Twelve Reasons You Need to Exercise, Part One
Ahhh, exercise! You love it or you hate it! Most of us try to find excuses to avoid it. Once you understand the benefits though, and especially once you experience them, it’s hard to NOT want to exercise!
If you read my post “The Deal on Sugar”, you will notice that many of the things you experience from regular exercise are the same benefits you enjoy when abstaining from sugars. This is one of the amazing things about the way that God created our body! When we are taking care of the various needs that we have, it all works together to heal and thrive.
Probably the most common reason people start an exercise program is to lose a few pounds. It is a great place to start! Regular exercise (cardio, resistance training, even just moving around more) burns calories while working with your hormones to use stored fat for energy. An added bonus is as you lose fat and build muscle, your metabolism is also becoming more efficient. This means you will burn more fat and calories faster! Who doesn’t want that?
Exercise causes the body to release endorphins, giving you that amazing feeling of happiness and accomplishment. Other hormones that are released after a workout are norepinephrine, serotonin, dopamine, and BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), all of which work together to improve your mood and alleviate stress and anxiety.
It seems a bit counterintuitive that working hard would give you more energy. The way this works is through the process of muscles getting stronger. The heart is a muscle, and as you work it consistently, it functions more optimally. This results in better blood flow to the rest of the body, which translates into every other muscle working more efficiently as well.
Immediately after a workout, you may feel a temporary relief from pain. This is because of the endorphins and other natural opiates that the body produces during exercise. There are more long-term pain reducing benefits as well. Moving and stretching the muscles increases their strength and flexibility, helping to cut down on back and joint pain, as well as the discomfort of stiff muscles.
Improved Bone Density
When we exercise, we know that we are making our muscles stronger. We don’t usually think, “I am going to get into a good workout routine so I can make my bones big and strong.” But, that is exactly what is happening! It happens more with exercises like running, where you are contacting a hard surface (as opposed to swimming, which is very buoyant and low-impact).
Increased heart rate during exercise improves blood flow to all of the body. One of the wonderful side effects of this is more nutrients reaching the cells, including the skin cells. Exercise also assists in the production of the oils on our skin, giving us that softness and glow that we all desire!
Next post, we will continue with the other six reasons you need to exercise more! See you there!