Exercise – It’s More Than Just For Weight Loss

If we are honest to ourselves, the reason why most of us exercise is to prevent excessive weight gain. It is true for me and a lot of people I know, but it takes a lot of guts to admit it. The exceptions, of course, would be those people whose natural genetics and metabolism are those of the “thin” variety. Even then, exercising would also make their physique look good.

While this is a truth which we are often embarrassed to admit, there are, in all fairness, a whole lot of other reasons why we should be exercising. I have covered them extensively in my book the Lifelong Fitness Blueprint, where I wrote specifically about how cardio and strength training exercises can benefit people in their own unique way. However, today I will give you some of these reasons.

One: It will boost your immunity

This has actually been validated from both questionnaire-based research and lab research, and was reported from credible sources such as the Australian Institute of Sport and the American College of Sports Medicine. Of course, in addition to a direct causal effect, there are also other confounding factors.

One of the more common direct reasons is that exercise causes increased blood flow during the activity, thereby moving important immune cells all over the body. Think of it as a high speed train as opposed to old-school locomotives. Not only does it work in the short-term, studies have shown that it has long-term effects as well.

PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay
PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

But it wouldn’t be honest of me to only present one side of the story. There is an exception to this. If you exercise too much, too long and too hard, you are actually more likely to catch the cold and flu. The reason for that is because exercising uses up a lot of your body’s resources. If a lot of them are channelled to fuel your exercise, less of it will be used for immune purposes. For most of us though, this isn’t really relevant anyway.

Two: Better sleep

It is true that exercise can help you sleep better, so all you zombie insomniacs, myself included, better listen up and pay attention to this one. More specifically, research has shown that vigorous aerobic exercise is particularly good for enhancing sleep. Not only that, it also improves the quality of your existing sleep.

However, it is also about proper timing. Australia’s Sleep Health Foundation recommends that people should exercise in the morning. However, even if you are an evening exerciser, you will also increase your chances of getting a good nights’ rest, as long as your exercise finishes more than two hours before your bed time. Otherwise it could stimulate you to be awake.

Three: Reduced chances of getting dementia later in life

So, if you are a young person, dementia seems like an eternity away. If you are a “young at heart person”, this would be of immediate relevance to you. This is because exercise can ensure that your blood vessels remain in good shape, and that exercise helps with the growth of new brain cells, as well as forging the links between existing brain cells.

Four: Strong bones that protect against osteoporosis

When you keep yourself active, your bones get stimulated to grow and repair themselves. They are also less prone to fractures due to being brittle in later life. Ironically, the exercises that exert pressure on your bones are the ones that can offer the most benefit to this cause. Nevertheless, the underlying principle is to exercise some common sense, pun intended. Don’t run or jog too much if your knees are really weak or injury-prone.

Five: Reduced chances of getting cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes

Alright, you probably think that I, Captain Obvious, am such a nag. However, this point is actually very true. Research constantly supports it! In fact, let me go one step further and say that if you already suffer from any of the above, a healthy dose of exercise can help you with your situation. It might not completely get rid of it, but it will significantly contribute to your quality of life. Surely that’s good enough, right?

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Six: Better mood and mental health

Some people call exercise a wonder drug when it comes to keeping healthy mentally. If you have friends who are runners, they will tell you about the “runner’s high”, which is when the dopamine in their brain gives them a natural high after they have ran for some distance. Furthermore, other research has shown that exercise can help with existing mental illnesses. Like the point above, it does not take it away, but it will enhance your wellbeing and vitality.

I have highlighted six non-weight-loss related reasons for you to start exercising even if you are already at a healthy weight level. There are many more reasons, but these ones mentioned above are already a good start! Check out the Granite Fitness Solution or Granite Fitness Masterclass if you feel that you need a bit of a kick-start on this journey.

Mark

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Also published on Medium.


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