Getting in shape is one of the most powerful forms of preventative medicine. Exercise improves the overall quality of your life and prevents the onset of diseases.
The money you save on medical expenses is money you have to do what you want, like retire comfortably or travel the world. The physical, mental and monetary returns on investing in your health are endless. Following are eight worth stating.
1. Improved Bone and Muscle Strength
Exercise strengthens your bones and muscles. Bones are living fiber, albeit dense and hard. But bones weaken as you age, becoming thinner, less dense, more fragile and prone to breakage. This is especially true of women but also of men. Weight-bearing activity stimulates the growth of new bone and new muscle tissue, states the National Institutes of Health.
2. Weight Control
Muscle burns more calories than other tissues in you body, reports the fitness website Livestrong.com. Consequently, muscle has higher energy requirements than fat, burning seven to 10 calories per pound daily, as opposed to fat’s daily energy requirement of one to three calories.
The more toned you are, the more calories you burn even when you’re in a rested state. This is why healthy, lean individuals tend to stay lean despite occasionally splurging on “refeed” days or “cheat” days.
A healthy body mass index also puts less stress on your bones, joints and heart, resulting in better posture and fewer random aches and pains.
Exercise gives you endurance, explains Technogym, an Italian fitness equipment manufacturer. If you stay committed to a basic regimen, you get stronger over time, which means you can stay in the game for longer periods each time you play. This is applies to any activity, such as biking, jogging, swimming, tennis, farming, hiking, etc.
Better endurance means you can get through hard work days and challenging work weeks with equal amounts of ease. You won’t be as whipped on your days off, and you’ll be able to hang in there during obligations, activities and even unexpected changes. Best of all: You’ll be fully alert when it really matters.
4. Energy and Mood Boost
Speaking of alerntess, the more you exercise, the better you feel. You have more energy and a more positive outlook, according to the Mayo Clinic. Exercise activates your brain in specific ways, causing it to release neurotransmitters and to preempt the release of a potent hormone cocktail.
These neurotransmitters and hormones, such as endorphins, adrenaline, dopamine, estrogen and testosterone, deliver a healthy jolt to every system in your body.
5. Better Sleep Quality
People who exercise on a regular basis potentially sleep better, even if they have chronic insomnia, so says the National Sleep Foundation. One theory suggests exercise mitigates anxiety, arousal and depression, three underlying symptoms/causes of insomnia. Another theory states the drop in body temperature after exercising predisposes your body to deeper slumber.
Yet another theory holds that exercise repairs inconsistent circadian rhythms, or the internal brain clock that sets your sleep and wake times according to light exposure.
6. Greater Immune Power
Exercise, especially intense physical activity, is essentially a form of basic training for your immune system, according to a study published in the journal BMC Genomics. The study found that consistently intense exercise chronically transforms leukocyte activity for the better while reducing the tendency toward inflammation.
In short, exercise of any kind turns your immune system into a vigilant disease killer and keeps swelling down, whether the swelling is stress- or disease-related. Exercise may even drastically trim, or even forestall, the risk of developing of cancer, reports Fred Hutch, one of the world’s foremost authorities on cancer research.
7. Glowing Complexion
Exercise makes you sweat, which cleanses your pores. Sweat is also one of the main ways your body releases toxins, ridding your skin and other systems of potential irritants and poisons.
When you exercise, increased blood flow oxygenates your skin, according to WebMD. A wonderful side effect is the appearance of radiance or of a glow. The best skin-health offshoot of exercise is increased collagen production.
Collagen, the most predominant protein in your body, gives your skin its plumpness. With your body producing more of it, your skin appears youthful, supple, full and healthy.
Exercise’s greatest benefit is its ability to prolong your life, particularly if your exercise of choice is swimming, cycling or a racquet sport, reports Time magazine. The article in question cites an Australian and European study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
The study found that participants in these three sports experience significant reductions in all-cause mortality, in some cases up to 47 percent. The researchers cautioned against interpreting the study results as an endorsement of certain sports over others, stating that any vigorous exercise carries the same payoffs.
The study concludes that “vigorous-intensity physical activity inherent to many types of sports and exercise may have a higher impact on reducing all-cause mortality risk than nonvigorous activities.”
The payoff from getting in shape could fill several volumes. Even performing small amounts of light exercise is better than a sedentary lifestyle. Strong bones, muscles, energy, a sense of well being and superb immune function are the just the tip of the iceberg. Living longer, and happier, is the ultimate reward. Who knew an hour on the treadmill could be so valuable?