I had never thought of sharing on "why exercise" and always assumed that we all believed and agreed that it was an essential part of everyone's lifestyle regardless of whether one had the time or discipline to do it, until about two years ago when I gradually pulled myself out from a sedentary lifestyle and I established a workout regimen in the morning and started to read more about the different types of workout such as aerobic training, resistance exercise and weight bearing activities. I reckon that exercising may be very often emphasized by all, but sometimes, its benefits may not be so clear and obvious to everyone.
Aerobic exercises benefit the circulation of your blood through your heart and blood vessels, that is, your cardiovascular system. They make our heart work harder, pump more blood, and reduce the risk of developing heart disease. With each beat of your heart, a surge of blood is pumped into your body's intricate web of blood vessels. The pressure exerted on your artery walls as blood passes through helps keep the blood flowing smoothly (what you know as ‘blood pressure'). A build-up of plaques in your arteries, caused by cholesterol in your bloodstream can affect your blood flow and cause serious damage to your cardiovascular system.
A workout on a regular basis benefits your heart because it helps lower the build-up of plaques in arteries by increasing the concentration of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol) and decreasing the concentration of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) in your blood, while keeping the blood pressure at the optimal level. As a result, your heart is able to do a better job in delivering oxygen to all parts of your body. Blood travels more efficiently, bringing much-needed oxygen from your lungs and nutrients to the rest of the body. That's why people generally feel more refreshed and energetic after exercising.
Want to consider some aerobic activities? Try swimming, basketball, rope skipping, jogging (or brisk walking), in-line skating, soccer, or biking.
I am sure most of us have tried doing push-ups, weight lifting in some form, or repeatedly used your muscles to counter some kind of resistance. These are called resistance exercises which the experts believe could strengthen our muscles; preserve bone mass, increase bone density. Regular resistance training can help prevent the bone-weakening disease, osteoporosis.
Walking and jogging are also important activities that bear your body's weight and help build strong muscles and bones. Other resistance workout include pull-ups, running, biking, and rowing.
This benefit is well-known to all who are weight conscious or trying to lose the extra pounds.
Your body needs a certain amount of calories every day just to function. If you eat more calories than your body needs, it may be stored as excess fat. For instance, if you have an excess of 10kg fat, and each gram has some 9 calories, then you have 90000 calories for your body to use!
Exercising helps you achieve or maintain a healthy weight by stoking our metabolism, utilizing and burning the extra calories. And if you exercise, your body works harder and needs more fuel. Even after you stop exercising, your body continues to burn calories at a modestly increased rate for a few hours. The more intensely you workout, the more calories you burn. By burning more calories than you take in, you can reduce body fat, giving you a healthier body composition. Losing body fat can make you look and feel better and can reduce your risk of obesity.
Many people who have problems sleeping find doing moderate exercise at least three hours before bedtime help in relaxing and sleeping better at night. The recent Hibernation Diet Theory teaches that regular exercise could activate production of recovery hormones during sleep, increases our body's metabolic rate and promotes fat-burning. It makes a powerful association between poor sleep and obesity, a disease that has been rising dramatically in developed countries and has reached epidemic levels in the United States. While most of us would associate poor weight control with aging, low metabolism rate, and poor eating habits, many other research studies have also reported and pointed to the relationship between insufficient sleep and weight gain.
So start today, get a good night's sleep, aim for eight hours a night if you can, and add resistance workouts will speed up your weight loss and the body will worker harder at night.
We all know that it definitely feels good to have a strong, flexible body that can do all the activities you enjoy and be able to move your arms and legs freely without feeling tightness or pain. But you may not know that exercising can actually put you in a better mood.
Exercise combats depression by activating the neurotransmitters, which are basically chemicals used by our nerve cells to communicate with one another and often associated with avoiding depression. The balance of these neurotransmitters, namely serotonin and norepinephrine plays a role in how we respond to daily events. When experiencing stress, our level of serotonin, norepinephrine or both may be out of equilibrium. Workouts may help synchronize those brain chemicals.
Exercising also stimulates the production of endorphins, another type of neurotransmitters that produce feelings of well-being, provide for "natural" pain relief, and help you relax.
Sounds good? If you just had a tough day at work and need to let off some steam, go for a workout or a brisk 30-minute walk to calm yourself down.
Well, if you have not any form of physical training for a long while and find it a pain to do so, I suggest that you start doing it 2 times a week and slowly increasing to 3 and then 5 times or more a week. You can do 10 or 15 minutes bouts of workout each time to make up a 30 minutes session a day.
Now, this is a relatively new knowledge for me and thus has become my latest edition to this page (which was previously known as "5 Great Reasons Why We Need to Exercise"). While the above reasons have given us enough incentive to workout, there is yet another reason which I never knew before, the extremely essential lymphatic system. It is a vital network of vessels and nodes responsible for regulating fluids, distributing proteins and filtering out poisons in the fluid between the cells. It is a protector and a defence system against infection, viruses, bacteria, fungi, and disease. The three most important methods of lymphatic circulation are external massage, muscle expansion and contraction, and intense exercise. This means the more you move, the livelier it becomes. When the lymph is not overloaded, our health is maintained with nature's own detox design. But if the lymph is running sluggish and there is too much waste, a blockage in the lymphatic system happens, leading to symptoms like chronic fatigue, water retention, eczema, allergies, arthritis, and infections. For a more detailed account on this topic, read "Exercise Inspires Your Lymphatic System to Work Better".
Here I would like to mention Leslie Sansone's "Walk Away the Pounds" video as I personally have been benefiting from it ever since I stumbled upon it in the music/movie video shop and started "walking with it" in early 2007, for two to three times a week. It helps me to get on the road to better fitness and stronger muscles and infuses me with higher energy level in the day. This 30-minute walking workout, which is equivalent of a two-mile brisk walk, has no complicated body movements or coordination of the arms and legs, so I think it's fairly easy to follow even for a newbie who is starting out with workouts. Leslie uses beginner-friendly walking-style steps like marches, side-steps and kicks. And I especially like the short intervals of some slightly more intense resistance exercise for the arms, shoulders, thighs, and legs which makes all the walking less monotonous and more motivating. All you need to do is get some a pair of dumb bells of about 2 pounds each (actually this is also optional) and watch and follow what Leslie does on the TV screen!