Probably the most significant thing to do to promote health is to use your body. The body is made to function optimally when it has much higher levels of activity than what we find in the sedentary modern life. The lack of physical activity is the leading cause of many physical and mental diseases. Exercise is beneficial for all, regardless of their age or physical ability. By simply incorporating more exercise into your life, you can see a striking improvement in your overall physical and mental health. The benefits that you can obtain range from immediate, like an improved mood and energy, to longterm, like ensuring healthier aging. By introducing some mild and regular physical activity, you will have made one of the most critical steps towards improving your health and reclaiming wellness in your life!

So, what are the health benefits of exercise?

Exercise improves your overall mood and boosts your motivation.

When you are engaged in exercise, your body releases chemicals, and changes start to happen inside your brain. On one side, endorphins are produced to inhibit the communication of pain signals. Endorphins are the “feel-good” hormones that can make you feel happier and can help with mild depression. Another change you can expect is related to dopamine. During exercise, there is increased oxygen flow to the brain, and dopamine is produced. Dopamine increases motivation and is very beneficial for people that are stuck and suffer from a lack of motivation.

Exercise can help you control your weight

Engaging in physical activity makes you burn calories. Moreover, regular exercise leads to muscle gain. As muscles use more energy than fat, even at rest, your metabolism is increased. In combination with balanced nutrition, it can help you obtain and maintain a healthy weight.

Exercise improves blood circulation and lower risk of heart disease

Physical activity boosts HDL cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol, and also decreases unhealthy triglycerides. These two combined make your blood flowing more smoothly. The improved blood circulation lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Exercise strengthens your bones and muscles.

Regular physical activity can slow the process of losing bone density that comes with aging. Furthermore, it can increase your muscle mass and, therefore, strengthen the muscles to support your weight and reduce strain to your bones and joints. Strengthening the body the right way can also help you obtain a good posture. Having good posture is essential to avoid a number of problems, ranging from back and joint pain to stress and insomnia. In the long run, having strong bones and muscles can help you prepare for healthy aging.

Exercise promotes better sleep

Regular physical activity can assist you in falling asleep faster and get more and better quality sleep. Good sleep is essential to your overall wellbeing as it affects your psychological and mental health.

Exercise improves cognitive function

Physical activity leads to increased blood flow to the brain. The increased blood supply results in better brain function, improved focus, learning ability and memory function.

Exercise can be fun

Physical activity can be fun. You can find a sport that you enjoy, makes you unwind and feel happy. There is also a positive social element in some physical activities, as you can plan them with friends and family. You can enjoy a nice walk or go dancing with a friend!

So start simple

If you practice little or no physical activity, you should be careful about how you engage in sports. In particular, you should be cautious with high injury risk sports like basketball or even running. The simplest thing you can do is start by adding more walk to your everyday life. Go to work or groceries by walking, if this is an option, and gradually plan longer walks.

Walking is an excellent form of exercise. It has low injury risk, it is free and easy to adopt for most. The repetitive movement of the steps and the opposite swinging of the arms also has a soothing effect. Alongside with the excursion of endorphins during the walk, walking can help to reduce stress levels. Walking in a park, or even a beautiful city street allows the beauty of the environment to take control of your thoughts. Without judgment, you can appreciate the beauty and let the thoughts of your mind come unbiassed like in a state of meditation.

What about aerobic?

The intensity and frequency of your exercise can also play an important role. Maintaining an aerobic activity of about thirty minutes, five days a week, or more, can ensure the maximum health benefits for your cardiovascular system. If you haven’t been exercising regularly, it is best that you gradually build up towards that goal.

Other things to keep in mind

  • Find a physical activity you enjoy. You will feel better and also be more prone to sticking with it.
  • Consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise, especially if you haven’t exercised for a long time or have any health issues.
  • You can include as much exercise as it feels pleasant for you. You should, however, be mindful of how your body responds to any physical activity and careful not to strain your body. For example, running is an excellent form of exercise but may cause strain to your joints and injury if you have extra weight or an imbalanced body.
  • Try to vary your exercise and activities. It will better develop the different muscles of your body. Also, doing only one kind of discipline has the risk, if doing something wrong and repeatedly like a false movement, of causing injury or imbalance to your body.

13 thoughts on “What are the health benefits of exercise

  1. Tucker

    Your recommendation to find an activity you enjoy is an essential one for me! Since high school, I’ve never had an easy time exercising just to exercise. I like to hike because I like to explore and observe nature. I like playing basketball because I like the team chemistry and competition. I like running because it makes me focus on my breath. These are just a few examples, but I feel like exercise is so much easier when you really enjoy the acvitity! 

    1. Elef

      Hello Tucker, thank you for your comment. I agree those are great examples of exercise that are both beneficial and very enjoyable!

  2. Nathaniel

    Hello Elef – Great post on exercise.  The thing with exercise is to just start and keep at it.  Once it becomes part of a routine it becomes habitual.  I walk for exercise in the mornings and when I don’t, usually because of weather, I really miss it.  It also makes you feel better to know that you’re doing something that benefiting your body and general health.

  3. Anita L Manuel

    I have been having problems with motivation to exercise and reading that exercising releases a chemical that will encourage me to exercise peaked my interest. I have often heard that in order to gain momentum, an object has to first start moving. I used to exercise daily but stopped and now getting going again is difficult.

    Your article reminded me of when I used to exercise and how I motivated myself. I started by simply walking to the end of the sidewalk for about a week. Then I would walk to the stop sign on my street. Next, I walked around the block. Gradually, I built up to walking all over my city.

    I am glad that I read your article because if I did it back then, I can surely do it now. I want to experience all the benefits you highlighted in this article. I, especially, want to experience better sleep and better focus. Lately, I find that I’m having problems concentrating and being creative. Since reading your post, I believe this may be a result of a lack of exercise.

    One question: When should I hydrate and eat-before I walk or after?

    1. Elef

      Thank you for your comment and for sharing your experience. Considering eating, you should avoid having heavy meals before your workout. If you know you have planned a workout in 2 hours, eat some healthy carbohydrates. You can hydrate your body before the workout and keep hydrated during the exercise with a few sips. After, you can eat and drink.

  4. Neko Cat

    Thank you for this beautiful article. I have severe depression and anxiety, so hopping on the treadmill is the most exercise I get. It used to be something I grudgingly did for 5 minutes at a time until I started wearing earbuds and listening to happy music while walking. Now a half-hour goes pretty quick! I do feel better after a walk. I feel better about myself and the day. If you can find something that motivates you – music, in my case – it makes all the difference!

    1. Elef

      Hello Neko Cat, thank you for your reply. I agree, listening to music while walking can be both motivating and relaxing!

  5. drinkteahub

    There are so many great benefits of exercise but I’d not stopped to think about just how many benefits there are so this is a great motivating article that I needed to read! My exercise levels always drop in the winter because it’s so wet and cold outside but your post has convinced me I really need to put the effort into keeping up my activity levels over the winter. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Anastazja

    Your article is very timely.  For the last several years, I have been walking for at least an hour 4 days weekly and doing light weights at a gym 3 days weekly.  After an accident 8 months ago, my physical activity stopped.  Recently my doc insisted that I begin again slowly.  Your article has inspired me to get started.  The easiest thing to do, as you have pointed out, is to walk.  As it turns out, I need all the benefits related to walking that you have listed.  Today I start… a whatever pace I can. Thanks for this clear, well written, inspiring article.

  7. Parveen

    Hey, Thanks for writing on health exercise. There are lots of benefits from exercise. It will help you control your weight. strengthens our bones and muscles. It also improves blood circulation and lower risk of heart disease. 

    From your post I learn one thing – I have to exercise daily.

    Thanks for sharing very useful info regarding exercise. I will share it with my friends.

    Parveen

    1. Elef

      Thank you Parveen for your comment

  8. Rodarrick

    The health benefits attached to exercises is really massive and must not be taken with levity. Exercises are good way to get us rejuvenated, happy and active to prepare for the things and days to come. This is really great to see here. It is true that exercise can help trigger our motivation and to keep us pushing to attaining all the better heights and keep moving up to achieve more and more. Thumbs up to you for sharing

    1. Elef

      Thank you Rodarrick for your comment

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