Fitness news, busting the bull
Twenty Benefits of Exercise
…proven health plusses your body craves
It's good for your heart
Some exercise is better for your heart than none, and more is better than less. Exercise reduces LDL cholesterol, the kind that clogs arteries. It also reduces blood pressure which relieves stress on your heart, it improves your insulin sensitivity, improves heart muscle function and blood flow and diminishes your risk of developing blood clots. These findings are a summary of a host of study results collected over the years.
It promotes weight loss
Research has shown that regular exercise induces weight loss. The kind of exercise you should do, and how often you should do it, depends on your condition and the sort of results you are after. But whether it be daily or weekly, gentle or intensive, as long as you are consistent you will lose weight and keep it off. Your master trainer can tell you exactly what you need to do for the best and quickest possible results.
It prevents osteoporosis
According to experts, weight-bearing exercises are the best way to build bone density and strength. Together with a healthy calcium intake, exercises like running, walking and free weights will lower your odds of getting osteoporosis as you grow older. And it's never too late to pick up the habit; start young if you can, but your bones can improve at any age.
It lowers high blood pressure
Countless studies using “aerobic” exercise have found that both systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure is significantly reduced after subjects exercise for just 20 – 30 minutes, a few times a week. Exercise doesn't need to be strenuous, just regular. In many cases, a carefully monitored programme of the right kind of exercise can even mean that blood pressure medication is no longer needed. Always work in conjunction with your doctor and master trainer if your blood pressure is very high.
It reduces stress and depression
It's general knowledge that athletes like runners regularly experience a natural “high”; but there's more to it than that. And the exhilaration that comes with exercise is there for the taking... for every one of us! Exercise acts as a temporary diversion to daily stresses, and it works wonders on self-esteem. Increased core temperature during exercise may lead to reduced muscle tension and favourable alterations in brain neurotransmitters. Mood improvements may also occur due to the increased secretion of internal opiates, like endorphins. Self-esteem and confidence also soar as your body shape improves and your muscle tone becomes visible... just imagine the feeling of energy, grace and suppleness when your body is burning fuel fast and working at its best; a lithe, strong, beautiful powerhouse of positivity.
It prevents colds
Researchers have found that people who exercise regularly are about 25% less likely to get colds than those who exercise less. And if the regular exercisers do get colds, the symptoms disappear faster. Health experts agree that just 30 minutes of brisk walking spikes the immune system for several hours, helping to ward off colds.
It reduces the severity of asthma
Many people who have suffered from asthma attacks brought on by exercise, understandably try to avoid exercising. But sports medicine specialists say the wisest asthmatics continue to exercise, using preventative medications thoughtfully and avoiding certain triggers that exacerbate attacks. The extra effort made to stay fit pays off in fewer or milder asthma attacks overall, and a need for less medication.
It reduces diabetic complications
Lifestyle factors have a huge impact on certain conditions – and diabetes is one of them. Exercise can help to reduce your insulin requirements, lower your cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, and in the long term can reduce the development of heart disease and stroke. This is important because diabetics have a higher risk of developing heart and circulatory problems. Exercise can also promote weight loss, improve circulation and reduce stress levels (raising your glucose level).
It promotes a healthy pregnancy
The benefits of exercising during pregnancy generally far outweigh the risks and many women safely exercise right up until baby is due. Working with a master trainer in conjunction with advice from your midwife or obstetrician means you can enjoy the perks of a healthy and relatively easy pregnancy and birth in complete safety. The benefits experienced by your baby include increased oxygen intake, important for her developing brain. Your body will respond by bearing baby with less difficulty and discomfort, an easier birthing experience, quicker recovery from the birth and less effort getting back into shape. You will also have more energy as a new, or experienced, mum! Don't forget to continue Kegel (pelvic floor) exercises throughout your pregnancy and after baby is born.
It plays an important role in preventing cancer
Recent studies have found that at least 35% of all cancer deaths may be related to being overweight and lack of activity. Exercise speeds the passage of food through the colon, thereby reducing the amount of time that any toxins are in contact with the body. Overweight people also tend to have more insulin, which promotes the growth of tumors. For women, exercise reduces the level of oestrogen, a hormone linked to breast cancer.
It has anti-ageing effects
Recent literature suggests that the greatest threat to health is not the ageing process itself, but rather inactivity. Exercise enhances blood flow to the brain, potentially reducing the risk of stroke, and improving reasoning and memory. Regular exercise arouses the brain and slows down degeneration of the central nervous system, so keeping your reaction times snappy and preventing poor coordination. By reducing body fat, increasing the strength and size of muscles and improving lung function, regular exercise lowers the risk of many chronic lifestyle diseases in the elderly.
It promotes brain health
If you look to crossword puzzles or learning new languages to keep your brain responses powerfully quick, you may be overlooking a much more important activity: ACTIVITY! Studies have found that the brain responses in active seniors are comparable to those of young adults. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, just as it improves circulation to the heart and the rest of the body. Activity also stimulates the growth of nerve cells in the part of the brain involved in memory.
It's great for your sex life
All medical research points towards it: the fitter you are, the better your sex life is. There seem to be two main reasons for this. Psychological; because you feel better about yourself, more attractive, and less stressed, anxious or depressed. (It has been said that the brain is the most important sexual organ.) And physical; because being fit improves blood circulation, sexual functioning and libido. Being physically active can be a natural Viagra boost. Men and women who exercise regularly are going to have increased levels of desire, with enhanced ability to achieve orgasm and greater sexual satisfaction.
It improves sleeping patterns
Exercise during the day promotes the onset and quality of sleep, according to study findings from around the world. It helps ease tension and relieve headaches, backaches and insomnia, and promotes a sense of emotional wellbeing and a feeling of being more in control. For most people, it is altogether the most effective tool for relaxation.
It combats impotence
Increased circulation equals a better erection. “Losing weight, stopping smoking and doing more exercise are associated with better sexual health,” says the director of Male Sexual Health at the New York University Medical Center. “We talk so much about treating, treating, treating. Here we are beginning to see an increasing body of evidence that we can modify this by changing lifestyle.”
It helps prevent stroke
Exercise can dramatically cut your risk of stroke. Highly active people have a 27% lower risk of having a stroke or dying if they had one, compared with sedentary folks. And people who are moderately active have a 20% lower risk. These are findings based on a review of 23 international studies which appear in the journal “Stroke”. 15 to 20 minutes of jogging on most days would qualify as highly active. A brisk 30 minute walk on most days would qualify as moderate activity.
It is good for mind and soul
The beneficial effects that exercise has on mental health are summarised in a synopsis on 'Exercise, Fitness and Mental Health' by sports psychologist D. Brown. They include: Exercise may act as a temporary diversion to daily stresses. Exercise provides an opportunity for self-mastery. Increasing fitness or improving body composition and other health parameters may improve an individual's self-esteem. Increased core temperature during exercise may lead to reduced muscle tension or alterations to brain neurotransmitters.
Mood improvements may occur due to the increased secretion of endogenous (internal) opiates, eg. endorphins. Long term psychological changes may take place due to alterations in norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, all hormones which can affect mood and anxiety level.
It improves oxygen and nutrient supply to all cells in your body
Evidence shows that exercise not only increases the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream available to all your organs, systems and cells, it also increases the effectiveness of your body's ability to utilise this oxygen. An American study indicates that '80-plus-ers' can dramatically improve their health by exercising a few times a week. If this is true for the elderly, it certainly is for the younger set as well.
It improves muscle strength, joint function and bone density
Strengthening exercises increase not only muscle strength and mass, but also bone strength, and the body's metabolism. Muscle strength is increased by exercises which put more load on the muscle than it is used to. This stimulates the growth of proteins inside each muscle cell that allow the muscle to contract. Joint health is important for everybody. Cartilage, the strong flexible tissue which cushions the two bones of a joint, has no blood supply and relies on the lubricant synovial fluid, moving in and out of the joint to nourish it and take away waste products.
Exercise helps this process. Sufferers of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis have started to discover the miraculous benefits of exercise programmes tailored specifically to their requirements. These patients have improved joint and bone condition, increased muscle strength and aerobic capacity, and a vastly improved ability to do daily tasks. Bones also rely on weight-bearing exercises for their density and strength. The more load regularly placed on your bones, the more they will fortify themselves to cope with that load.
Osteoporosis is a common and debilitating disease defined by weak, brittle and porous bones, resulting in fractures and bone deformities. It is avoided by a lifestyle which includes regular weight- bearing exercise and a healthy intake of calcium in the diet. Your bones are constantly renewing themselves throughout your life, so it's never too late to improve them.
It helps manage menopause
Women the world over are discovering the startling effects of regular exercise on their menopause symptoms. In many cases, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) can be avoided altogether. Exercise itself increases oestrogen levels, which decreases the severity of hot flushes and sweats. Other problems that come with the shifting hormones of menopause, such as sleep disorders, mood swings, anxiety attacks, weight gain, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, joint and muscle pain, and menstrual irregularities (to name a few) can be very much improved if not completely eradicated simply by exercising regularly.
Right now, the mobile personal trainers at My Fitness = My Future are working with people who have suffered from many of the conditions mentioned above, and replacing their symptoms with feelings of strength, relaxation, energy and radiant good health. Congratulations on your commitment to find out what 'quality of life' could mean to you.
Don't become a statistic!
- Cardiovascular disease
If there was a magic pill that would reduce your risk of developing any or all of these conditions, we'd be lining up for a prescription, right?
The desired magic solution is actually available! It's called exercise and it's available right now!
Now before you stop reading, because the thought of exercise makes you break out in a sweat, here's something to help put your mind at ease.
Exercise these days needn't be difficult, or unenjoyable. Exercising and reducing your risk of developing all of the above conditions is a lot easier than you might think, and a great deal more fun than you ever imagined! Think about this, wouldn't you like to:
- See more of your friends and family?
- Establish a routine to your day/week?
- Feel more mobile and energetic?
- Feel healthier?
- Sleep more soundly and regularly?
If you answered 'yes' to any of the above questions, then you are just one step away from creating a more fulfilled life and a healthier you.
Exercise is the magic pill that our community has been searching for!
At My Fitness = My Future we know all too well that if you don't enjoy it, you won't do it. So forget the fads and come and find out about something that will make you feel great and look sensational!