The title of this article says it all. It’s not that we don’t know that we should exercise, so why do so many people just not do it? Maybe it’s that they just don’t fully understand all of the benefits. Well, in the article in August 2013 issue of Scientific American, they go over the numerous physiological benefits to exercise. This knowledge makes it much easier to get our bodies going. It’s not just about losing weight or breaking a sweat. There are actually significant changes that occur each time we exercise that help to boost our overall health. Even if you do exercise regularly it is great to understand the things that happen in your body while you are exercising.
The article speaks about the many benefits to the body with “sustained bouts of moderate to vigorous physical activity”. I think that it is fair to say that we all know that exercise always makes us feel better, but not many people really understand why that is. Our bodies thrive off motion, and pushing our bodies physically catalyzes many reactions that boost our health and simply make us work better. Here is a summary of the various systems they speak about in the article:
Nervous System: Exercise improves brain function. Aerobic training helps people’s brains function better in terms of organization, planning, and attention. So, even though you may be pushed for time, exercise will help make your time at work more productive.
Immune System: Regular physical activity helps to protect the body from inflammation and strengthen the immune system. However, going overboard can have the opposite effect and weaken the immune system. This reduces your body’s ability to fight off germs and sickness. So, more is not always better.
Endocrine System: This system is your hormone system. There are dozens of hormones in the body and they control a wide variety of crucial functions in the body. A couple of hormones that benefit from exercise are insulin and adiponectin. Both have a direct relationship to blood sugar control and fat in the human body. Improving the function of these hormones greatly reduces risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Musculoskeletal System: This is the obvious one. Exercise makes your fitter. Varied forms can help with things like muscles strength, muscular endurance, bone strength, and balance.
Genetics: You must remember that many genes need to be turned on or off by various processes in the body. Exercise does have an impact on gene expression. A wide range of cells in the body can have genes affected by exercise induced physiology.
Cancer: “Physical activity reduces the risk of breast, colorectal and other malignancies.”
So, the next time you think you are working out just to burn some calories and get your blood pumping, realize that there is an entire symphony of reactions going on in your body. All of which boost your health and make you feel better. Seems like a pretty good reason to keep doing it.