Being physically active has been a huge ongoing campaign in Singapore for the past few years. State-wide challenges such as the National Steps Challenge reward us for being physically active but is there a bigger message at hand here? We all know exercise is good for our health, but a lot of us don’t know the full extent of the benefits.
The most prominent benefit of exercising is that it helps with weight management. Exercising increases our caloric expenditure, which helps us lose weight or maintain our ideal weight. Regular exercise also helps to optimise your metabolic rate, which makes weight management a much simpler affair.
Exercising makes your body physically stronger because it builds bone and muscle strength. Stronger bones contribute to better balance which means greater stability and less injuries, while stronger muscles contribute to general fitness in carrying out daily activities like climbing the stairs or carrying groceries. There's no need to be averse to actively building muscle; a bodybuilder's physique requires years of very specific training and nutrition. Instead, holistic strength training will ensure that your body's muscles remain functionally healthy in the years to come!
Exercise provides rehabilitation for chronic pains such as lower back pain. The right kind of exercise can be a good form of physiotherapy for stubborn aches or long-term injuries. However, be sure to consult a specialist to recommend the ideal workout before you start exercising.
Beyond making you physically stronger, exercise also keeps your body healthier by reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases. By helping with weight management, exercise also keeps obesity-related diseases like diabetes and heart disease at bay. Regular exercise also keeps your blood sugar and insulin levels at healthy levels.
The post-exercise glow is a real thing – exercise benefits your skin and makes it look more youthful by triggering the production of anti-oxidants. These anti-oxidants repair skin cell damage and stimulate blood flow, improving skin health.
There are several ways in which exercise is good for the brain. Firstly, exercise triggers the release of hormones that facilitate the growth of brain cells. Next, exercise also boosts blood flow to the brain, allowing it to get more oxygen to function better. Furthermore, oxygen also helps to improve memory by increasing the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory. This slows down your brain’s ageing and also protects the brain against degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and mental disorders like schizophrenia.
The rush of hormones from a good exercise session is a significant energy booster that helps you fight through fatigue and stay more focused. This energy boost is especially helpful for people suffering from chronic fatigue or health conditions that affect energy levels.
Along with making you feel more energised, exercise also makes you happier. Hormones like endorphins that are released during exercise evoke positive feelings and pushes away negative ones. This makes exercise a good form of therapy for people suffering from anxiety or depression.
Exercise helps you sleep better at night and fights insomnia by making sure you are sufficiently tired come bedtime. Furthermore, the stress-relieving effect of exercise helps your mind and body relaxed so negative thoughts don’t keep you awake for hours at night. Exercise also helps to regulate your body’s circadian rhythm. The heating up of your core body temperature during exercise allows your body to cool down significantly by bedtime, promoting restful sleep.
Sleep isn’t the only bedtime activity that benefits from exercise; so does sex. Exercise facilitates blood circulation and flexibility, boosting one’s libido and enhances sexual performance and the overall experience as well. For older men, exercise helps to reduce symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
In short, physical activity is indispensable when you are striving for optimal physical and mental health. The most straightforward way to reap these benefits is to simply set aside time every week to exercise. Proper, dedicated workouts allow you to maximise the time you spend exercising to get the most benefits.