Although we shouldn’t really need any incentives to exercise more and live a healthier life, the simple fact is that we many of us do. We know that eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of physical exercise is beneficial, but we’re not sure exactly why. With people all over the world living shorter than ever before, governments spending billions upon billions on healthcare for weight-related illnesses, and worldwide obesity levels increasing every single day, it’s clear that something pretty drastic needs to happen to change our mindsets when it comes to health and fitness. If this applies to you and you have every intention of cleaning up your diet and doing more exercise, but simply cannot find the motivation, here are a few interesting facts about health and fitness that may inspire you to change your ways.
Exercise exercises your brain
Some people seem to think that exercise is beneficial purely for aesthetic reasons when in reality there are many, many more benefits to exercise and physical activity than simply looking better. One of the great benefits associated with exercise is the fact that it has been found to be beneficial for improving brain power. Yes, when you exercise, even your brain gets a workout! Exercise has been proven to increase brain power, by improving mental function. It boosts energy levels as well as boosting natural serotonin levels which has been found to greatly improve mental clarity and focus. Individuals who exercise regularly are generally found to be far more productive and focused at various tasks at hand. Their reflexes and reaction times also greatly improve compared with more sedentary individuals.
Exercise is a fantastic stress-buster
Nobody likes feeling stressed, stress clouds our judgement, it makes us less productive, it leads to depression, and it generally makes life unpleasant for us, and everybody around us. Though it can sometimes be tough to force ourselves to hit the gym or go for a run, once we’re up and running (pardon the pun) we then benefit greatly as exercise has been proven to be a fantastic stress-buster. Exercise not only promotes the release of endorphins, which are chemicals naturally secreted by our bodies that make us feel happy, confident and relaxed, but it also leads to other natural relaxation responses within the body as well. If you’re feeling a little stressed and on edge, getting in a great workout will help make you feel great in no time at all.
It isn’t difficult to find time to train
One of the main excuses that people use for not exercising and working out more is the fact that they “don’t have time to exercise”. It’s funny how they don’t have time to exercise, yet they have the time to lounge around on the sofa watching poorly acted soap operas every night. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend hours upon hours in a gym, or run miles upon miles to benefit from exercise. In reality, even training in as little amount of time as 15 – 20 minutes can be hugely beneficial, and not just for weight loss/physique enhancing purposes either. You can perform bodyweight exercises at home or on your lunch break in the workplace, you can do circuit training at the gym, moving from exercise to exercise with very little rest, you can even go for a quick power walk around the block if you feel so inclined. The simple fact that any exercise is better than no exercise, and as little as 15 – 20 minutes will still burn calories, tone the muscles, and promote overall health and general well-being.
Exercise will help you prevent illness
Another great benefit of regular exercise is the fact that it has been proven to naturally increase our immune systems within our bodies. Our immune systems fend off illnesses and diseases by attacking toxins, germs, bacteria, and free-radicals that cause illness and disease. Naturally the stronger an immune system, the healthier the individual, and the weaker the immune system, the more prone to illness and disease an individual may become. One key benefit of exercise is that it naturally boosts white blood cell counts which make up a vital part of our immune systems. Another benefit is that as it helps to reduce harmful LDL cholesterol levels, and reduce hypertension whilst regulating blood sugar levels, strengthening the heart, and more besides, it promotes overall health and well-being protecting against cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, and much more besides. Simply put, exercise is about so much more than losing fat and looking better.
It’s great for the heart
When we talk about cardiovascular exercise, the word cardio is making reference to the ancient Greek word for heart, which was Kardia. Not surprisingly then, cardiovascular exercise is incredibly beneficial for the heart as it helps to strengthen it, thus making it far more productive. What many of us aren’t often aware of, the heart is actually a muscle, and just like any other muscle in our bodies, it responds to training, becoming bigger and stronger. Strengthening the heart will improve its efficiency as it will become bigger and stronger. The stronger it is, the less likely it will be to suffer from heart disease or a heart attack, and on top of that, it will also be able to pump far more oxygenated blood around the body. The more oxygen that is able to be pumped around the body, the healthier and more productive we become. The stronger the heart becomes, the lower the heart rate is because it is able to pump more blood around the body with each beat. This takes stress off the heart as it doesn’t have to work as hard, so again, it makes it less likely to become damaged.