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The Universal Benefits of Exercise
Hey guys and gals, Isiah Manzo here and since your reading this article I bet its safe to assume that you are either looking into getting in shape or have already started your journey towards the apex of your physical and mental health, either way, it is always good to know your decision is the right one and the best way to do that is looking at cold hard facts.
Today we are going to dive into some of the most prominent benefits to exercise to both your mental and physical health, some you may have heard before and some which may surprise you. Although this article focuses on the mental and physical benefits of exercise, it is important to remember that there are also social benefits to regular exercise as well.
One Of The Best Non-Pharmaceutical Ways To Treat Depression:
Depression affects roughly 9.5% of the U.S adult population each year (1) (That is approximately 35,625,000 people, Yikes!), it is also estimated that at least 17% (Approximately 63,750,000 people) will have a major depressive episode at some point in their lives. (2)
Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that depression is NOT FUN, and can be extremely debilitating. The worst part about depression (or any similar mental health issue ) is that the person involved without proper training may find it almost impossible to recognize the symptoms of an oncoming depressive episode and are completely taken off guard when it occurs.
Research indicates that those who suffer from depression tend to lead less physically active lives, which leads to other physical health problems. (3)
There are some theories that state the reason people get depressed is due to the brain producing inadequate amounts of serotonin when you physically exert yourself your body produces serotonin, which serves to elevate your mood levels and fight depression. (4)
The bottom line is that those who have experienced depression should seriously consider a regular exercise routine that includes both cardio and resistance training.
Your brain will thank you.
May Provide Some Relief For Chronic Pain:
Chronic pain is defined as pain that last longer than what is typical for the injury that caused it. It is not a rare condition and effects people of all ages and from all walks of life.
The natural inclination of health physicians in the past was to instruct those suffering from Chronic Pain to get rest and be relatively inactive. Recent research has now shown that a moderate amount of exercise may actually serve to alleviate some of the symptoms that come with Chronic Pain. (6)
A select group of people suffering from a myriad of pain conditions to include; rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia were instructed to perform moderate exercises. Although the participating group was small, there was a large percentage that found moderate exercise provided them with greater mobility. (7)
Helps Fortify Your Mind Against Stress:
Regular exercise has an immediate positive effect on your ability to handle stressful situations. If you find your self overwhelmed because of the daily stresses of life then taking the time to treat your body to a rigorous work out may be just what the doctor ordered. (7)
One explanation as to why exercise fortifies stress is due to the flight or fight response being triggered by situations that are not necessarily life threatening.
When we have a meeting we are worried about or are about to approach someone we are attracted to this system kicks in, since neither of the aforementioned activity requires physical exertion the chemicals released by our brain are stored in fat cells causing potential mental and physical ailments.
Since the flight or fight response is a response triggered by the expectation of physical activity, it makes sense that exercise would serve to alleviate some of the chemical build up that occurs during the day. (8)
A Great Way To Kick A Bad Habit:
In a test that included a group of people who wished to stop smoking, it was found that those who exercised on a regular basis had a much higher chance of keeping their commitment to better health. (9) Exercise in of itself can become a habit because it stimulates the reward centers in your brain similar to what alcohol or cigarettes would.(10)
Unlike most habits, exercise is one that it is ok to go into zealot mode about because if done correctly the side effects are almost always positive.
May Make You Smarter:
Exercise has been shown to induce Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Gene Expression (BDNF) which helps keeps the brain functioning at optimal levels. (11)
Your brain is a constant information transmitting machine and the faster it is able to transmit information to the different parts of your body the more effective it can function. The neurons in your brain require synaptic proteins in order to maintain their health and this is greatly increased through BDNF which is increased through exercise.
If you have a mentally demanding job and you feel you need an extra boost in brain power, instead of hitting the chocolate try hitting the gym or going for a run.
The Next Step:
Now that you know the benefits of becoming more physically active it is time to take the next step and learn the powerful healing effects of a healthy diet plan coupled with exercise.