Eating a healthy and balanced diet is an integral part of staying fit. However, in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, one has to undertake exercise routines on a regular basis. For many, this means joining a gym and starting out on a workout regimen. For others, exercise means keeping busy and active for a major part of their day. Whichever approach you take, one thing is clear, exercise has so many benefits, most of which go beyond building more muscles or being to run more miles.
For those that haven’t started exercising, it is never too late to start. The same goes for people who cite busy schedules and other reasons for not exercising. For those that have already started, well what can we say? The benefits might be already clear to you, or you may just be starting to feel it. The effects of exercise on the various body systems are felt both immediately and over time.
When you start exercising, you will be more aware of the elevated heart rate and increasing in breathing. Over time, with regularity of course, you will see the long term effects such as ability to breathe deeply, and much denser bones. But let’s not skimp over the effects lightly, instead let’s look at them in depth.
When you exercise, the body burns the calories that are kept as fat, and this helps to lose weight. Doing this over the long term allows the muscles to be more defined and strengthened, giving one that toned look. The heart beats faster, pumping blood throughout your body at a higher pace. Breathing also becomes faster, helping to keep the lungs and circulatory system in shape.
Burning off the extra fat helps to reduce risks for heart complications and cardiovascular diseases. Additionally, exercise also helps to keep the joints fluid and mobile, thus keeping arthritis and other joint problems at bay. Strength training exercise, on the other hand, helps to make the bones stronger and much denser, reducing the chances of broken bones and osteoporosis.
Skeletal and muscular system effects
As one ages, muscle mass and bone strength decrease. However, this can be significantly halted by regular exercise. The immediate results of exercise on the muscular system is frequent contraction, better circulation of blood to the muscles, and increased muscular temperature. With passage of time and indulgence of regular exercise, the density of your bones increases, which means that you are less likely to suffer bone related injuries and breakages easily.
Regular exercise strengthens the muscles, which also affects the joints in a positive way. Over time, muscles gain mass and increased endurance, which makes it easier for one to perform physical work for longer periods of time without feeling fatigued, especially tasks that are repetitive in nature.
Additionally, regular exercise allows the muscles to store larger amounts of glycogen (energy), and the enzymes that are crucial for energy production become more efficient.
Muscular effects of training are often achieved by strength training. You don’t, however, need to invest in costly gym equipment to do this. There are numerous exercise routines you can do with simple objects around the home, and your own body weight, that can help you strengthen and tone the muscles.
Cardio exercise are better known for their ability to aid weight loss. However, different cardio exercises will bring different results, which makes it important to undertake the right exercise in order to achieve your exercise goals. For example, those looking to lose weight will focus on exercises that are guaranteed to do that. Professional athletes, on the other hand, will look to carry out cardio exercises that improve their ability to carry and use oxygen for longer periods of time.
Regular cardio exercises helps to make the respiratory and cardiovascular systems stronger. It also makes the heart stronger and allows blood to be pumped to all parts of the body. Also, calories are burnt more efficiently, as this occurs, one is able to control their weight.
An increase in the strength and size of the heart increases the cardiac output (amount of blood pumped by the heart in one minute), ability to recover following physical activity, and lowers chances of heart diseases. The blood volume increases, and so does the red blood cell count.
Obviously, cardiovascular exercise sets the tone for all other types of exercises. Therefore, look to integrate cardio exercises (aerobics for example) as much as you can in your exercise routines. Try running, swimming, walking and jogging at least 15 – 30 minutes a day, four times in a week. Alternatively, you can substitute these activities for others that will result in increased breathing and heart rates.
Regular exercise increases blood flow to the brain, making it much easier for this organ to take in much needed oxygen and glucose, and get rid of cellular waste. This improves your ability to organize, plan, think, and multitask. Over time, the benefits go beyond improved thinking, and reduce the risks of cognitive and degenerative brain issues occurring.
When you exercise, the body increases the production of endorphins. Endorphins are responsible for making you feel confident and good about yourself, and in the long run help to avoid stressful and depressing feelings. For some people, exercise helps to improve their self-esteem, but this is also associated with the physical effects. Over time, regular exercisers have pointed to the ability to relax and sleep better as one of the benefits. Exercise also boosts your confidence levels, since it requires you to set and achieve given objectives, which if done result in a sense of accomplishment.
Any kind of exercise will offer great benefits, but is also better to try different exercises to reap the maximum benefits. Aerobic activities are great for your stamina and endurance; strength training improves muscle mass, improves balance, and is the best counter to old age issues; while flexibility exercises like yoga and stretching will prevent injury, limit aches and pains, and improve your range of motion. You can mix it up however you like, and gain the maximum results.