As people who exercise regularly will tell you: Exercise adds years to your life, but also adds life to your years.
Whether we’re talking about Diabetes, Heart Disease or any other serious health issue, one of the most consistently ignored recommendation is that we need to exercise.
For many years, and as recently as February of this year, research has proved that even small amounts of physical activity (even the mildest gesture) triggers multiple positive changes in our bodies.
Most of us at least have a “sense” that exercise is good for us, and we’ve all heard that it’s “heart healthy.” But, knowing that still doesn’t seem to be enough motivation to get us moving, and keep moving.
The results of multiple campaigns are in and they show that:
➡ Only 20% of Americans get the recommended 150 minutes of strength and cardiovascular physical activity per week.
➡ More than half of all baby boomers report doing zero exercise
➡ 80 million Americans over the age of 6 (six!!)are entirely inactive.
Now, even scientists are learning that exercise is actually medicine.
“There is no pill that comes close to what exercise can do, and if there was one, it would be extremely expensive.”
Here are some of the amazing ways in which exercise adds years to your life.
Exercise is great for your brain.
➡ It’s linked to less depression, better memory, and quicker learning.
➡ Studies also suggest that exercise is now the best way to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, a major fear for many Americans.
While we don’t yet know exactly how it changes the structure and function of the brain, it’s an area of active research.
So far, they’ve found that:
➡ That, in turn, feeds the growth of new blood vessels and even new brain cells thanks to a protein called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which is a naturally occurring growth hormone responsible for making new neurons.
➡ Neurons are the basic building blocks of the nervous system. They are highly specialized nerve cells, responsible for communicating information in both chemical and electrical forms.
➡ They also help repair and protect brain cells from degenerating.
➡ According to recent research, BDNF may also help people focus.
If You Exercise You Just Might Get Happier.
➡ That’s because exercise triggers the release of chemicals in the brain that dull pain, lighten your mood and relieve stress. They are:
As Cedric Bryant, chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise said so well: “For years we focused almost exclusively on the physical benefits of exercise and really have ignored the psychological and emotional benefits of being regularly active.”
Exercise may slow down your aging process (and who would turn that down?)
Moderate intensity exercise adds years to your life and has been shown to lengthen lifespan by as much as five years.
➡ Aerobic exercise revs up blood flow to the skin, delivering oxygen and nutrients that improve skin health and even help wounds heal faster.
That’s why when people have injuries, they should get moving as quickly as possible—not only to make sure the muscle doesn’t atrophy but to make sure there’s good blood flow to the skin.
Train long enough, and you’ll add more blood vessels and tiny capillaries to the skin, too.
Amazing things can happen in just a few minutes
Emerging research suggests that it doesn’t take much movement to get the benefits.
➡ In yet another recent study, a shorter, more intense exercise session resulted in identical improvements in heart function and blood sugar control as did a moderate intensity exercise session, which was 5 times longer than the shorter workout.
Exercise adds years to your life by helping you recover from major illnesses
➡ Even very vigorous exercise—can be right for people with different chronic conditions, from Type 2 diabetes to heart failure.
That’s new thinking because, for decades, people with certain diseases were advised not to exercise. Now scientists know that far more people can and should exercise.
➡ A recent analysis of more than 300 clinical trials discovered that for people recovering from a stroke, exercise was even more effective at helping them rehabilitate.
➡ The body uses both carbohydrates and fats as energy sources. But after consistent aerobic exercise training, the body gets better at burning fat, which requires a lot of oxygen to convert it into energy.
It Strengthens Your Heart Muscle
We’ve all heard about the multiple benefits of exercise, not the least of which is strengthening our cardiovascular system.
➡ That leads to better oxygen delivery to our bodies, which in turn makes us get stronger and better at delivering oxygen, so we’re able to burn more fat as an energy source.
➡ As a result, your fat cells shrink and so does inflammation.