What Lies Beneath

It’s safe to say that everyone knows the superficial benefits of exercise. The idea of decreased fat in exchange for increased muscle mass tends to be the first thing that draws individuals to engage in some type of physical activity. Unfortunately, these results lag behind and can be discouraging to the individual. However, what most people tend to forget is there is more happening with their bodies than what meets the eye. In fact, most of these internal benefits take affect as soon as an exercise program has begun. For example, have you ever noticed that your mood has surprisingly increased after a good workout? This is due to the endorphins your body has released during your workout. In addition, exercise helps fight feelings of depression and anxiety with the help of other hormones produced, serotonin and norepinephrine (Semeco 2017). With the positive mood changes associated with working out, it also increases energy levels. This is why some people prefer to work out in the morning because it gives them more energy throughout the day.

Exercise also decreases chances of developing osteoporosis by increasing bone density. As an individual’s chances for developing osteoporosis decrease, the risk for developing a chronic disease also decreases. A chronic disease is defined as “a physical or mental health condition that lasts more than one year and causes functional restrictions or requires ongoing monitoring or treatment,” (Raghupathi 2018). Some examples of chronic diseases include, but are not limited to, diabetes, cancer, hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease, and obesity (Raghupathi 2018). Statistically, 45% (or 133 million) of all Americans currently suffer from at least one chronic disease. One issue that can lead to developing a chronic disease is a sedentary lifestyle, luckily, exercise can be used as a great preventative method (Raghupathi 2018). Exercise also improves brain health and memory retention by promoting blood flow and oxygen to the brain. This is beneficial in more ways than one since some chronic diseases affect the brain (Semeco 2017).

Do you ever find yourself struggling with aches and pains during the day? It was a common thought that rest and inactivity were best for relieving these pains, but recent research shows that the opposite is actually the best treatment. Exercise has been shown to decrease aches and pains by strengthening imbalances and weaknesses. You’ll also find that your sleeping habits will improve when exercising. The results of one study found that “150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity per week can provide up to 65% improvement in sleep quality,” (Semeco 2017). An additional study also found that 16 weeks of physical activity increased quality of sleep in individuals with insomnia (Semeco 2017).

In the end, exercise provides more benefits than what meets the eye. Finding a sustainable exercise routine that works for you is important for so many reasons. Exercise is a great way to take care of yourself both mentally and physically. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see the immediate changes in your appearance, just remind yourself all the benefits happening to your body inside and out and stick with it. Remember, “you’re only one workout away from a good mood.”

Citations

Raghupathi,V. & Raghupathi, W. (2018). An Empirical Study of Chronic Diseases in the United States: A Visual Analytics Approach To Public Health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(3), 431. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5876976/#sec1-ijerph-15-00431title

Semeco, A. (2017, February 10). The Top 10 Benefits Of Regular Exercise. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-benefits-of-exercise#section7