Everyone admires a great body. It improves your self-image and self-esteem. If you want to lose weight and get in shape, a great workout routine is what you need. Sportsmen and women are always in great shape and health because they exercise a lot. It is impossible to disregard the benefits of regular exercise and its contribution to health and well-being. Many people have turned to performance-enhancing drugs to boost their output during exercise, but do you actually understand what exercise does to your body?
Many people know that physical activity helps with fitness, but there are more benefits of exercise beyond physical fitness. The advancement of science has helped us understand the interaction of physical activity with the muscles, bones, heart, lungs, and brain and the benefits of exercise to these areas. Let’s look at five key ways in which exercise boosts mood and energy levels in your body.
1. Boosts Energy Levels
Exercise is vital in stimulating muscle growth and strengthening bones. When coupled with appropriate protein intake, physical activities such as push-ups can help with muscle growth. During intense physical activity, the body releases hormones that increase the absorption of amino acids, which act as biofuels during exercise. This increases energy flow throughout the body, which boosts the flow of oxygen and nutrients to different tissues and improves cardiovascular activity. With this increased energy flow, you will have more strength to handle different activities.
Because of the role of exercise in muscle and bone density growth, physical activity is useful in preventing muscle wasting and osteoporosis.
2. Helps Improve Mood
Many doctors prescribe exercise to depressed and stressed patients as an alternative or supplement to medication. Scientific evidence has shown that exercise’s ability to increase the heart rate and energy levels helps alleviate conditions such as depression and anxiety, which in turn, improves mood. Exercise helps stimulate a range of brain chemicals, such as endorphins, which improve mood and leave you feeling more positive and calmer. Exercise alone can help alleviate stress and prevent the onset of depression. Scientific evidence suggests that regular exercise for a period of 16 weeks is an effective anti-depressant among people who do not exercise regularly.
If you have had a stressful day, a casual walk or a gym session may be just what you need to feel better!
With regular exercise, you will not only feel less anxious, more relaxed, and happier, but you will also have improved self-image, a boost in self-confidence, and high self-esteem.
3. Improve Sleep Quality
Exercise is associated with increased production of serotonin, a hormone useful in the synthesis of melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates the sleep/wake cycle. Hence, regular exercise can help you regain and maintain your sleep pattern. With good exercise, you should not struggle to fall asleep or wake up in the morning.
Exercise also depletes energy in the body, and when you fall asleep, the body enters a recuperative process, leading to deeper, better quality sleep.
Moreover, as you exercise, your body temperature rises. This is also believed to improve sleep quality as the temperature falls during sleep.
A study on the impact of exercise on sleep quality revealed that a person can improve sleep quality by as much as 65% by simply engaging in moderate exercise for 150 minutes every week. Aerobic exercise and resistance training are the best for quality sleep.
Despite these benefits, you should avoid exercise before you are about to sleep because your energy levels will be high, making it difficult to nod off.
4. Boosts Memory
Exercise has been linked with many benefits for the brain, including thinking and retention. Exercise increases heart rate, which in turn, increases the amount of blood being supplied to the brain. This means that the brain gets more oxygen and nutrients during exercise. In the process, the body also releases proteins that improve brain structure and function. It is known that the levels of inflammatory markers such as internleukin-6 (IL-6) and like c-reactive protein (CRP) reduce during exercise, which indicates the benefits of exercise in mitigating brain disorders caused by inflammation.
Until recently, neuroscientists believed that the brain did not grow new cells. However, recent evidence has indicated that aerobic exercise can stimulate neurogenesis, a process in which the brain grows new neurons. These observations have been more evident in the hippocampus, the region that controls learning and memory. Brain observations of depressed and dementia-suffering patients also showed that this is the area that degenerates. Hence, you can keep your brain healthier and rejuvenated by regular exercise.
5. Better Resilience
Physical exercise stimulates the release of various neurotransmitters that play a critical role in regulating mood. These include dopamine, norepinephrine, endorphins, and serotonin. Most mood-enhancing drugs, such as heroin and marijuana, have a chemical structure that mimics these neurotransmitters, and thus, can activate neurons specific to them. The ability of exercise to activate these neurotransmitters shows the power of physical activity in mood enhancement.
When facing an emotional or mental difficulty in life, physical activity presents a healthy way of coping with it rather than resorting to the likes of drugs.
Exercise offers a healthy way to boost your health, relax, and have fun at the same time. A morning run with a friend can be great fun. However, amid the fun, your body gains immensely.
To gain the most out of exercise, you will need to maintain at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly. It is advisable to spread your routine throughout the week. You can choose to divide it into a few minutes every day or into three days of exercise a week.
Exercises such as walking, running, and swimming are ideal for increased blood circulation. For muscle growth, you can focus on strength training exercises such as weight lifting at least twice a week.