Updated: Apr 22, 2019
Has your doctor been telling you that you need to exercise in order to improve your health? Well, it may be time to start listening, because exercise is medicine, my friend! There’s just no denying the abundant amount of studies that show all the great benefits of exercising these days! If you still aren’t convinced…let’s dive a little deeper into what the science says!
1. Exercise Improves Cardiorespiratory Fitness
If you haven’t heard the term cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), it essentially refers to the ability of your heart and lungs to supply oxygen to your skeletal muscles, during sustained physical activity. The more you exercise, the more your CRF will improve! Why is improving your CRF important you might ask? Well, according to a study review published in 2018, when CRF is low, it is a risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes (T2D), and cardiovascular disease (CVD) morbidity and mortality. On the other hand, as CRF improves your mortality risk decreases significantly! Makes you want to stop reading this and go for a run, doesn’t it? Well, don’t stop just yet…we’ve got more to tell ya!
2. Physical Activity and Health Conditions
When combined with other factors (e.g. age, diet, gender, and genetics), physical inactivity is an actual cause of chronic conditions. In this same study review mentioned above, there were actually 40 conditions that were listed as worsening due to physical inactivity, some of which include: premature death, balance, bone fractures/falls, breast cancer, cognitive dysfunction, colon cancer, constipation, heart diseases, blood clots, depression and anxiety, high blood pressure, obesity, osteoporosis, pain, rheumatoid arthritis, stroke, and T2D. And that’s not even the full list!
According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), many studies have also shown that there is an inverse relationship between regular physical activity and/or exercise and premature mortality, heart diseases, high blood pressure, stroke, osteoporosis, T2D, metabolic syndrome, obesity, 13 cancers, depression, functional health, falls, and cognitive function. This means that the more we are physically active and exercise, the less likely we are to experience these health conditions or vice versa. Yikes! Please excuse me while I go work out now!
3. Physical Activity Improves Mental Health
There are many studies which support physical activity being used as therapy for improvements in cognition, depression, anxiety, neurodegenerative diseases, and drug addiction! What a great alternative to having to take some pills!
4. Tissues, Organs, and Systems are Influenced by Physical Activity
Or lack thereof we should say. Decreased levels of physical activity can negatively affect the brain, heart, circulation, skeletal muscle, bones, and liver. For example, with lower levels of physical activity, specific types of cognition are worsened as well as motor coordination and balance. Also, the heart loses its maximum pumping abilities and blood supply to working muscles worsens. Skeletal muscle mass and strength will both decrease, as well as bone mass and strength. Finally, your liver will have excessive fat storage if you are not physically active.
There are truly so many great benefits to exercising and being physically active every day! If you struggle to find the time to exercise, you may consider working out in 10 minute increments throughout the day until you’ve totaled 30 minutes or more. It is SO important to stay active so that you can continue to stay healthy and keep up with your kids and/or grand-kids. I know that is why I continue to be active!
I want to be able to do all the fun things with my kids without struggling for my breath at the same time.
Honestly, some days are hard to get in my exercise, but I do try to get back on track the next day. We all get off track sometimes, but if you are truly striving to be consistent and get better every day that is all that matters!
If you need help with staying motivated to exercise or just need some accountability along the way,
we are here for you!
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Health and happiness,
Alicia Williamson RN, BSN, MSNW, CHC
Kylie Glastetter BA, MS, EP-C, CHC
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