Exercise Benefits for Health Optimisation


We all have been told from a young age that exercise is good for us. We also hear a lot about exercise for weight loss, but what about the benefits of it for other aspects of health?


In this post, we will look into some of the benefits of exercise for different areas of the body.



Brain


According to studies, physical activity helps us fall asleep easier, and stay asleep during the night, as well as improving the quality of sleep, helping to reduce insomnia.


Stress is a big factor to consider in regards to insomnia. Interval training as well as moderate intensity exercise has been proven to improve stress levels by reducing stress-related hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.


Physical activity has also been shown to have a beneficial effect on depression and anxiety as well as improving self-concept.


Regular exercise encourages the release of certain neurotransmitters such as dopamine, endorphine, and endocannabinoids.


Dopamine is important for feeling pleasure as well as it has a positive effect on regulating heart rate and sleep cycles, motivation, mood, memory and pain processing.


Endorphins and endocannabinoids are also increasing the feeling of pleasure and also blocking pain response.


Another element to consider is neuroplasticity, which improves the ability of the nervous system to change, modify, and adapt its structure and function in response to both internal and external stimuli which is important for learning new skills.

In response to exercise, our heart pumps faster, increasing the supply of oxygen and nutrients to our brain which may improve memory and overall brain function. It also helps to reduce cognitive decline and dementia, and promotes the regeneration of myelin.


Energy


When we exercise, the cells in our muscles are encouraged to produce more mitochondria - the energy powerhouses of the body. Mitochondria create fuel using glucose from food and oxygen.

Exercise also increases oxygen production, which aids the body to function better and to use energy more efficiently.


Joints, bones and muscles


Our bones and joints have little to no blood supply and rely on synovial fluid to keep them nourished and protected. Exercise provides a constant, steady flow of synovial fluid.

Being physically active also improves our range of movement in the joints.


Higher impact exercises such as weight training encourages osteoblast activity (cells that help to build bone) which is important in prevention of osteoporosis by building denser, stronger bones. Exercise also has a beneficial effect on ligaments.

Taking part in regular exercise may also reduce the chances of falls by improving balance and increasing muscle strength.


Reproductive Hormones


Males


Testosterone levels are shown to be increased by exercise which is important to maintain muscle mass, strength, controls body fat percentage and sperm count. With age, testosterone levels gradually decrease, so keeping up with an exercise routine may improve testosterone levels and slow the effects of aging.



Females


Exercise has been shown to have beneficial effect on oestrogen balance, which may reduce the risk for developing breast cancer as well as improve symptoms of Menopause and Premenstrual Syndrome.



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