Monday, 29 October 2012

The Benefits of Exercise

Regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. People that exercise on a regular basis are less likely to get ill and actually more likely to live longer. Becoming more physically active or exercising regularly not only makes you physically fitter, it actually helps improve your mental health and general sense of well being.

Regular exercise is the key to maintaining a healthy body weight but it is important that it is done using the correct techniques. This is where a personal trainer would be useful to help structure an exercise plan making sure it is executed using the correct techniques to keep you injury free. However you must remember that nutrition and hydration also play an important role. Eating the correct nutrients provides the fuel you need to exercise and drinking fluids helps to prevent dehydration.

Below highlights some of the health benefits associated with physical activity and regular exercise:

Heart Health

  • Exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Inactive people have almost double the risk of dying from heart disease compared to those that are active. Think about a change if you do not do any exercise at all!
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) is common in the UK and is likely to lead to a heart attack or stroke. Exercise can help to prevent high blood pressure and even reduce it if it is already too high
  • Exercise can help improve the balance of your cholesterol (LDL- "bad" cholesterol and HDL - "good" cholesterol). High levels of LDL (low density lipoproteins) and low levels of HDL (high density lipoprotein) increase your risk of heart disease. Regular exercise such as brisk walking or running is linked to higher levels of HDL.
Bones and Joints
  • You are more likely to have lower back pain if you don't do any exercise and exercise can help reduce back pain if you are already suffering  from it.
  • Regular exercise can help to treat and reduce the pain caused by osteoarthritis. This is the most common form of arthritis and exercising may actually prevent and slow down its progression.
  • Physical activity can increase bone mineral density in children and help to maintain strong bones in adolescents. it also slows down bone degeneration in later life helping to prevent osteoporosis. 
Chronic Diseases
  • You are less likely to develop certain cancers if you are physically active. Exercise protects against colon cancer, breast cancer and may also help prevent lung cancer.
  • Partaking in regular exercise can help to manage and prevent diabetes. Over 2 million people in the UK have diabetes and keeping active can actually help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Mental Health and Well-being
  • Exercise can help both prevent and treat mental illness. It is suggested that regular physical activity could be as effective for treating depression as taking treatments or medicines, with fewer side-effects
  • Regular exercise can help deal with anxiety-related disorders, such as phobias, panic attacks or stress.
  • You are likely to feel happier, more satisfied with life and have an improved sense of well-being if you are physically active. Regular exercise will help you sleep better, lower your stress levels and boost your self-image.
  • Regular physical activity can help manage your weight. Physical activity burns up calories and so helps to create a healthy energy balance.
  • You are more likely to be obese if you are inactive and the more exercise you do, the more weight you will lose. However combining exercise with a healthy diet will mean you lose weight faster.
So as we can see their are many benefits to regular exercise. If you have a very inactive lifestyle then maybe its time to see where you can introduce some exercise into your life and start today. Maybe you find it hard to motivate yourself to do physical exercise, then maybe you need a PERSONAL TRAINER!

Look out for my next blog: Nutrition: Macro-nutrients explained

Rich Palmer PT
"making your fitness goals a reality"

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