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Bert Bauzon
Bert Bauzon is a licensed physiotherapist specializing in spinal care and sports rehabilitation. He writes articles and books about exercise science and health care.

Benefits of Exercise: Physical, Mental, Cognitive And More

You’ve always known that exercise can help you stay fit and look good.

Exercise is an important catalyst to stimulate muscle growth and promote improvement in your physique.

However, exercise is not just physical – it is nature's ultimate pill for both your mind and body.

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There’s a lot going on inside a human body during exercise. It is similar to taking a drug that targets multiple organs in your body and drives your mind in a positive direction.

1. Makes you feel happy and fulfilled

When performing an exercise, our brain is overwhelmed with dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for happiness and feelings of accomplishment.

This results in mood elevation and increased self-worth.

2. Keeps your heart healthy

Your heart works extra hard during exercise to meet the demand for oxygen throughout your body.

Just like any other muscle, your heart muscle walls become stronger and allows your heart to pump more blood efficiently as you exercise.

Aerobic exercise eventually results in a decrease in your blood pressure.

3. Regulates gut function

Regular exercise improves your metabolism and aids your digestion.

Additionally, exercise also balances gut bacterial growth and prevents the growth of harmful microbes in your stomach.

4. Inhibits pain

In the recent decade, there have been a lot of studies about pain management, and exercise always finds its way to the spotlight among thousands of research articles about pain.

Exercise, directly and indirectly, inhibits the pain pathways in our bodies.

This means that exercise is potent in activating our body’s natural pain killers.

5. Promotes healthy metabolism

Exercise stimulates the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats, which helps you maintain a healthy weight.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) in particular, burns tons of calories and reduces body fats.

6. Alleviates stress and anxiety

Aerobic exercises promote the reduction of anxiety and stress levels by releasing endorphins, neurotransmitters responsible for feelings of pleasure.

The intensity of your exercise programs is more effective at treating symptoms of anxiety. The more engaged you are in your exercise, the better results you will get both physically and mentally.

7. Boosts brain power

Exercise supports neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells. Allowing your body and mind to be fully engaged in your exercise routines enables you to keep producing new brain cells over and over.

The more brain cells you have, the sharper your mind is, and the better you perform complex tasks.

8. Promotes cognitive function

A study found out that exercise could promote cognitive function among children and carry it later in life.

Exercise enhances your critical thinking abilities and problem solving skills which are beneficial with real world problems.

9. Prevents cognitive decline

Exercise is a potent enhancer of hippocampal neurogenesis. Hippocampus is the area of the brain responsible for the ability to learn new things and remember them.

Cognitive decline due to aging can be prevented through regular exercise.

Additionally, People with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's disease can effectively delay the progression of their condition through exercise programs.

10. Prevents chronic diseases

Lack of physical activity is the leading cause of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases.

The absence of regular exercise, even for a short term, can increase your belly fat and increases your risk of having heart problems.

11. Nourishes the skin

The blood carries vital nutrients to keep you healthy. And because exercise boosts blood flow throughout the body, it helps nourish key organs, including skin cells.

Regular exercises also stimulate the production of skin’s natural oil, which delivers natural moisture across the skin and helps keep the skin smooth and soft.

12. Helps conquer addiction

Addiction is a habit that you unconsciously programmed in your brain through an action-reward system.

Whenever we perform a habit, our brain gets rewarded with dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes us feel good.

Through exercise, people who are suffering from addiction can distract them from cravings.

Making exercise a habit can effectively replace your bad habits or addiction.

Your brain also gets tons of dopamine rewards every time you exercise.

13. Skyrockets your productivity

People who exercise regularly are more productive at work and achieve their goals in their career or business fast.

Exercise raises your energy levels, combats mental stress and improves general well being.

In addition, feeling happy and confident gives you an extra boost to complete the task at hand.

14. Boosts your creativity

Your ability to imagine the future and think creatively also depends on the hippocampal region of your brain.

Physical activity is known to promote neural connection and increase brain activity in the area of the hippocampus.

Creative people sometimes use bodily movement to help overcome “mental blocks”.

15. Helps you achieve meaningful sleep

Sleep is your body's way of recharging itself, and meaningful sleep happens when you achieve deep sleep.

Moderate to high-intensity workouts improve the quality of your sleep during the night.

Exercise reduces the time it takes for you to fall asleep and decreases the amount of time you lie awake in bed.

More importantly, morning exercises signal the release of melatonin early in the evening.

Melatonin is the hormone responsible for your sleep-wake cycle. Achieving an optimal sleep results in a significant increase in energy throughout the day.

16. Exercise promotes neuroplasticity

Exercise allows your brain to achieve neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity is the ability of your brain to rewire itself and modify its neural connections.

Brain injury such as stroke can disrupt your brain and body connections, resulting in paralysis and inability to perform movements on one side of your body.

Fortunately, through extensive exercise, people who suffer from this condition can regain their function and abilities to move again.

Take away

Exercise has unique positive benefits throughout your body with almost zero side effects and is entirely free of cost.

It is so good that a whole medical field, called physiotherapy, is dedicated to using exercise as a treatment in combating various conditions and impairments.

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