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6 Unexpected Advantages of Exercise

By Kelsey Kennedy

There are many compelling reasons to start moving at any age, even if you're sick or pregnant. In fact, researchers are discovering that exercise is a form of treatment.

"Exercise has healing powers that no drug can match.” - Claude Bouchard, director of the human genomics laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana.

1. Exercise is Beneficial to the Brain

The benefits are less depression, improved memory, and faster learning. Additionally, research points to exercise as the most effective approach to stop or delay the beginning of Alzheimer's disease, a serious concern for many Americans.

Exercise alters the structure and function of the brain, but why this occurs is still a mystery to scientists. Through the protein BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), researchers have discovered that exercise increases blood flow to the brain, fueling the development of new blood vessels and brain cells. Also, encouraging the creation of new neurons, BDNF aids in brain cell repair and degeneration prevention.

2.Mood Booster

Numerous studies demonstrate that various forms of exercise, such as cycling and walking, improve moods and even lessen depressive symptoms. Serotonin, norepinephrine, endorphins, and dopamine are among the brain chemicals that are released during exercise.These help in reducing tension, dulling pain, and brightening your mood.

According to Cedric Bryant, chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, "for years we virtually entirely concentrated on the physical benefits of exercise and basically disregarded the psychological and emotional benefits of being routinely active."

3.Slower Aging

Exercise can increase longevity by up to five years - the aging of cells may be slowed down by moderate exercise. Telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes, shorten as humans age and cells divide repeatedly. Researchers collected blood and muscle samples from 10 healthy individuals before and after a 45-minute ride on a stationary bicycle to examine the impact of exercise on telomere length.

They discovered that physical activity raised concentrations of a molecule that shields telomeres, ultimately slowing the rate at which they shorten over time. Therefore, physical activity seems to delay cellular aging.

4.Glowing Skin

Aerobic exercise increases blood flow to the skin, providing nutrients and oxygen that promote healthy skin and even hasten wound healing. People with injuries should get moving as quickly as possible—not only to make sure their muscle’s don’t atrophy, but to make sure there's good blood flow to the skin. If you exercise enough, your skin will develop more capillaries and blood vessels.

5.Aiding in recovery from serious illness

Patients with various chronic diseases, ranging from Type 2 diabetes to heart failure, can benefit from intense exercise. For many years we’ve believed it’s better to discourage exercise for those with certain conditions. Scientists now understand that a much larger population can and should exercise. A recent study of more than 300 clinical trials, showed that stroke survivors benefited from exercise in their rehabilitation.

Since the early 1990s, Dr. Robert Sallis has advised exercise to his patients in an effort to administer fewer medications. He claimed that it did wonders, even in his sickest cases. He would see dramatic improvements in their chronic disease, not to mention all of these other things like depression, anxiety, mood, and energy levels.

6.Your fat tissue will decrease

​​The body needs both fats and carbohydrates as fuel. With regular training in aerobic activity, the body becomes more adept at burning fat, which needs a lot of oxygen to be converted into energy. According to Hackney, one advantage of exercise training is that it strengthens and improves our ability to supply oxygen, which allows us to digest more fat as an energy source. Your fat cells shrink as a result, decreasing both inflammation and the compounds that cause chronic low-grade inflammation.

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