The cat is certainly out of the bag regarding the benefits of exercise and how it strengthens our hearts, lungs, and helps us prevent diseases like diabetes.
But did you know there are many other health perks to being active? Keep reading and get a heaping dose of added motivation to walk, run, swim, bike, strength train, or practice yoga regularly.
Here are seven amazing and unexpected things that happen to a body in motion.
The federally recommended amount of physical activity (150 to 300 minutes a week) can reduce the risk of early death. But what happens when you add a few steps? According to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Health, one large study found that people who followed the bare minimum recommendation, reduced their risk of early death by as much as 21%. But people who exercised from two to four times the minimum were able to lower their risk by as much as 31%.
Physical activity is critical for maintaining the strength, flexibility, and stamina needed to stay independent during your later years. In particular, exercise helps combat age-related muscle loss to maintain the strength you need to live an independent life. Additionally, exercise improves your balance to lower the risk of falls, which can quickly squash your independence. Moreover, research suggests that exercise may increase or maintain some aspects of cognitive function. In fact, many experts say exercise is the best way to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
The Harvard Health Newsletter reports that weight-bearing exercise can slow bone loss that affects over 10 million Americans over 40. According to the article, numerous studies have shown that weight-bearing exercise can help to slow bone loss, and several shows it can even build bone. Activities that put stress on bones stimulate extra deposits of calcium and nudge bone-forming cells into action. The tugging and pushing on bone that occurs during strength and power training provide the stress. The result is stronger, denser bones. And you’ll gain some of the same benefits with walking and running.
Gosh, where do we begin? Exercise can be powerful medicine for many common mental health challenges. According to HelpGuide.org, regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, and ADHD. It also relieves stress and boosts your overall mood. And you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the rewards. Research suggests that even modest amounts of exercise can make a real difference. At the very least, exercise causes your brain to release ‘feel good’ chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that help improve your mood. And who doesn’t feel just a little better after even a short walk about?
Bet you didn’t see that one coming, right? It turns out that aerobic exercise revs up blood flow to the skin, delivering oxygen and nutrients that improve skin health and even speed up wound health. Additionally, improved blood flow removes toxins from the skin. And one study found that over 65 exercisers exhibited much younger-looking skin than their non-exercising peers.
According to the Sleep Foundation, studies prove that exercise can alleviate sleep-related problems and help you get adequate rest. Recent research also suggests that insufficient or poor-quality sleep can lead to lower levels of physical activity the following day. Optimizing your exercise routine can help you sleep better, and getting adequate sleep promotes healthier physical activity levels during the day. However, the timing of exercise matters. If possible, try not to exercise within 1 to 2 hours of bedtime. That’ll give your brain time to wind down. Need more sleep hacks? Check out Why Can’t I Sleep? Five Possible Reasons.
Regular exercise can change the composition of your gut microbiome for the better. In one study, researchers found that exercising for just six weeks could make an impact. Why does exercise help gut health? Simply put, bacteria in our gut have a symbiotic relationship with our bodies, meaning they support body function, and our bodies support the health and growth of these microorganisms. They produce vitamins, fatty acids, and amino acids for things like immune functioning, digestion, mood regulation, and more. Regular exercise speeds up this process, increasing the different types of microbial species in the gut, and encouraging the bacteria to flourish. Head to our blog, where we Uncover the Gut’s Role in Exercise Motivation.
Ultimately, we are made to move, and the health benefits of exercise are endless. However, it’s also important to be aware of the risks of any activity. Not sure where to start? Consider consulting with a trainer/coach for personalized guidance.
Physical activity is one of the pillars of a healthy life. But having a diverse diet, rich with lean proteins, plenty of fruits and veggies, and healthy oils, is also essential.
Plus, you may want to consider supplements to further support your health and wellness in and out of the gym. For instance, Joint Support from Zenwise® can support joint health and promote flexibility and mobility so you can stay active for years. And for those sticking to plant-based wellness, we have Vegan Joint Support.
Curious about other proven ways to support your health? We’re here to help! Contact our Customer Service Team, who can answer your questions seven days a week at firstname.lastname@example.org or M-F from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at (800) 940-1972.