Reasons to ExerciseBy: Donovan Baldwin
It is unbelievable, but today there are at least 20 million people living with diabetes in America and th Sure, we know we need to exercise for health, but what are the real reasons to exercise?
Well, the list can be very long, but here are a few items you may wish to consider.
Exercise will help with fat loss: Notice, I did NOT say, "weight loss". You see, while weight can be a general indicator of health and fitness, it isn't a perfect indicator. People have different body types, for example, and a physically fit, attractive, and perfectly healthy person can weigh more than what the charts say they should. It isn't necessarily what you weigh that's as important as what that weight is comprised of. After all, at his peak of health and fitness, Arnold Schwarzenegger was "overweight" but had a very low level of fat on his body.
While some fat in and on the body is necessary to health and proper functioning of various systems within the body, it is excess fat which becomes the villain and which must be gotten rid of. You exercise to do a lot of good things for your body, and to burn fat is one of them.
YOU have heard that exercise burns calories, but, when done properly, it will also burn fat. Burning calories is important because excess calories is where fat comes from, and when we burn the calories through physical activity, they do not have a chance to be stored as fat.
People who are overweight are more likely to be susceptible to a wide range of health difficulties.
Exercise can help prevent disease: It has been demonstated through many studies that participating in regular physical activity can help prevevent the occurence of many diseases and degenerative conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and depression.
These studies also show that a lack of exercise is often a contributing risk factor in many of these diseases and conditions. Sometimes, the effect of exercise is indirect but still of importance. As mentioned above, exercising to lose weight is a common goal, but often, a direct effect of losing weight is improved health in many areas.
Exercise helps improve overall health: Well, if regular exercise, combined with healthy eating and living practices, can help combat disease and degenerative conditions, isn't that a pretty big deal? If, in addition to that, a regular program of physical activity can indirectly produce positive health effects as well, such as in the discussion on exercise and weight loss above, isn't that even better? What more do you need to say about the subject?
Of course, those are some great points, but when you consider the overall positive effects of exercise on the immune system, the muscular system, the bones, the cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary systems, you can see that the value of regular moderate exercise can be even greater than originally anticipated. The person who exercises regularly CAN, in most cases, expect a more effective immune system to combat ill-health in many forms, stronger bones (an effect that can carry over into the senior years), a stronger, healthier heart and lungs, which, in turn, will make life easier and healthier.
Oh yes, don't forget the stronger muscles which will be available to carry that healthy body around!
Exercise can improve your mental state: You may have heard of "runner's high", that euphoric feeling that those who exercise regularly become familiar with. It's not just a state of mind! It is actually a result of the active body manufacturing, releasing, and/or activating "feel good" chemicals. Not only will the body and brain be exposed to natural, internal products such as endorphins and seratonin DURING the exercise period, but levels will commonly remain elevated in the regular exerciser.
Exercise to relieve depression has long been a standard in the arsenal of phychological health. Exercise and stress (which can be involved in a myriad of health problems) is a much studied area, and the verdict is in. Exercise can help improve not only depression and stress, but can even elevate the ability of the brain to function as it goes about its daily tasks, including regulating the processes of the body, and as it attempts to solve problems, learn new tasks, and make sense of the vast amount of data the moder person is exposed to.
While on the subject of how you feel, let's touch briefly on "how you feel about yourself".
When you take positive steps to improve yourself, you feel better...and better about yourself. As your body becomes leaner, trimmer, more effective, you feel better...and better about yourself. As you become stronger, healthier, and more full of the joy of living, you feel better...and better about yourself. Feelings such as these cannot help but be radiated out towards those around you, and be reflected back at you, making you feel better...and better about yourself!
Having said all that, it comes as no surprise that....
Exercise improves your ability to function socially: Not only will you feel better, look better, be healthier, and have a better self image and improved self confidence, but you will actually be better able to perform socially. Whether you want to learn to do ballroom dancing, ice skating, or simply stand face-to-face with someone who once would have overwhelmed you with THEIR presence, you will be better able to stand your ground. You will know that you are better prepared mentally and physically to meet the rigors of life, love (and sex), work, and play...and enjoy it!
Exercise does not have to be hard...at least at first. It is something that you get more out of the more you put in. However, at first, if you have not been exercising, any small change to get started is literally a step in the right direction. Oh, eventually you will probably need some good shoes, a set of barbells, a yoga mat, or a professional fitness trainer, but at the start, you will just need the knowledge of what regular exercise can do for you, and the willingness to get started and stay with it.
Maybe the reasons to exercise I have outlined above will help.
Donovan Baldwin is a freelance writer currently living in central Texas. He is a University of West Florida alumnus, a member of Mensa, and is retired from the U. S. Army after 21 years of service. He has published many of his articles on diet and weightloss at http://nodiet4me.com/articledirectory .