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What Exercise Can Do To Your Body?

Exercise helps us stay in great shape and look fabulous and therefore boost our self-confidence– not only that but there are many other health benefits of regular exercise. Physical activity or exercise benefit the overall functioning of our body, including metabolic, circulatory and immune systems – thus helping us to stay healthy besides looking great.

Working out releases chemicals known as endorphins that triggers a positive feeling in the body. Depression affects roughly 9.5% of adult population each year in the United States, making it one of the major causes of disability and unproductivity. Research studies have found that regular exercise improves mood disorder and also reduces the occurrence of depression, especially in women and elderly. It helps to lift up our moods and keep it elevated for longer duration. It also provides an instant boost of positive energy which helps us to accomplish our many other goals. In one study, clinically depressed adults who participated in an exercise intervention for 12 weeks showed great improvements in reduced depression and anxiety compared to a control group and also retained many of these benefits through the one year follow-up period.

Regular exercise can help to increase our muscle mass over time. When we have more muscle mass compared to fat mass or adipose tissue, we therefore increase our capacity for burning more energy from calorie intake. Thus we can have a higher metabolism and therefore more energy release. It also helps to boost our immunity making our white blood cells better equipped to fight against germs and therefore prevent diseases and infections. Additionally it helps to prevent and reduce cellular inflammation – even those inflammation that could eventually turn pre-cancerous. Even though the exact mechanism by which it boost immunity and reduce inflammation is not clear, most likely this is an effect of the improved blood circulation that is also one of the benefits of regular exercising. Working out also helps to reduce fluid retention by removing the excess fluids from the body.

Research studies, such as the Framingham study have found that there are many benefits to our heart when we exercise regularly. In a statement released by the American Heart Association (AHA), aerobic exercise is recommended to prevent primary and secondary cardiovascular disease. Aerobic exercise on a regular basis is found to have a lowering effect on blood pressure helping it to stabilized and approach optimal levels. At the same time, exercise also helps to balance the levels of cholesterol. In the human body, we require cholesterol to keep us in good health. However we need to maintain the proper balance of the two types of cholesterol , HDL and LDL. Having too much of LDL and not enough HDL could lead to heart disease and stroke. Thus we try to optimize the HDL/LDL levels – there is a constant tug of war between them and it is their relative ratio that is more relevant. Regular aerobic exercise helps us to strike that preferred balance.

As mentioned before exercise helps to lift up our moods due to the release of endorphins. That means it also alleviates anxiety and helps us deal with the everyday stress of life more effectively. Last but not the least, it is also a lot of fun to work out regularly!

References: http://www.cmaj.ca/content/174/6/801.short