5 Benefits of Exercise
Exercise and Health Applications
We all have heard that good diet choices and exercise are good for us but many of us have a hard time putting an exercise regimen into practice. The benefits of exercise on the short and long term health of our bodies is innumerable- but let’s start by going over some of the primary issues that many today are suffering with.
Many ailments are preventable through regular exercise. Some of the challenges we face are fatigue, lowered brain function, mood, alertness, anxiety, joint pain, obesity, gastrointestinal issues, lack of sleep, and decreased organ function. Now, if only getting motivated to exercise was easy! Let’s see how exercise can help motivate us by looking at some of the ailments that are helped through consistent exercise.
Cells depend on blood flow to bring in nutrients and take away any waste. Joints, on the other hand, do not have any direct blood supply. So how does it gain nutrients? Joints contain synovial fluid that moves in and out when the joint is moved. When you move the joint pushes out the synovial fluid and exchange the nutrients and waste then the fluid goes back in. Movement, or exercise, is the way that the joint is rejuvenated.
For patients with osteoarthritis, exercise proves to decrease joint pain. Those who increased movement showed fewer days of pain. Long term function also increases with consistent exercise. Your body truly does wonders when it comes to rejuvenating itself when exercised properly.
Many osteoarthritis patients complain about pain and stiffness after exercise so they stop moving. Movement truly does help with arthritis pain, but when it comes down to getting stiff joints after exercise, try putting ice on the affected area immediately after for about twenty minutes even if the joint doesn’t hurt or is not stiff immediately afterward.
Patients suffering from digestive issues including bloating, acid reflux, and ulcers can all benefit from a moderate walk after meals. Consistent exercising also helps with the digestive process by promoting good blood flow to the GI system.
Note that it is wise when exercising not to over tax the body. It can stop the GI system from being able to properly move the food and also prevents the system from absorbing nutrients. Strenuous exercise along with dehydration can also lead to GI bleeding.
Exercise changes how our blood moves. It provides the vascular system with the ability to allow blood to move smoothly, decreasing the likelihood of clotting. Going from a sedentary lifestyle to performing intense exercise can increase the chances of clotting. So again, build up your exercise regimen from smaller increments instead of jumping straight into boot camp mode. Doing small intervals of exercise numerous times a day may be a good game plan to start.
Memory and Brain Function
Short term memory has been proven to increase through short term and long term exercise. After performing some time exercising, your ability to recall is improved. Studies compared people who exercise regularly just after performing an exercise and it showed that one’s ability to learn is easier shortly after that exercise. It has been concluded that improved results were amplified for people who exercised and are also consistent for long term exercise. In other words, people who have been exercising for a long time experience heightened short term memory after the work out; so the effects were compounded due to their consistency with an exercise regimen.
Exercise also aided in breaking habits, learning tasks, and decreasing anxiety and stress. It also increases beta-endorphins which are chemicals in the brain that are sometimes referred to as the “feel-good hormone”. Not only do they make us feel good, but they fill our opioid receptors. Our body creates our own opioids, and chronic pain patients endure pain better when coupled with exercise.
Exercise and Sleep
Consistent exercise significantly improves sleep. As stress and sleep deprivation ages our cells, you can exercise to protect and add longevity to those cells. By increasing the health of your digestive system, pushing blood flow throughout the body, and by making you rightfully tired by the time the day is over, exercise helps you get on a regular sleep schedule.
We’ve all been there. You may have been out of the routine of performing any form of exercise. Living in a place like New England, you may find yourself doing very well during the Spring, Summer, and Fall months at getting outside to go for a walk, tend the garden, go for a swim, or even rake leaves, but as Winter arrives so does the sedentary lifestyle. It can be very difficult to get back into an exercise plan, especially if a health or injury setback has occurred.
On the other hand, you might be someone who just doesn’t like to exercise. The best advice for anyone needing to get back to exercising would be to start at a small pace and increase it in time. You may want to see a doctor or physical therapist to ensure that you are exercising properly and safely for your condition. You may even set a goal to walk for 5 minutes every day for a couple of week, and then increase it to 10 minutes for a couple weeks after that.
No matter what your plan is, it is very important that it is a plan… something that you hold yourself accountable for – something you are consistent in. Set a time to exercise every day and hold true to it. Whether its walking, biking, swimming, gardening, rollerblading, you get the idea, anything to get moving, stick with it and you will find that you will look forward to it in each day to come. You will also love how it makes you feel with your newfound body and mind.
Allied Physical Therapy
Our Framingham, Norwood, and Foxboro Physical Therapists can help you get on the road to an independent and safe exercise program. Please contact us if you need help on your way to a better you.
Information also provided by a health talk at https://www.audioverse.org/english/sermons/recordings/7923/the-improvements-and-longterm-benefits-of-exercise.html