Benefits of Regular Exercise

Benefits of Regular Exercise

Benefits of Regular Exercise

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    Strenuous exercise may stop cellular death. The body's cells are programmed to kill themselves (known as "apoptosis"), but a study of marathon runners found that the exercise kept the body's cells from killing themselves as they're programmed to do. The researchers believe that intense exercise modulates expression of key proteins that affect cell life.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    There are a couple reasons why exercise is so important. For one, any amount of physical activity lowers both systolic (the pressure being exerted when the heart contracts; the first or top number) and diastolic (the pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest; the bottom or second number) blood pressure, which are the most important factors in arterial aging. It lowers LDL cholesterol, raises HDL cholesterol, and decreases inflammation, among other benefits—even just walking a few extra minutes a day.

    Working any muscle strengthens it, so we shouldn't be surprised that the heart muscle gets stronger from being periodically stressed, and the exercise may also strengthen blood vessels by forcing them to dilate and perhaps make them more elastic. If you haven't exercised in a while, start with walking until you can do weight lifting, and then add some kind of activity—cycling, swimming, or using an elliptical trainer to elevate your heart rate (running chronically often stresses your joints too much). By adding strength training and then stamina training, the average 55-year-old man becomes eight years younger in RealAge, and a 55-year-old woman drops 9.1 years.

    Another way exercise can help you is by reducing stress, which is one of the greatest agers of your body.

    But perhaps the most important reason to exercise is that it can help prevent you from ballooning up to the size of a two-bedroom condo. This is critical because if you're seriously overweight, you significantly increase your risk of heart disease. Think of it this way: The loss of even 10 percent of your body weight will significantly improve your overall and cardiovascular health and can make you nine years younger in real age.

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    Regular exercise releases hormones that help fight pain and boost mood, including catecholamines, endorphins, dopamine, testosterone, and human growth hormone.  Regular exercise improves range of motion and the pliability of joints, soft tissue, and muscles making them less stiff and easier to move. If you are regularly active your body will produce less of many inflammatory markers such as cortisol and other catabolic hormones, which promote pain and decrease your feelings of well being and mood. Exercise has been shown to be as effective as or more effective than medications for treating mild to moderate depression. To reap the most benefits engage in moderate to vigorous exercise for 30-60 minutes 3-5 days a week.   
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    Across the United States daily activity levels continue to decline. People are less active and are no longer spending as much of their free time engaged in physical activity. This is related in part to lack of physical activity in leisure time, but is even more likely the result of people spending increasing amounts of time in sedentary behaviors such as watching television and using computers, and excessive use of passive modes of transportation.  

    In addition, today, more people work in offices, have longer work hours, use better technology and automation, and are required to move less daily.  This new environment produces more sedentary people, and leads to dysfunction, including chronic disease and musculoskeletal injuries.

     

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    Exercise can have a dramatic influence on older adults. Exercise plays a fundamental role in helping to improve and maintain functional independence. One of the most important and fundamental functional activities affected with degenerative aging is walking. The decreased ability to move freely in one’s own environment not only reduces the physical and emotional independence of an individual, it also can lead to an increase in the degenerative cycle. The ability or inability to perform normal activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, eating, housekeeping, and leisure activities can be measured to help determine the functional status of an individual.

    Individuals with one or more of these degenerative conditions may tend to avoid engaging in activities such as resistance or aerobic training because of a fear of injury or feelings of inadequacy. However, research has shown that musculoskeletal degeneration may not be entirely age-related and that certain measures can be taken to prevent loss of muscle strength and functional immobility with aging. It has also been demonstrated that many of the structural deficits responsible for decreased functional capacity in older adults, including loss of muscle strength can be slowed and even reversed through participating in routine physical activity and exercise.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Exercise helps increase the body's sensitivity to insulin. This in turn lowers blood sugar levels and decreases insulin production. Active people, even if they have a genetic predisposition to the disease, are much less likely (by 30 to 70 percent in three studies) to develop adult-onset diabetes (type II diabetes). Furthermore, if symptoms do occur, exercise helps diminish their aging effect. Just thirty minutes of walking a day decreases the aging of type II diabetes by almost 30 percent. If you combine tight control of blood pressure, tight control of blood sugar levels, and thirty minutes of walking a day, you decrease the aging of a chronic disease (such as type II diabetes) from 1.46 years older to only 1.06 years older for every year you have the disease. In addition, if you do other healthful things, you can actually age less than one year for every year you have the disease, even if it's type II diabetes.
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    Exercise has been shown to have several positive effects on the body. First exercise will increase blood flow to the brain, providing the brain with essential nutrients such as glucose and oxygen.
    Abnormal glucose tolerance can lead to brain impairments, and exercise helps regulate blood sugar levels. In children, exercise has been shown to improve cognitive function, and improve motor skill development. In adults, especially as we age, regular physical activity increases memory and slows the aging process of the brain. Studies show that very active people who engage regularly physical activities have much lower rates of memory loss, dementia, Alzheimer’s and do better on cognitive function tests over time.

    Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for the overall health of your body. Participation in physical activity improves several body functions. These include: weight control, decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, decreased risk of diabetes, reduced risk of cancer, improved strength of bones and muscle, enhanced emotional status, decreases the natural degenerative changes that come with aging, and increases your chances to live longer.  

    Lastly, physical activity is the best way to boost energy levels. Regular physical activity increases the blood flow will allow more oxygen to get to the body providing energy to do work. Regular physical activity also increases production of vital hormones such as thyroid-stimulating hormone, testosterone, human growth hormone, and catecholamines, all of which help increase your metabolism and give you more energy. Regular physical activity also makes you more efficient at utilizing your body’s stores of fat and sugar for fuel, which allows you to burn them for energy and also helps regulate blood sugar levels and prevent the peaks and valleys that can cause fatigue.

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    Possibly, but more than likely your body will be so accustomed to the routine that your physiological changes would be minimal at best. It is very important to change your program on a regular basis. Your body will adapt to your program and you will begin to see fewer results. In addition, completing the same program for an extended length of time increases your chance of being injured due to something called pattern overload (repeating a pattern continuously which wears your body down over time).

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    A , Fitness, answered

    Have you ever tried to start a car after it sat in your garage all winter? The same thing applies to your body when it sits idle.

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    A , Fitness, answered
    Physical exercise that involves the rhythmic movement of large muscle groups -- swimming, cycling, running, walking, rowing, and so on -- seems to be most effective in relieving stress or preventing depression, both of which impair cognitive functioning. The routine rhythmic motion of running or walking, in particular, requires little thought or attention. Anyone who has run or walked regularly for even a few minutes knows how the mind seems to open to a flood of thoughts and emotions; solutions to nagging problems suddenly appear like flashing 100-watt bulbs. Fantasies arise. You find yourself thinking of all the smart things you should have said to the cop who gave you that speeding ticket. In fantasy, there’s no limit to your power and ability, and during that magical time, with the blood flowing and the legs pumping steadily, many people find the key to solving whatever problems plague them. It’s a creative, mentally stimulating time for many.

    And for those who are troubled by depression, in particular, exercise may unlock the chains of their despair, or at least offer a break from it. Think of an exercise period as a sort of vacation from all the negative thinking and nagging sense of guilt or “what’s the use” that characterize depression. The benefits of this time-out reverberate long after the run or walk is over.
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