The medical community prescribes it almost as if it were a medicine, and according to the experts, we should take it as something similar. The reason for this is that exercising is one of the best allies when it comes to taking care of your body and making you feel good in general. But also, if we left it out, we would be putting our health at risk: a sedentary lifestyle is the fourth greatest mortality risk according to World Health Organization (WHO) and responsible for 6% of the deaths that occur worldwide. Therefore, a good preventive measure is to exercise regularly.
But what makes exercising so beneficial to your health that you can’t possibly ignore it? The following ten points reveal the answers:
- Improves body image. When you do sports, the shape of your body alters, and this is apparent over time in the physical changes that come with regular and frequent physical activity. Usually these changes make us feel better. The better we look after ourselves, the more we like what we see when we look in the mirror. And that, in turn, brings yet another benefit: more self-esteem.
- Improves mood. One of the neurotransmitters that increases with exercise is beta-endorphin, which is directly related to amplifying pleasure levels and overall well-being as well as inhibiting pain sensibility, according to a study published in Sport Medicine. That’s why after doing any type of exercise, our mood improves.
- Helps to reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol levels. One of the key ways to keep LDL cholesterol, better known as “bad” cholesterol, at bay is by doing physical exercise. Experts believe that 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week is enough to lower cholesterol levels, especially when combined with a balanced diet with very little saturated fat.
- Tackles high blood pressure. Another benefit of doing exercise is that it is helps immensely in keeping your blood pressure at the correct level, avoiding hypertension. In fact, three decades ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Society of Arterial Hypertension recommended doing physical exercise among the non-pharmacological measures aimed at lowering blood pressure values.
- An ally against diabetes. Sport is also a very effective measure to fight against diabetes, as it helps to keep this illness under control. In contrast, sedentarism is one of the causes for the appearance of type 2 diabetes, so the medical community cautions that if we do not do any form of exercise, the chances of developing this disease increase.
- Improves the immune system’s response to infections. According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, people who are physically fit and active during the week are less ill and their symptoms, in the event of minor ailments, such as colds, are milder. The research found that the number of days physically active people are sick each year, compared to those who only play sports once a week or who lead a sedentary life, is reduced by 46%. This is because exercise increases the number of cells in our immune system circulating in our blood.
- Prevents osteoporosis. Bones, like muscles, are living tissues that respond to exercise and are strengthened by it. This is the reason why those men and women who exercise on a regular basis tend to have higher bone density. However, this density peaks between the ages of 20 and 30, and then begins to decline. One of the most effective ways to maintain it is to keep exercising frequently.
- Focuses and inspires the mind. In addition to maintaining your body, doing exercise also benefits the mind. A study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience has shown that exercise modifies the prefrontal area of the brain, associated with improvements in executive control and performance. Another different study, from the Journal of Experimental Psychology, further demonstrated that exercise such as regular walking has an immediate effect on our creative thinking by developing and improving it.
- Keeps you young. Physical exercise can reduce the effects of time, both physically and mentally, according to a study published in the Journal of Aging Research. The research concluded that exercise is a powerful non-pharmacological weapon to “prevent age-related cognitive impairment and neurodegenerative diseases”. Take advantage of this opportunity to get some exercise during your weight loss holiday in Spain.
- Fights depression. Another of its most obvious benefits is that it helps prevent and fight diseases such as Alzheimer’s, as it helps to improve cognitive and general brain functions. Several studies have shown that doing exercise has a protective effect against this disease as it improves neural synaptic functions, learning, memory, sensorimotor function and anxiety.
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