The benefits of a regular exercise program that build and maintain your muscular system are numerous. From preventing chronic health conditions to promoting weight loss and all around physical, mental and emotional health. To feel better, have more energy and maybe even live longer - look no further than regular intentional exercise.
These benefits are available to everyone regardless of age or physical ability. We all know that exercise is very good for us yet only six out of ten adults have a regular exercise program in place.
If you need more convincing lets take a look at specific ways exercise can improve your life:
1) Exercise Strengthens Your Muscles - Once we get past our twenties we lose muscle tissue at the rate of one half pound per year unless we work at keeping it. This loss can tip us into a slow downward spiral of declining health.
Here is an interesting link that I ran across as I was researching sarcopenia (the term used to describe age related muscle loss)
According to Wikipedia, sarcopenia is from the Greek meaning "poverty of flesh" .
This link even has actual MRI photos of the quadriceps to visualy show the muscle verses fat. Sarcopenia: Are we Doomed to Age-Related Muscle Loss?
Very power images. We can tip the scales in our favor as we age by adding weight bearing exercise to our routines. I have read numerous studies that prove we can increase muscle mass at any age.
2) Exercise Strengthens Your bones - As our muscles are attached to our bones if you don't work your muscles you cannot keep your bones strong. Without work they will weaken, become thinner and more brittle and the risk of osteoporosis increases. According to the article Women and Weight Training for Osteoporosis by Gina Shaw on Web MD, "Studies show that strength training over a period of time can help prevent bone loss -- and may even help build new bone.
In one study, postmenopausal women who participated in a strength training program for a year saw significant increases in their bone density in the spine and hips, areas affected most by osteoporosis in older women.
Maintaining strong muscles through weight training helps to keep up your balance and coordination -- a critical element in preventing falls, which can lead to osteoporosis-related fractures."
That is very promising research.
3) Exercise Boosts Your Metabolism - This is your body's engine and the condition of your muscles determine its health. If your muscles are weak and flabby the rate you burn fuel (calories) will slow to a crawl and becoming obese is more likely. If you are already overweight it will help to build muscle. Muscle burns more calories than fat, and the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even at rest!
4) Exercise Gives Your Heart a Regular Beating - When you work your muscles with circuit training and cardio exercise your heart gets a great workout as well and becomes stronger.
" Inactivity is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. However, exercise helps improve heart health, and can even reverse some heart disease risk factors.
Like all muscles, the heart becomes stronger as a result of exercise, so it can pump more blood through the body with every beat and continue working at maximum level, if needed, with less strain. The resting heart rate of those who exercise is also slower, because less effort is needed to pump blood.
A person who exercises often and vigorously has the lowest risk for heart disease, but any amount of exercise is beneficial. Studies consistently find that light-to-moderate exercise is even beneficial in people with existing heart disease. Note, however, that anyone with heart disease or cardiac risk factors should seek medical advice before beginning a workout program." This is from the article Exercise's Effects on the Heart (found on New York Times website). here is the link if you would like to read more of the article. Exercise's Effects on the Heart
5) Exercise Gives Your Brain a Boost - We all know that working our muscles is good for our body but did you know that it gets our brain working better too? Exercise helps in managing stress and processing emotions. It boosts the endorphins and makes us feel better. Working our muscles helps us to feel more confident.
"Exercise is really for the brain, not the body. It affects mood, vitality, alertness, and feelings of well-being."
John J. Ratey, MD author of A User's Guide to the Brain
So, as you can see you get a pretty good deal when you exercise on a regular basis. Just a couple of sessions each week will give many healthy benefits.
A qualified fitness professional can help get you started on the right track. I design my programs to include not only strength training and cardio, but to incorporate balance and functional movement as well.
Our overall physical health is important so we can live our life to the fullest and our mental and emotional health is closely linked to our physical strength and fitness.
Exercise can improve and sustain all of these areas of your life ...
so you not only have a long life, you have the highest quality of life as well.