In our environment today, we are beginning to see an increase in certain medical conditions because we are no longer getting enough exercise. Humans now prefer sedentary lifestyle or are engaged in low output activities thereby leading to the accumulation of excess consumed calories as fat causing obesity and its antecedent complications. The importance of exercise to health cannot be emphasized because adequate exercise is needed for long life and in the preservation of life. In this article, we will briefly look at top 7 ways exercise is good for the body.
1. Exercise reduces blood pressure: Hypertension is the elevation of arterial blood pressure greater than 140/90 mmHg recorded after using a measuring device. Diagnosis is usually made when there is a persistent elevation in blood pressure with two measurements made 4 hours apart. Hypertension is a silent killer because it has no obvious clinical symptoms during the early stage of the disease. Untreated hypertension leads to heart failure, heart attacks, kidney failure, blindness and untimely death but exercise has shown to be highly effective in reducing blood pressure. Exercise reduces blood pressure by 20-40 mmHg and such reduction is significant. If you want to stay healthy and reduce your blood pressure, then engage in aerobic and anaerobic exercises.
2. Exercise reduces incidence of heart attacks and strokes: Maintaining adequate health by incorporating exercise is important in reducing the risk of developing heart attacks and strokes. Exercise checks obesity which is the main culprit in these disease conditions. However, these conditions can also occur in patients who are not obese. Exercise helps in the metabolism of cholesterol which is referred to as bad fat. Cholesterol builds up within the arteries that supply the heart/ brain and when there is complete occlusion of the blood vessel, heart attack or stroke occurs.
3. Improves self esteem: Studies carried all over the world has revealed that individuals who exercise regularly have better self esteem than others who don’t exercise at all. Exercise keeps one in shape, builds, strengthens and improves muscle tone; increase the secretion of dopamine which improves well being and self esteem. Although low self esteem is a mind game, have you ever wondered why athletes have better self esteem than obese individuals. This is as a result of maintaining weight and having a figure that is considered to be the norm in our society today and to the fact that dopamine released after exercise improves blood supply to the brain which affects general well being.
4. Exercise reduces the risk of obesity/ overweight: With increase in consumption of refined diets, sedentary lifestyles, increase time spent on watching television, lack of exercise, and most people in our society are getting overweight or becoming obese. Obesity is a body mass index greater than 30. However, increase abdominal fat and skin fold thickness can be categorized as danger signs. For weight to be lost, the amount of energy consumed as calories in diet must be lower than energy expenditure and obesity occurs when calories consumed is greater than the amount of energy expended by the body. Energy expenditure is as a result of work done in form of physical activity/exercise and the body’s internal metabolism.
5. Exercise improves sexual life: Getting adequate exercise improves ones sexual life as exercise improves strength and stamina, has a positive feedback effect on self esteem, increases libido and makes one look attractive to the opposite sex. Low sex drive is frequently attributed to emotional and psychological impairment from previous experiences, changes in the body associated with age and obesity. Exercise increases sexual drive, improves sexual stamina and also heightens orgasm.
6. Exercise improves sleep: Insomnia is fast becoming a social problem in our society today as many people are now finding it difficult to fall asleep or have adequate and rewarding sleep. Medical researchers have attributed this to life style changes and modifications. Exercise sets the normal biological clock making it work properly and such rhythm can be altered by obesity, sedentary life style and certain medical conditions. Having adequate aerobic exercise before going to bed has been shown to increase the production of sleep hormones, regulates the circadian rhythm and promotes quality sleep.
7. Improves joints and prevents arthritis: Exercise keep the joints supple, thus guarding against and prevent the occurrence of joint diseases like osteoarthritis. When the joints are underused, this can lead to weakness of the joints, stiffness and weakness of the surrounding ligaments and tendons which can lead to osteoarthritis and other joint disorders and flabby joints.
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