The cult of the body and the practice of physical exercise is increasingly becoming a common practice and a reality almost everywhere.
As you may already know, exercise is key to maintain life quality and to improve the physical fitness levels.
Apart from these two factors, there are many other aspects that will improve as soon as you start your physical exercise.
Among the most well-known aspects are the esthetic aspects, of which weight loss and the increase of the muscle mass are part of.
However, the benefits associated with the exercise outweigh the esthetic benefits.
There are other effects associated with sports practice that directly influence the decrease in the likelihood of the onset of diseases, stress levels, cognitive function and energy, for example.
In this article, you will then be able to see some of the more “obvious” and other not-so-obvious benefits of the regular exercise practice.
Benefits of the practice of physical exercise
Improves sleep and energy levels
Sleep is a fundamental process in the recovery of the organism.
During sleep, our body produces hormones that can help promote the recovery of our tissues, such as muscle tissue, for example.
It is during the rest that our body recovers and rebuilds itself.
During the practice of physical exercise, the muscle fibers are destroyed.
In the post-workout, muscle tissue regenerates, giving place to muscle building.
Therefore, sleep is essential for all people in general, and for athletes in particular.
Exercise helps our body to go into “deep sleep” more easily and is pointed out as a tool that influences the sleep quality:
“Of the handful of studies that have been performed, they suggest that exercise significantly improves the sleep of people with chronic insomnia.”
Indirectly, sleep deprivation can be caused by sedentary habits that subsequently may cause other health problems.
Therefore, sleep can improve sports performance, as well as exercise practice can improve the sleep quality.
Be aware that too intense exercises can interfere with sleep patterns.
On the other hand, the practice of physical exercise can increase energy levels.
It seems contradictory, because when we practice physical exercise we are likely to get tired, but, evidence suggests that, physical exercise increases energy levels and reduces fatigue.
In a study published in the Psychological Bulletin, several studies involving almost 7000 people were analyzed.
According to Patrick O’Connor:
“More than 90% of the studies showed the same thing: Sedentary people who completed a regular exercise program reported improved fatigue to groups that did not exercise.”
So, if you are looking to increase your energy levels, improve your sleep quality and, consequently, your athletic performance, exercise can be a good option!
Helps control weight
Physical exercise has direct influence on weight loss and maintenance.
It is known that, in order to lose weight, there needs to be an energy expenditure higher than caloric intake (calorie burning > calorie intake).
Studies show that, overweight, and the explanation for problems such as obesity, is due more to the lack of energy expenditure than to the large consumption of food:
“(…) Evidence suggests that much of obesity is more due to low energy expenditure than to high food consumption, while the physical inactivity of modern life seems to be the biggest etiological factor in the growth of this disease in industrialized societies. “
Therefore, as physical exercise helps to increase energy expenditure, exercise can be effective in combating overweight problems such as obesity, and in maintaining positive results.
Strengthens the heart and helps to control blood pressure
The heart and blood pressure are directly connected.
The health of the heart and blood pressure levels, among other things, can be influenced by the amount of physical activity we do.
Abnormal blood pressure levels can cause cardiac problems.
High pressure can damage the arteries and thus affect the ability of the heart to pump blood in a normal way and prevent it from spreading oxygen and nutrients to the rest of the body effectively, something that will affect the normal functioning of the entire body.
Studies indicate that, individuals who train regularly have lower blood pressure levels at rest and that exercise practice can help prevent increased blood pressure.
These results can be explained by the increased oxidation of fat (excess fat can enhance the narrowing of the arteries) and by vasodilation (dilation of the arteries – something that allows better blood circulation) inherent in the exercise.
So probably the more sedentary we are, the higher the blood pressure levels will be.
In relation to the heart, there is an even more obvious effect of physical exercise in your health.
In the same way that physical activity helps to exercise the muscles of the legs, the arms, the shoulders, etc., it also helps to exercise the heart muscle, increasing its resistance and making its “work” more efficient.
Why not start by following some of the indications of the American Heart Association?
“To improve overall cardiovascular health, we suggest at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity). Thirty minutes a day, five times a week is an easy goal to remember.”
Emotional and cognitive improvements and stress reduction promotion
Some studies have pointed out positive results between the exercise and the improvement of cognitive functions, emphasizing that, the active people, are less susceptible to have mental dysfunctions when compared with sedentary people, verifying positive results in older people.
Especially in older individuals, loss of autonomy can lead to mental disturbances and diminished self-esteem.
The physical exercise, by improving these levels, presents itself as a valid solution for all people who have low self-esteem, because it provides the practitioners tools to solve problems independently, and can also influence the increase of confidence levels.
It can also be noted that the exercise promotes the production of hormones and neurotransmitters that make us feel good (like endorphins and serotonin), something that directly influences our emotional and cognitive state.
It even helps reduce stress, a reality that can affect both our physical and mental performance.
“Human and animal research indicates that being physically active improves the way the body handles stress because of changes in the hormone responses, and that exercise affects neurotransmitters in the brain such as dopamine and serotonin that affect mood and behaviors.”
Also, often allied to the question of self-esteem, the aesthetic question appears.
Exercise in itself is a catabolic process, that is, it promotes the destruction of cells.
However, it is a hypertrophy promoter, encourages muscles to adapt and evolve.
Exercising regularly, when conjugated with proper nutrition, improves lean mass levels, reduces fatty mass levels, increases muscle tone and improves posture.
These benefits are usually the most highlighted by people who start doing exercise.
The practice of physical exercise and its benefits: In conclusion
These are some of the benefits of regular exercise practice.
It is important to mention that there is an ideal dose for most of these results, and it is necessary to resave that extreme intensity and volume may have adverse effects.
With all the benefits described above, and in the impossibility to list them all, it is fair to say that the most effective “medicine” in the market is physical exercise and that it should be consumed by the general population.