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7 Health Benefits of Exercising

It’s no secret exercising is great for you, but maybe you don’t know how deep the benefits go. On the surface, exercising is one of the best ways to shed pounds, reduce the risk of heart failure, and build muscle mass. However, beneath the surface, exercise is doing more. Read on to discover how the biological processes of working out set off, and what those processes do for your body.

  1. Fights Heart Disease

Exercising regularly increases the body’s production of “good cholesterol” particles, which move fat molecules from critical parts of the body like your arteries and carry them to the liver, where they are flushed out of your system. 

Removing these fat molecules puts less strain on your heart, as well as reduces your chances of heart attacks and strokes. Arteries free of fatty tissues allow for smoother blood flow, ensuring oxygen and nutrients can move quickly throughout the body.

  1. Manages Weight

The more you exercise, the more calories you burn. This advantage to exercising comes on top of elevated levels of good cholesterol. Exercising helps you manage weight, and managed weight comes with a host of health benefits, such as lower risk of cancers, reduced risk of heart problems, and better lung function.

The theory goes that the less you weigh, the less work your organs need to do to sustain you, particularly your heart and lungs. Losing weight may also contribute to better overall self-esteem too, if losing weight and getting in shape is a top goal of yours.

  1. Boosts Energy Levels

Every part of your body begins to operate more efficiently as you exercise. Your lung capacity increases, so you can move faster and further without losing your breath. 

Exercising gets your heart pumping too, which not only improves the strength of your heart muscles, but also speeds up the flow of essential elements from one area of the body to the next. You get a rush of oxygen and nutrients to crucial parts of your body, allowing your body to run for longer periods of time without resting.

  1. Promotes Muscle and Bone Strength

Every time you work out, you’re causing your muscles to tear, and this prompts your body to repair those damaged muscles. To ensure your muscles are ready for the next possible wave of intense exertion, your body doubles the width of muscle strands and adds more, increasing your ability to endure weight and movement.

Being closely related to your muscles, your bones undergo a similar process. Strain on your bones sends a signal to your body that it’s time to thicken your bones, so they can take more pressure. 

  1. Eases Mental Health Symptoms

Exercise releases feel-good chemicals in your brain, most notably dopamine and serotonin. When your brain lacks these chemicals, you’re more prone to mental health disorders like depression and anxiety.

While it may be hard to motivate yourself when you’re depressed and anxious, forcing yourself to get moving may bring some relief to moderate mood issues through the release of your brain’s natural mood-boosting chemicals.

Exercising may also contribute to “mindfulness,” focusing on the present rather than stressful events from the past or worries about the future. When you work out, your attention inevitably ends up on the sensations in your body, as opposed to your mind.

  1. Relieves Stress

In addition to dopamine and serotonin, your brain also releases another feel-good chemical called endorphins as you exercise. Endorphins serve their purpose by reducing the pain you feel as you push your body to its limits, but they also scale back your stress levels.

Endorphins turn the entire working out experience into a pleasurable one. Exercising may be the right course of action for your health, but if you’re new at it, the process is going to be hard on your body. To cope, your body increases your level of endorphins.

  1. Improves Brain Power

Endorphins are also linked with better concentration. With higher levels of endorphins, you’ll probably find it easier to focus on daily tasks. As a result, problems won’t seem as hard to solve.

Never mind that exercising also leads to the regeneration of brain cells. Expect a sharper mind and lower risk of age-related mental decline the more you exercise.

Luke Miles | Staff Writer

Winter 2023

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