The benefits of exercise

We all know that exercise is good for our health – the press these days is full of articles about various health benefits! These series of articles will aim to look at individual benefits of exercise in more detail, but here are some of the benefits that you might encounter:

Reduce Body weight
The main reason that many people decide to introduce exercise in to their already busy lives is to lose weight. Regular exercise alongside a balanced diet can help to reduce overall body weight, and the body’s overall fat percentage.
Improve cardiovascular fitness Do you feel out of breath when you’ve reached the top stair? When you’ve had to make that last minute run for the bus? Exercise can help to improve our stamina meaning you be able to exert yourself for longer and reduce the amount of time it takes to recover.

Increase muscular strength and endurance With regular exercise, not only will your muscles strengthen, improving back pain, but you’ll also notice the ability of your muscles to keep working without fatigue is improved. Regular physical training will also increase your muscular strength and endurance and can be in the form of a push up or even sitting down in a chair immediately getting up and repeating the process.

 Reduce blood pressure When we exercise more often, not only will our blood pressure be reduced to a more manageable level, but, following an exercise session, it will return to its normal level more quickly, the fitter we become. This is a sign that our respiratory system is becoming more efficient.
 Decrease stress levels Exercise can help us to deal with stress by relaxing tense muscles, helping us to sleep better, and releasing chemicals that give you a sense of well being.
 Reduce resting pulse rate Along with reduced blood pressure, you should find that your resting pulse rate reduces, as you continue with the exercise programme. This is another sign that our cardiovascular system is becoming more efficient.

Improve posture Regular use of Flexi-bar and wearing your MBTs will help to improve your posture. Flexi-bar works your core muscles. These deep, involuntary core muscles are our postural muscles and are responsible for holding our spine in it’s optimal position.

Improve flexibility Flexibility is one of the most neglected aspects of fitness, and the benefits are often realised too late. Stretching after exercise increases flexibility. Being inflexible creates imbalances within the body, for instance, tight hamstrings can lead to tilting the pelvis out of alignment, creating hip and lower back pain.

Speed up the body’s metabolic rate
The metabolic rate - the rate at which the body burns calories - is partly determined by the amount of muscle we have. In general, the more muscle we have, the higher our metabolic rate.

Regulate sleeping patterns
Exercise can regulate our body clocks and prevent sleep deprivation, which can lead to weight gain. Exercising outdoors, and being exposed to light also helps to promote sleep. Exercising creates a rise in body temperature, and a compensatory drop in temperature follows this a few hours later. This drop in temperature makes it easier for us to fall asleep and to stay asleep. Why not try exercising at different times of the day and see if this makes a difference to your sleep patterns?

Reduce cholesterol and the risk of coronary heart disease
Coronary heart disease is the most common cause of death in the UK. Regular physical exercise and a balance diet can prevent you from becoming a statistic.

Improve self-confidence and self-esteem
Exercise causes the body to release endorphins; adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine, which make us feel happier. The resulting weight-loss that may occur with regular activity and a balanced diet will also help to feel happier and more confident.

Guard against the onset of osteoporosis through resistance training
Weight-bearing exercise or resistance training will strengthen and promote healthy bones and help to prevent bone diseases. This doesn’t need to be in the form of lifting weights or using the equipment at the gym.

Overcome outside stresses and reduce the susceptibility to infection or illness
As your body becomes more capable of coping with everyday activity, it will have more spare energy to fight against infections and disease.

How much physical activity should I do?
For an adult weighing 60kg (132lbs), regular, moderate intensity physical activity means using up about an extra 100 calories (kcal) per day, most days of the week. This is about 30 minutes of activity, such as a 1.5 mile (2km) brisk walk. And of course, exercise can be in small bouts, a fast walk up the stairs to the office, parking furthest from the shops and having to walk that extra distance all adds up. Exercise has numerous benefits for us all! We have talked about some of these this week, but there are many more!