We can't say it enough: Physical activity is important for your overall good health. Physically and mentally. But what does exercise really do for us? Here are 10 benefits of movement that is sure to motivate you to start or resume physical activity at your own pace.
1. INCREASE IN ENERGY
The belief that we are "too tired" to exercise is based on a false perception, since it is often the lack of exercise that makes us tired. In fact, all the studies prove it: physical training increases our energy and our ability to recover after an effort. In short, there's nothing like it to give us a boost!
2. WEIGHT CONTROL
Physical activity is an excellent way to control your weight and even lose weight! The best way to do this is to combine cardiovascular and strength training exercises. Cardiovascular exercise significantly increases caloric expenditure during exercise and stimulates the metabolism in the hours that follow. The latter increases muscle mass, which translates into a permanent improvement in basal metabolic rate (BMR) and, consequently, a higher overall caloric expenditure.
3. PREVENTION OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
It is a fact that exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Regular activity directly fights atherosclerosis, strengthens the heart muscle and makes the blood more fluid, which prevents the formation of clots. Exercise also protects us from obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
4. STRENGTHENING BONES
As a general rule, between the ages of 35 and 50, we lose 7 to 12% of our bone mass. Exercise helps prevent this loss. Weight-bearing activities (walking, jogging, tennis, in-line skating, etc.) and lifting (weights, for example) are best for strengthening bones.
5. DECREASE BACK PAIN
Statistics show that about 80% of chronic lower back pain is caused by a lack of physical activity. The pelvis is held in its normal position by the balanced tension between two groups of muscles: those of the abdomen and those of the lower back. Lack of exercise weakens the abdominal muscles, which over time causes the pelvis to shift forward. Over time, the lower back becomes more and more hollow and chronic pain gradually sets in. Active people suffer from lower back pain 10 times less often than those who are sedentary.
6. PROTECTION AGAINST CERTAIN CANCERS
For several years, a link has been established between physical exercise and cancer prevention. Studies have shown that active people develop cancer less often than those who are sedentary. Research has shown that physical activity protects against colon cancer and can reduce the risk of breast, ovarian, endometrial, prostate and lung cancer.
7. IMPROVED SLEEP
According to some studies, exercise promotes better sleep. It causes physical fatigue and mental relaxation, resulting in a more restful sleep. Cardiovascular exercises are the most effective in increasing the quality of deep slow wave sleep, the most important phase for physical recovery.
8. STRESS REDUCTION
Physical activity is one of the best ways to relieve stress and reduce its damaging effects. A 30-minute cardiovascular workout reduces stress for two to four hours! In addition, research has shown that the more stressed a person is, the more they benefit from the calming effect of exercise.
9. PREVENTION OF DEPRESSION
Exercise provides general well-being. It has a positive effect on morale and psychological health, which helps one cope with hardship and keep depression at bay. Physical activity is known to increase blood levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that promotes relaxation and a good mood. It increases the release of endorphins, euphoric hormones that are related to morphine.
10. INCREASED LONGEVITY
According to many scientific studies, 50% of the signs attributed to normal aging are actually caused by a sedentary lifestyle. Data shows that exercise substantially decreases the risk of early death from disease and significantly increases longevity.