Disclaimer: Exercise is not without its risks, and any exercise program may result in injury. Risks include but are not limited to: risk of injury, aggravation of a pre-existing condition, or adverse effects of over-exertion such as muscle strain, abnormal blood pressure, fainting, disorders of heartbeat, and very rare instances of heart attack. To reduce the risk of injury, before beginning any exercise program, please consult your healthcare provider for appropriate exercise prescription and safety precautions. The exercise advice presented here is in no way intended as a substitute for proper medical consultation.
If you’re looking for a way to improve your overall health, regular exercise is one of the best things you can do. Exercise provides a long list of benefits, including weight loss, improved cardiovascular health, and reduced stress levels. Here we’re giving you 12 of the most powerful benefits of regular exercise. If you’re not currently active, we hope these benefits are enough to convince you to start!
Losing weight is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Obesity is a major risk factor for a number of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. If you’re overweight, dropping even a few pounds can significantly improve your health.
The benefits of regular exercise
Exercise benefits the body in many ways. For one, it helps to burn calories and lose weight. Exercise also helps to tone your body, increase energy levels, improve overall mood, and reduces your risk of certain chronic diseases. There’s no question—regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and is essential for maintaining good health.
Exercise is incredibly effective at improving mental health. The positive effect exercise exerts on mental health may be the result of a number of different actions it has on the body like improving circulation to the brain, releasing endorphins, and helping to relieve stress. It has been associated with reducing anxiety and depression and improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Research has shown that it may also be a helpful noninvasive therapy for drug addiction as well as neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
When it comes to mental health, any exercise is good exercise. Studies have shown that all intensity levels—low, medium, and high have been shown to positively affect mental health. Walking, stretching, yoga, weight training, swimming, and high-intensity interval training can all have a favorable impact on mental health.
Pro tip: To get the mental health benefits of exercise, you need to shoot for at least 20 to 40 minutes per day.
The benefits of regular exercise extend far beyond simple weight loss. When you engage in regular exercise, your body begins to burn calories more efficiently, which leads to a decrease in overall body fat. Aerobic exercise and high-intensity training workouts have the biggest impact on fat loss, with resistance training helping to reduce the amount of lean mass lost during calorie restriction.
While the recommended amount of weekly exercise is currently at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise, when it comes to weight loss, you should aim for twice that amount.
Pro tip: Research suggests that exercising in the morning can help provide a significant boost to fat loss compared to afternoon sessions.
As you age, it becomes increasingly important to maintain muscle mass. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to build strong muscles and prevent age-related muscle loss. Maintaining muscle mass helps protect your bones and joints, reduces your risk of falls, and helps you maintain a healthy weight. Muscle is also essential for strength and mobility, so regular exercise can help you stay independent and active as you age.
Building muscle mass is an excellent way to increase your metabolism and help with weight loss. When you have more muscle, your body needs more energy to maintain it. This means that your body will burn more calories even when you’re at rest.
Pro tip: You don’t have to go to the gym to build strong muscles. Calisthenics can be just as effective in building muscle mass and strength as lifting weights. The book, Calisthenics for Beginners: Step-by-Step Workouts to Build Strength at Any Fitness Level by Matt Schifferle is an excellent resource.
Bones are living tissues that are constantly being broken down and rebuilt. This process is known as remodeling, and it helps to keep bones strong and healthy. However, as we age, the rate of bone remodeling starts to slow down. This can lead to a loss of bone mass and an increased risk of fractures. Exercise is one of the best ways to prevent this decline in bone health and helps to maintain a healthy balance of bone breakdown and reformation, keeping bones strong and reducing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
Exercise also helps to improve blood circulation, which delivers essential nutrients to the bone cells. In addition, weight-bearing exercise helps to stimulate the production of new bone cells, further strengthening your bones.
Pro tip: While all exercise is beneficial to overall health, not all exercise will build strong bones. To improve bone health, you have to apply more weight than normal. If your goal is strong bones, resistance training with weights is your best bet.
When we’re feeling sluggish, it can be tempting to skip a workout, but in reality, exercise is one of the best things you can do to boost energy levels. Exercise helps improve the body’s ability to use oxygen, which in turn helps to increase stamina and endurance. People who make exercise a regular part of their routine tend to have more energy than those who don’t.
The key is to find the right balance. Too much exercise can lead to fatigue, but a moderate amount of exercise can help to improve energy levels by increasing circulation and improving the efficiency of the lungs and heart. In addition, regular exercise helps to reduce stress levels and improve sleep quality, both of which can contribute to increased energy levels. So next time you’re feeling tired, don’t reach for another cup of coffee – go for a walk or run instead!
Pro tip: When looking to boost energy levels, try doing one of these low-impact exercises for 30 minutes—walking, yoga, tai chi, or rowing.
Less chronic disease
Regular exercise can help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Obesity is a major risk factor for these chronic diseases, so keeping your weight in check can help lower your risk of developing them. Exercise helps to improve heart health by increasing cardiovascular endurance, reducing cholesterol levels, and lowering blood pressure. In addition, regular physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer by boosting the immune system, reducing inflammation, and helping to repair DNA damage. Finally, exercise can help prevent diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity and lowering blood sugar levels.
Pro tip: To help decrease your risk of developing chronic issues such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, aim to engage in physical activity at least 5 times per week.
Improving insulin sensitivity
Insulin helps regulate blood sugar levels, and when we have good insulin sensitivity, our cells are better able to store and process sugar from the food we eat. This is important because it helps to prevent spikes in blood sugar levels, which can lead to weight gain and other health problems. Unfortunately, insulin sensitivity tends to decline with age and with certain lifestyle factors such as physical inactivity, a diet rich in highly-processed foods and carbohydrates, and excess body fat.
Fortunately, regular exercise helps to improve insulin sensitivity, which means that your body is better able to respond to insulin and lower blood sugar levels. The key is to make exercise a regular part of your routine. To be most effective for improving insulin sensitivity, aim to work out no less than every other day.
Pro tip: To improve insulin sensitivity, the benefits from exercise are a result of your body adapting to repeated bouts of exercise. So do your best to exercise regularly and often.
Regular exercise is crucial for maintaining a healthy heart. The heart is a muscle, and like all muscles, it benefits from regular activity. A lack of exercise can lead to a number of problems, including high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. All of these conditions put stress on the heart and can lead to heart disease. In addition, a sedentary lifestyle can also cause changes in the structure of the heart muscle, making it less efficient and more prone to failure.
Exercise helps to ensure that your heart is able to pump blood efficiently throughout your body while helping to keep the arteries clear. It helps lower blood pressure by making your arteries and veins more flexible and efficient. Regular exercise helps to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. It also reduces stress levels by releasing endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects.
Pro tip: Walking is one of the best exercises you can do to improve heart health. Aim to walk as much as possible throughout the day.
Lower blood pressure
Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways to strengthen your heart muscle and make it better able to pump blood through your veins and arteries. This increased efficiency helps to lower your resting blood pressure. Exercise also causes your blood vessels to dilate, which further lowers blood pressure.
Regular exercise has also been shown to reduce levels of stress hormones—such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones constrict blood vessels, increase heart rate, and raise blood pressure. Exercise also causes the release of nitric oxide, a molecule that helps to relax blood vessels and improve blood flow.
While just about any exercise has beneficial effects on blood pressure, research suggests that you can get the most benefit in the shortest amount of time with high-intensity training. This type of training combines cardio and strength exercises, ideally performed at >70% of maximal oxygen uptake.
Pro tip: With instructional videos and AI-generated workouts, apps like Keelo can be excellent tools for learning and performing high-intensity workouts.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the blood. There are two main types—LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein). LDL is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol because it can build up on the walls of your arteries, eventually causing them to narrow and harden. This can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. HDL, on the other hand, is often referred to as “good” cholesterol because it helps to remove LDL from your arteries and transport it back to your liver, where it’s broken down.
Regular exercise helps to improve your cholesterol levels in several ways. First, it boosts HDL levels while simultaneously lowering LDL levels. Second, it helps to reduce the number of triglycerides in your blood. Triglycerides are a type of fat that can also contribute to artery-clogging plaque. Finally, regular exercise helps to increase LDL particle size. Larger LDL particles are less likely to cause blockages in your arteries.
Pro tip: The routine cholesterol screening most of us do at our annual physical often doesn’t give the full picture. Looking at cholesterol particle size—like with this test—can be a useful tool in evaluating heart disease risk.
When we think of body composition, we typically think of body fat percentage. However, body composition also includes lean mass, which refers to muscle, bone, and organs. Because fat tissue is less dense than muscle tissue, someone with a higher proportion of fat mass will weigh more than someone with a lower proportion of fat mass, even if they are the same height and have the same amount of total mass.
Regular exercise has been shown to positively affect body composition. In particular, it can help to increase lean muscle mass and decrease fat mass. This is beneficial because increasing the proportion of muscle mass in the body will lead to a reduction in overall body weight. Additionally, regular exercise helps to improve insulin sensitivity, which can help to reduce the amount of fat stored in the body.
Pro tip: A nutritional keto plan can be effective at helping the body burn stored body fat, while helping to maintain (and even increase) lean muscle mass.
Exercise not only has positive effects on your body, but it can also have a positive impact on your mood. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are hormones that improve your mood and alleviate pain. It also triggers the release of norepinephrine, thanks to an increase in heart rate. This stress-related chemical may actually act as an anti-depressant. Exercise also increases blood flow to the brain, which may also help boost mood.
In addition, regular exercise can help reduce levels of stress and anxiety. It does this by providing a distraction from the things that are causing you stress, helping to improve your sleep quality, and increasing levels of serotonin, a chemical that’s linked to happiness and wellbeing. As a result, it’s not surprising that people who exercise regularly tend to report feeling happier and more relaxed than those who don’t.
Pro tip: Research suggests you can improve your mood with as little as a six-minute walk. So, the next time you’re feeling down, try going for a quick walk to help boost your mood!
When it comes to weight loss, there is no magic bullet. However, regular exercise is one of the most effective tools to shed pounds and keep them off for good. Exercise helps to boost metabolism and burn calories, and it also helps to build muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn even when you’re at rest. In addition, regular exercise can help to reduce stress levels, improve sleep quality, and increase energy levels. All of these factors can help to make it easier to stick to a healthy diet and lose weight in the long run.
Do you have any other benefits of regular exercise that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!