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Why Exercise is More that Just Physical Activity

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When the word exercise is seen or heard most people think of the physical labor it involves, but there is so much more to it. Exercise is more than just a twenty minute run on the treadmill or the slamming down of a weight after a rep. Exercising is one of the most important things someone can do to take care of themselves, and their bodies. The benefits of exercise include more than just physical, there is also emotional and health benefits. These benefits of exercise are discussed in this essay and they collectively work together into making exercise what it is. Exercise is essential to living a well rounded healthy lifestyle.

Exercise significantly alters the hormones in our brains: a chemical reaction occurs when physical activity is taking place, your body begins to release chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins stimulate positive feelings in the body, the encouragement of feeling well and further prevents depression. In the book, Fit and Well Core Conceptions and Labs in Physical Fitness and Wellness, it talks about the positive effects exercise has on the brains functions. Exercise decreases anxiety, which is the body’s natural response to stress. Norepinephrine, which involves levels of stress can be moderated with exercise because exercise increases the amounts of it. Emotional well being can often be overlooked, and seen as less important when in fact it is the opposite. Exercise enhances brain health. The brain is the center of control for the bodies entire sense of functioning, and without it all that would be left is muscles and bones. A healthy brain is only a part of being a healthy person. Also in the book, the importance of mental health is linked to exercise. Mental health can be strengthened by physical activity whether it be a casual walk in the park, or intense weight lifting training. Any combinations of movements to get the body moving. Exercise promotes positive body images when increasing self-esteem, and helps increase the overall self image. While working out, the bodies brain derived proteins; BDNF levels are increased. These proteins help with higher levels of thinking, learning, and decision making. The emotional and mental benefits from exercise are vital and only growing, as more is being discovered about the brains functions.

Physical strength goes beyond being able to lift a heavy weight. The dynamics of different types of physical exercise range from flexibility, muscular strength, cardiorespiratory endurance, and muscular endurance. All of which benefit the body physically. Flexibility is the capability to move the joints in the body through a full range of motion. As the body develops naturally the joints in it stiffen if they are not stretched often enough or correctly. The inactivity of these joints that cause stress on them and the muscles can later on in life lead to more serious health concerns. Although pain in the joints common, overtime it can worsen and lead to things like arthritis, sprains, and other forms of joint conditions. Stretching, and increasing your flexibility can help protect your joints and keep healthy the healthy range of motions. Muscular strength is the volume of force a muscle can create with a single maximum effort. Strong, and healthy muscles are important for all activities from normal day to day activities like carrying grocery bags or walking up a flight of stairs. Muscles aid in keeping the skeleton in correct alignment, and muscle tissue is a key component to the body composition. Strength training increases antioxidants enzymes and lowers oxidative stress. It allows the muscle mass to build up, and stay maintained while keeping function which prevents injuries. Cardiorespiratory endurance is means to perform pro-longed exercise at moderate to high levels of intensity. When cardiorespiratory fitness is low it means the heart has to work intensely during average activities. A healthy heart can combat with the strains of emergencies and everyday life tasks. As cardiorespiratory fitness enhances the physical functions correlated with it also improve, for example blood volumes increase, resting heart rate slows, and breathing volumes shrink during less taxing activities. Cardiorespiratory endurance is prime part of being all around healthy, the heart and lungs function is vital to good health. Muscular endurance is the muscles ability to withstand fatigue, and uphold a level of muscle tension. This, much like muscular strength is important for daily activities as well as preventing injuries. The fusion of all of these collectively make for a well rounded, healthy individual physically.

Preventing health conditions can be difficult, but not as strenuous as the conditions themselves. Mark Febbraio in the article, “Health benefits of exercise – more than meets the eye!” discussed how exercise can help prevent chronic disease. A key concept from the article was how exercise can reduce tumor growth in multiple types of cancers by mobilizing and redistributing natural killer cells. Regular exercise can help prevent the forming of Type 2 diabetes, and as well as treating it. Exercise metabolizes the excess sugars in the body, and the cells become delicate to insulin which results in regulation of blood sugar levels. Exercise boosts immune function as long as it is done in moderation. Being physically fit allows for less colds and upper respiratory tract infections to occur. When people are physically active they not only become healthier, but their genes become more resilient. Exercise protects telomeres, telomeres form at the end of DNA strands, and hold them together. Telomeres shorten over time without physical activity, and this results in a weakened immune system. Cardiovascular diseases, also known as CVD are a category of diseases involving the heart and blood vessels. Specific exercising: cardiorespiratory endurance training lowers the risk of CVD. Exercising stimulates a healthy balance of fats in the blood, decreases blood pressure, amplifies cell pump activity, and limits chronic inflammation. Health benefits from exercising are important, and can change a life for the better.

The obsession that engrosses people once results are seen, and the endorphins are flying contribute to unhealthy habit of over training. According to Flavio Cadegiana, from the book, “Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport” overtraining leads to fatigue and worsened performance. There are many things to take into account when discussing overtraining. Overtraining can spread from being a mild case and to an extreme one resulting in someone being taken to the hospital. Overtraining is created when there is an imbalance between the training, and recovery. Not getting enough sleep or the right amount of calories for the training effort put in can contribute to overtraining. There comes a time where exercising no longer serves its healthy purposes and switches into becoming unhealthy. Overworking the body into the ground because of the need to exercise takes over. People become controlled with ideas, and fixations. The false myth that if one unhealthy meal or one day skipped at the gym will result in all the hard work being ruined influences people everyday. The body can only withstand so much physical activity with not enough rest before it begins to break down.

Exercise is complex, and constantly changing. The emotional/mental benefits such as reduces anxiety, and increasing self-esteem are key to improving the brains function. The physical benefits of flexibility, muscular strength, cardiovascular endurance, and muscular endurance are all vital to creating a healthy body. The health benefits from exercise ranging from cardiovascular to immune, and more being discovered every day help to prolong ones life. Exercise not only shapes people physically but mentally as well allowing people to becoming well rounded healthy individuals. Exercise has multiple benefits including emotional, physical, and health. It is not limited to just the gym, but an entire existence. The combination of benefits are what make exercise so cardinal. Exercise is one of the most important activities someone can introduce into their lives. A walk around a neighborhood, or training for a team, any effort towards getting your heart rate going makes a difference. Exercise is universal and beneficial to everyone.           

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Why Exercise Is More That Just Physical Activity. (2023, February 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from
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