Improve your health and avoid chronic disease
Exercise is fundamental for optimal health. A lack of movement can lead to poor health and create a bodily environment in which diseases can manifest. Lack of exercise affects the whole body, including digestion, immune function and how nerves, muscles and hormones work. In order to stay fit and create balance in the body, daily movement is key.
Learn 9 reasons why exercise is important and how exercise benefits each part of the body.
How exercise affects the body
Exercise increases the demand on the heart to pump blood around the body. This feeds cells with more nutrients and oxygen, whilst simultaneously excreting waste and toxins from the body.
When the heart muscle works harder during exercise, the body builds muscles and vessels, helping the lungs to breathe more efficiently. All cells in the body rely on a constant supply of oxygen. When cells are better oxygenated, you feel more energised. Daily movement can also improve certain cognitive functions, including coordination, stress coping, memory and information processing.
Regular exercise has a beneficial effect on the endocrine system which is responsible for the production of hormones such as testosterone, insulin, growth hormones and thyroid gland secretions. These are vital to maintain muscle, bone and connective tissue integrity and energy levels. Insulin is essential for blood sugar regulation, which is why exercise is so important for diabetics and those with insulin resistance.
The lymphatic system requires daily movement to move lymph through the lymphatic vessels to the lymphatic tissues. 70% of the immune system resides in the gut in the form of lymphatic tissue so regular exercise keeps the immune system strong and healthy. It also increases the number of immune cells which circulate the body, helping to fight off infection.
The importance of exercise
- Increases energy levels. Exercise encourages cells to make more cellular energy (called ATP) and increase blood flow; this transports more oxygen and nutrients to tissues, surging energy levels.
- Beneficial for wellbeing as exercise triggers the release of endorphins which make us feel good. The social aspect of exercise also makes people happy as they unwind and do something enjoyable.
- Strengthens bones and muscles. Weight-bearing exercise increases bone production, improves bone density and makes muscles thicker and stronger.
- Reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, heart disease and cancer. Regular movement keeps body systems flowing and stimulated.
- Helps with pain management as regular movement promotes healthy blood circulation and nutrient delivery to the cells. In doing so, it also removes pain-inducing chemicals and toxins from tissues.
- Improves skin health as exercise increases the production of natural antioxidants which help protect skin cells. It also stimulates blood flow to the skin and slows DNA ageing, slowing down the onset of wrinkles.
- Supports detoxification by optimising liver cell activity. Exercise enhances the elimination processes required to expel toxic materials through the body by increasing sweating, exhaling and promoting bowel movement.
- Keeps weight in check as exercise heats the body up and burns calories. The more intense the workout, the more calories you burn.
- Promotes better sleep as exercise relaxes the mind and regulates melatonin levels, helping transition the body into sleep mode.
Daily movement promotes health
Exercise, along with a nutritious diet, is key for optimum health. Daily movement benefits the whole body, from the muscles and lungs through to the brain and hormones. Exercise helps reduce the risk of chronic disease and keeps bones and skin strong. Finding time to take a walk, dance class or go swimming will enhance your health in the long-term.