27 June, 2008

101 Benefits of Exercise

Everyday we find an excuse for not exercising. But is any excuse a valid excuse, if it compromises your health and can lead to a debilitating sickness in the long run? So we challenged our editor to come up with a 101 reasons to exercise, to counter every conceivable excuse in the book for skipping your daily dose of exercise. Here are a hundred and one reasons why you must exercise, and how they affect every aspect of your health, and your life.

There is a definite link between high premature death rates and chronic inactivity. Exercise promotes longevity by reducing the risk of premature mortality.

Exercise retards the process of aging, thus preserving vitality and youth.

Exercise reduces the risk of developing hypo-kinetic diseases (those associated with lack of movement). It prevents the incidence of and/or helps control such disease processes.

Exercise helps prevent or control coronary artery disease and most cardiovascular diseases, as lack of exercise is the number 1 risk factor for developing these diseases.

Exercise helps prevent cerebro-vascular disease (Strokes).

Exercise helps control Tri-glycerides in blood. Tri-glycerides are as harmful as cholesterol and lead to heart disease.

Regular aerobic exercise helps control/prevent hypertension.

Exercise prevents clotting of blood, thus reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Exercise increases the elasticity of blood vessels, which reduces the resistance to blood flow. This in turn helps prevent hypertension and heart disease.

Blood viscosity is decreased as a result of regular exercise. This reduces the stress on the heart, as thinner blood is easier to pump, and also prevents clotting.

Exercise increases HDL (Good Cholesterol) levels in the body, which prevents plaque build-up on the inner walls of arteries. This in turn prevents heart attacks and strokes.

Exercise strengthens the heart muscle, and cause left ventricular enlargement, thus improving cardiac output, and endurance.

Exercise improves overall glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, thus reducing the risk for type II diabetes mellitus.

Exercise increases muscle mass, which is linked to various vital physiological functions. Increased muscle mass helps optimize these functions thus promoting good health and vitality.

Exercise increases muscular strength and endurance, which improves your ability to perform work and function optimally in day-to-day life.

Exercise improves the body’s ability to control its internal temperature, thus making it better suited to cope with heat stress.

Exercise improves the body’s hydration status. This helps prevent dehydration for strenuous exertion, or heat stress.

Exercise helps improve/maintain bone density, reducing the risk of developing osteoporosis (hollowing of bones).

Exercise boosts immunity, helping the body to combat infectious disease.

Regular light to moderate exercise helps reduce the symptomatic pain caused by arthritis.

Exercise helps reduce the risk of developing cancer.

Regular endurance exercise helps reduce the risk for testicular and prostate cancer in men.

Regular endurance exercise helps reduce the risk for breast, cervix, ovarian, and uterine cancers in women.

Regular endurance exercise helps reduce the risk for various cancers affecting the digestive system.

Exercise helps alleviate chronic muscular pain caused by inflammation of the connective tissue.

Chronic muscular spasms and stiffness can also be prevented by regular exercise.

Strength training increases Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). An increased RMR means you burn more calories at rest, thus improving your body composition.

Endurance training helps burn, large amounts of fat calories, thus promoting efficient weight loss and improved body composition.

Regular exercise helps lose excess fat-weight, which is a risk factor for several chronic degenerative disease especially heart disease.

Regular exercise helps relieve constipation, regularize bowel movements and prevent flatulence.

Exercise enhances digestion and enhances optimal absorption of nutrients.

Exercise helps increase pain threshold, thus helping cope better with pain, and increasing maximal work capacity.

Exercise improves endocrine function, which promotes optimal functioning of various physiological systems, thus improving health and fitness levels.

Exercise improves sexual health and performance.

Exercise can improve fertility in both men and women.

Exercise can help rectify erectile dysfunction by increasing circulation and reducing mental stress.

Regular endurance exercise helps improve total lung capacity, and improves endurance.

Regular endurances exercise helps prevent and alleviate chronic obstructive and restrictive lung disease.

Overall respiratory tract and lung health can be enhanced by regular exercise.

Oxygen carrying capacity of the blood can be improved by regular endurance training.

Mental function and memory can be significantly improved by regular exercise.

Regular exercise may help combat serious neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Mental stress can be greatly reduces by regular exercise.

Endurance exercise is known to release certain feel-good hormones such as endorphins, seratonin, and norepinephrine, which bring about a general feeling of euphoria and wellness. This condition commonly known as "Runner's High" is a great psychological and emotional stress buster, and a promoter of good health.

Exercise can boost self-confidence, and self-esteem by improving one's body image, through weight loss, and enhanced muscle tone.

Regular exercise improves nerve health and neuro-transmission.

Mental awareness and concentration can be greatly improved through regular exercise.

Lymphatic drainage can be improved through regular exercise, and lymphatic health can be maintained.

Exercise strengthens bones and ligaments,

Resistance training strengthens muscles, improves contractile ability, and increases muscle size.

Tendons and connective tissue are strengthened by regular resistance exercise.

Joint flexibility is facilitated by regular exercise.

The sinovial fluid in joint is increased and its viscosity is decreased, thus promoting joint health.

Circulation to joint cartilaginous tissue is also facilitated, thus improving cartilage health.

Regular exercise improves balance.

Proprioception (body awareness) can also be significantly improved through exercise alone.

Exercise increases agility, co-ordination, and reflexes.

Muscular imbalances can be rectified through proper strength training.

Body alignment can be corrected, through specific exercises.

Posture can be significantly improved through regular corrective exercise thus enhancing positive body image.

Body mechanics can be improved through regular strength and flexibility exercises.

The above 13 points (47 to 59) play a very vital role in injury prevention, optimization of energy, and improving overall physical efficiency.

Regular exercise plays a significant role in correcting post-menopausal disorders, and issues related to women’s health, 15 of which are listed below.

Regular exercise facilitates normal deliveries, and reduces pain experienced during parturation.

Exercise can play a significant role in maintaining the psychological health of pregnant women.

Exercise helps reduce post-natal weight gain.

Loss of fitness post-natal levels, due to lack of activity can also be regained through exercise.

Hormonal imbalances in post-menopausal women can be stabilized by exercising, thus prevent severe mood swings.

“Hot Flashes” and inability to efficiently regulate body temperature in post-menopausal women can be corrected through regular exercise.

Loss of bone density and onset of osteoporosis in post-menopausal women can be prevented through regular resistance exercise.

Estrogen acts as a natural antioxidant in women. After menopause the risk for heart disease is greatly increased due to lack of estrogen. Regular endurance exercise helps prevent heart disease in post-menopausal women.

Exercise helps alleviate mental stress in post-menopausal women.

Regular strength and endurance exercise increases libido, and enhances sexual performance in post-menopausal women.

Exercise helps prevent rapid weight gain, a side effect of menopause.

Menstrual cycles can be regularized in those women who experience irregularities through regular exercise.

Menstrual cramps and other related symptoms could also be alleviated through exercise.

Pre Menstrual stress can be prevented through regular exercise.

Valgus stress on the knees in women, due to a broad pelvic girdle, can be prevented by proper corrective exercise, from an early age.

Regular exercise coupled with good nutrition, is the only way to facilitate weight loss.

Regular exercise will reduce appetite, thus promoting weight loss.

Regular aerobic activity makes the body more efficient at mobilizing fatty acids during exercise, thus facilitating faster weight loss.

Plentiful physical activity since very early childhood through early 30’s may prevent the body from developing extra adipose (tissue that stores fat), thus prevent weight gain and obesity later on in life.

Exercise causes sweating, which opens up pores in the skin, by clearing waste such as dead cells and dust that might block them. Sweat also helps eliminate harmful toxins through the skin, thus improving skin health.

Exercise facilitates contraction and relaxation of the smooth muscles of the skin, thus improving skin tone.

Regular exercise (especially abdomen/low-back exercise) is a sure shot way to prevent backaches, and the best form of lower back-pain management.

Exercise helps regulate the body’s waste system, helping your body get rid of harmful toxins.

Exercise promotes a younger and healthier body, hence prolonged independence, and a dignified life for the elderly.

Exercise helps you sleep well by releasing a hormone called seratonin, which induces sleep.

Exercise releases muscular tension; help you be more relaxed at all times.

For those who travel a lot by air, regular exercise can prevent a serious disorder known as deep-vein-thrombosis, which can be caused due to spending long hours in a pressurized compartment.

Exercise improves performance in recreational and competitive sport.

Exercise serves as an excellent medium of meditation. Concentrating on what you do in your exercise session helps you take your mind off all other thoughts.

A regular exercise habit will help develop discipline, dedication, and determination.

An exercise habit will also help develop compliance and adherence, which have importance in every aspect of life.

Regular exercise can in the long run help reduce the symptoms of asthma.

Exercise is known to delay the progression of AIDS in affected individuals.

Exercise is an excellent form of therapy for fighting various kinds of substance abuse.

Exercise helps combat anxiety and depression.

Exercise helps reduce the incidence and intensity of migraines.

Regular vigorous exercise can help increase height to it optimal genetic potential in growing children.

Regular exercise energizes you and makes you more active, promotes overall Good Health, and Well-being. It helps cut down the number of visits to the doctor, and hence cuts down on medical bills.

This article written by Kiran Sawhney is also published on the following web site


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