. Even three sessions of yoga during the week increased the chemical GABA in the brain, causing better moods and less anxiety.
Physical activity improves learning ability:
Exercise boosts chemicals in the brain called growth factors that maximize learning and memory. These growth factors establish new connections in the brain that sharpen our focus and retention. It takes brain “muscles” to think about coordinating movements in such things as dance or aerobics. Our concentration levels are affected, too, by working on complicated moves. German researchers found that high school students who worked out with some precise physical movements for 10 minutes before taking a test, did remarkably better than those who just completed regular activity. The students who did not do any physical activity did the worst on the written exam.
Regular exercise improves body image and confidence:
Studies have shown that people who worked out regularly for a period had more confidence and a better body image. This research did not involve weight loss but instead tracked individuals who improved their starting ability. For example, a person who could only walk the one-half mile when they started and worked their way to one full mile, increased their confidence and saw themselves with a better body image.
Daily exercise gives a natural “high”:
The old cliché about the “the runner’s high” proves to be true. If you try to push yourself as hard and fast as you can for about 30-40 seconds, before slowing back down, you will experience a rush of adrenaline and well-be. If you do this five times in your workout, you will feel the happy “buzz” for the rest of the day.
Keep a fit brain:
Even less strenuous exercise like walking or working in a garden has benefits. Just doing your favorite activities on a regular basis help your brain to stay sharp and keeps things like word recovery and memory at a steady level. Even as you age, some consistent activity wards off the dullness of age and a sedentary lifestyle.
Exercise fights Alzheimer’s Disease:
The Alzheimer Research Center has studied the effects of exercise on the disease. They found that because physical activity protects the hippocampus (which controls memory and spatial awareness) in the brain, a person was less likely to suffer from the effects of Alzheimer. A Dutch study was done in 2000 also proved that men who exercised regularly, even when genetically prone to the disease, were four times less likely to suffer from the severe effects of Alzheimer than those who didn’t exercise at all.
Regular exercise gives you more energy:
If you are tired and in a slump, exercise will help you feel energized. Physical activity boosts oxygen to your organs, as well as helps your heart and cardio system to work better. Walking, working out or aerobics will give you more energy than two cups of coffee, without the afternoon slump that goes with our favorite beverage.
So, as you can see, exercise is much more than just a way to lose weight. Daily or consistent physical activity can help you age slower, think clearer, remember more and spice up your love life. When you look at the research done about regular exercise, you discover that it is not necessary to have an elaborate, expensive program. There are simple things you can do every day to introduce exercise into your life and schedule. Even if you start out slow, you will soon see benefits of intentional exercise, in all areas of your life.
Too often, we put off exercise because we don’t have a gym membership or time to devote to a strict routine. As we have noted, any movement is better than just sitting still. The joys and benefits of exercise will make the effort worthwhile, and soon you will wonder how you ever got along without it.