Right now, most people are aware of the general benefits of exercise. It’s good for your heart, it’ll make you live longer, you can burn fat, and so on. But, not everybody is aware that exercise has a tremendous number of benefits aside from these. Some of these benefits are quite interesting and may give you the extra push that you need to start a regular exercise routine.
Without further ado, here are several of the most interesting benefits of exercise.
1. You’ll get smarter
That’s right, exercise is a nootropic! There are a few different ways that exercise can boost your cognitive performance. High-intensity exercise is often recommended for these purposes since an elevated heart rate is necessary to increase the blood flow to your brain.
Increased cerebral blood flow means increased delivery of oxygen and other vitally important substances to your brain.
- This abundance of oxygen, blood and brain-healthy nutrients encourages growth and strength. Thus, your neurons will be more effective at communicating with one another and you will be able to think quicker and remember things more easily.
- Regular exercise ensures the production of neurotransmitters. These are chemical messengers that activate and trigger certain cells in your brain and nervous system. Some of them, such as acetylcholine and glutamate, are especially important for memory formation and neural communication (like thinking).
2. You’ll become happier
This is, in part, for the same reason we just discussed. Increased cerebral blood flow and neurotransmitter production mean that you’ll be able to produce more dopamine and serotonin.
This is more than simply causing a runners’ high, which is more so the result of a temporary release of endorphins. Endorphins are our bodies natural analgesics, rushing to comfort us after over exerting our muscles.
Training your brain to produce more dopamine and serotonin, however, can lead to a long-term improvement in mood.
3. You’ll be able to fight off disease
Regular exercise doesn’t just increase blood flow to your brain. It increases blood flow throughout your entire body, meaning that all of the different organs, glands, and other components of your immune system will be able to function more efficiently. This in turn gives you more ability to fight various diseases.
4. Exercise encourages disease recovery
Though it may sound similar, this benefit is actually entirely different than the previous one.
Above we discussed how exercise prevents people from getting diseases in the first place. Here, we are showing that exercise can help people recover more quickly and effectively from disease.
For many years, people with chronic conditions were told that exercise could aggravate their health problems. Now, people are being told by doctors and rehabilitation workers that exercise is, in fact, one of the best ways to help facilitate a quick recovery.
Dr.Robert Sallis has been ahead of the game since the 1990s when he began prescribing exercise to his patients. He initially hoped that it would help to reduce the need for medication and was surprised to discover that exercise had dramatic results on the patient’s overall recovery.
A recent study focused on stroke victims also found that exercise was more effective than standard rehabilitation for helping them recover.
5. You’ll age more slowly
Nowadays, everybody is hunting for the fountain of youth. Even though it might not be a juicy, golden elixir, exercise could certainly be considered an important component of eternal youthfulness.
People who exercise regularly often remain fit and active even in their later years. If you want to be the type of 80 year old who can run circles around your grandkids, then you better start practicing now!
On a cellular level, exercise prevents your cells from breaking down as you age. Cellular breakdown can be analyzed by observing the length of telomeres. Telomeres are little caps that protect the end of your chromosomes. They get shorter as you grow older.
Studies have shown that people who exercise have higher concentrations of a certain molecule that protects the telomeres. As such, exercise seems capable of protecting the body from aging at a cellular level.
6. Your skin will glow
Glowing, healthy skin is one of the trademarks of youthfulness – making this benefit applicable to the previous one, as well. Skin blemishes are often considered a sign of aging; preventing them is considered one method of slowing down the aging process.
By bringing blood closer to the skin, exercise helps to oxygenate and provide nutrients to the largest organ in your body. This can even help to accelerate the process of wound healing. If you’ve ever noticed that an injury seems to get better faster if you manage to push through with exercise, this is why.
Training rigorously and consistently can actually increase the number of blood vessels and capillaries that have access to the skin.
7. Your fat cells don’t only disappear, they get smaller
It’s safe to say that most people know that exercise is a great way to get rid of some extra pounds. But what most people don’t know is that fat cells in the body actually shrink in size when subjected to intensive exercise.
This means that they are less likely to contribute to inflammation which thereby reduces your risk of developing inflammatory diseases. This is pretty significant, considering that information lies at the root, one way or another, of most diseases.
As far as regular old fat burning goes, exercise is such a good solution because it provides the body with lots of oxygen. It takes quite a bit of oxygen to convert fat into usable energy. The more you exercise, the better and more efficiently your cardiovascular system can deliver oxygen throughout the body. That makes you better and better at burning fat, even if you’re not moving.
We all know that exercise is good for us. But not everybody knows exactly how and why it’s good for us. These interesting and exciting benefits of exercise may shift your perspective on the whole process and give you enough motivation to start exercising.