Close your eyes and envision a healthy human being. They’re probably fit, lifting weights, or running on the treadmill at the gym.
Regular exercise is essential for anyone looking to lead a healthy lifestyle, as it increases energy levels, improves blood flow, and reduces stress. While some people simply enjoy exercising as a hobby, there are scientifically proven benefits of regular exercise, related to both mental and physical health.
Mental Health Benefits of Regular Exercise
The first major benefit of regular exercise is its positive impact on mental health. Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly experience lower levels of stress than those who do not. This helps explain why many athletes, such as Michael Jordan and LeBron James, seem so calm when interviewed.
Regular exercise also increases the brain’s production of important chemicals like norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins that help improve mood. These chemicals are known as neurotransmitters, and they help control emotion, appetite, sleep patterns, pain sensation, and memory.
Physical Health Benefits of Regular Exercise
Exercise has long been known to have positive effects on physical health. People who exercise regularly live longer and experience a lower risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and cancer. Regular exercise leads to healthier cholesterol levels as well as stronger bones and muscles.
For those who do not enjoy exercising or find it time-consuming, there are still benefits of regular exercise. For example, people who are out of shape or overweight can benefit from regular exercise by losing weight and becoming more toned. Exercise also makes it easier to sleep at night, which has other benefits related to mental health.
While some people find that their mood begins to drop after a few days without exercising, sticking to a regular workout schedule is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Health organizations, such as the American Heart Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise five days per week to experience these health benefits.
How To Get Started If You Are Out of Shape
If you are an unhealthy adult or teenager, you might wonder how to start exercising. You can begin by walking every day for 30 minutes and increasing your daily step count toward a goal of 10,000 steps each day.
Another way to get started is by joining a gym or hiring a personal trainer to help guide you toward establishing regular workout routines. Before starting any exercise routine, consult with your doctor for advice and to ensure that you are healthy enough to participate.
If you have a smartphone, there are many free fitness apps that can help guide you toward a healthy lifestyle. Some of these include MapMyRun, Fitbit, and RunKeeper. These apps gauge your distance traveled, calories burned while exercising, and often build in social features for logging progress with friends.
Regular exercise can have various positive effects on your mood, physical health, and mental health. By taking the time to exercise regularly, you are setting yourself up for success in leading a healthy lifestyle.
Utilize Your Home and Neighborhood
There are many simple exercises that people can do at home with little equipment. Push-ups, sit-ups, squats, jumping jacks, crunches, stair climbing, and running upstairs are all effective ways to increase cardiovascular fitness, lose weight, and build muscle.
If you do not have the space to exercise at home or in your apartment building, try exercising outdoors with friends or family members. Take a walk around the block after dinner instead of watching television, go on a bike ride to see new parts of your neighborhood, or play catch with your kids in the backyard.
Exercise does not need to be an extenuating circumstance in your life, but a simple and important part of living a healthy lifestyle. Making regular exercise a priority is a key to feeling better both physically and mentally, while lowering the risk of being affected by serious health conditions. Amp up your fitness levels by joining a professional gym. Click here for more info.