Exercise, Is it worth it?

Understanding our days are filled with work, family obligations and commute, is exercise time worth prioritizing into our calendars. Before turning directly to what activities, which exercises and how to do it, fundamentally addressing the benefits of exercise has a longer and lasting impact.  So let’s go head to head with the main topic here and come out in say it. Why exercise?

In one sentence, yes, exercise is medicine.  The prescription for the individual may change based on the desired results but the effects are life changing.  Here are the facts impacting the cardiovascular and muscular skeletal systems.

Positive Benefits of Exercise

Lean Muscle Gain

There is a 2-3% loss in metabolic rate (rate at which we burn calories at rest) every decade.

Exercise and strength training can slow this process. Each pound of lean muscle gain burns another 50 calories per day at rest

Reduces Stress

  • Decreases muscle tension
  • Decreases levels of cortisol
  • Improves sleep habits

Heart Strength

  • Reduces stress on heart at given workload (heart doesn’t have to work as hard).
  • Improves function of circulatory system and ability of body to extract oxygen from blood.
  • Improves metabolism through increased use of fatty acids and carbohydrates.
  •  Decreases body fat.
  •  Decreases stress.
  •  Improves self-esteem.

Bone Density

  •  According to the NIH, young women and men who exercise regularly generally achieve greater peak bone mass (maximum bone density and strength) than those who do not.
  •  According to the NIH, exercising allows us to maintain muscle strength, coordination, and balance, which in turn helps to prevent falls and related fractures.
  •  Resistance training increases bone density

Negative consequences of avoiding fitness activity 

High Fat Mass

According to the Center for Disease Control, health issues associated with higher body fat

Levels Include:

  •  Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  •  Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
  •  Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
  •  Various cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)

Stress

  •  Chronic stress appears to alter the brain signals which result in the decreased release of anabolic hormones, such as DHEA, which help keep cells healthy and maintain good immune function.
  •  Creates prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream (like those   associated with chronic stress) that have been shown to have negative  effects, such as:
  •  Impaired cognitive performance
  •  Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia
  •  Decreased bone density
  •  Decrease in muscle tissue
  •  Higher blood pressure
  •  Lowered immunity and increased inflammatory responses in the body, slowed wound healing.
  •  Increased abdominal fat which is associated with a increased risk of: heart attacks, high blood pressure, strokes, Type II diabetes, higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL)

Heart Health

  •  Hypertension (“the silent killer” – high blood pressure)

Usually no symptoms but can increase risk of:

  • heart attack
  • Stroke
  • heart failure

Bone Loss

  • For most people, bone mass peaks during the third decade of life.
  • The young gals who come in for the group fitness classes are prime candidates to put bone mass in the bank!
  • Without intervention, bone loss can accelerate with age and result in:
  • Poor irreversible posture
  • Increased fracture potential
  • Osteoporosis

When researching it is important to avoid cure-alls as most don’t hold up in any clinical study.  However, regular bouts of exercise 3 days a week for a minimum of 20-30 minutes and the benefits above are achieved according to the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine).

The top excuse given as to why people would avoid activity is not enough time in the day.  Truth is there is 20-30 minutes to spare which is only 2% of the day.  It’s about setting the priority, putting your health in the forefront and scheduling other things around what your schedule dictates. Start to exercise today and feel the difference!

Blog Provided by: 

SportSetter Fitness Expert

Stephen Csolak BS, CPT Bio

Steve has received his bachelors degree in exercise science from the University of South Carolina, rated the top program for exercise science in the United States. There he studied and worked under the President of the ACSM, Dr. Larry Durstine. After graduating, he began working for Equinox Fitness Clubs where he quickly became responsible for education and training over 250+ personal trainers, holding weekly regional workshops based in New York City.

Sources:

http://www.acsm.org American College of Sports Medicine
http://www.nsca.org National Strenght and Conditioning Association http://www.acog.org American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.ncsf.org National Council on Strength & Fitness http://www.precisionnutrition.com Precision Nutrition
http://www.isrealikrav.com Isreali Krav Maga Association

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