Exercise for Health and Life Expectancy

Every human should engage in some physical activity at least five times a week. It is beneficial in so many ways and makes daily life easier. It promotes longevity, reduce pain, improve sleep, increase energy, builds aesthetics, and improves overall happiness. Those are all positive effects of exercise to help improve people’s lives.

One of the number one reasons people exercise is to better their health. Strength and conditioning exercises can burn fat, build muscle, and increase stamina. The human body finds energy from three main sources. First, it uses carbohydrates for energy. Fatty acids are stored in other places in the body as long as it has carbohydrates to burn. Once carbs are depleted, the body draws those fatty acids from all over the body and begin to deplete those. Exercise is generally targeted to burn carbs and force the body to burn its fat. The last option, and the least healthy, is muscle breakdown. The body will begin to break down muscles in the body and use the proteins and amino acids to make energy. Your body spends its stored energy in three different ways: digestion, physical activity, and maintaining bodily functions like maintaining a heartbeat and breathing. Simple training can speed up metabolism and burns fat rapidly. That means you are increasing fat loss in all three ways. An increased heart rate, faster breathing, more energy used exercise, and a faster metabolism.

Death is something that we will all eventually face, but exercise can prolong life expectancy. Exercise partially reverses the aging process. Regular bodily functions also run much smoother without an excess of fat to work around or deal with. Many studies have even shown that exercise can slow down or prevent certain types of cancers and growths. Weight bearing exercise is even a treatment for osteoporosis, which is a disease that prevents new bone creation. All of these effects can pile up and add quality time to your life. All that is required is simply meeting the minimum exercise expectancy for your specific body type.

Another effect of exercise is pain relief. The correct lift or stretch can help deal with or heal certain injuries. Exercise even produces and releases the bodies natural pain reliever, endorphins. One common endorphin that exercise produces is dopamine. Dopamine is seen as the main chemical in pleasure for the body. It increases motivation in physical activity and can drive someone towards an outcome that they want to achieve. Howard S. Smith, a former medical director and current Academic Director of Pain Management in the Department of Anesthesiology at Albany Medical College in Albany, New York, has found that “improved sleep quality, weight control, prevention of bone loss, increased energy level, countered anxiety and depression, increased muscle strength, relief for stress and tension, improved body posture, maintenance of range-of-motion in your joints, and decrease tension” and “immediate psychological boost” all come from exercise and reduce pain and help you feel better in most aspects.

Exercise will also affect your body aesthetically. There are four main categories of exercise. The first type is aerobic which incorporates more cardiovascular exercise such as running, swimming, dancing, and anything that improves stamina or speed. Aerobic exercise is essential for burning off that extra fat to give you a more skinny and cut look. The next type of exercise is strength training. Strength can be broken down even further into its own for categories: CrossFit, powerlifting, strongman, and bodybuilding. In strength training, your body uses resistance to build lean muscle and increase muscle memory. Strength training gives the body a more muscular and strong appearance due to growth of muscle. Another type of exercise is balance. Balance exercises help promote good posture and are extremely important for older adults. It is mostly beneficial to newly pregnant women who aren’t used to weight in new areas. Pregnancy changes the center of gravity in a woman’s body, but with good balance it is much easier to deal with. The last type of exercise is flexibility, which makes you look more athletic and proper. Flexibility helps relieve tightness in your muscles and stiffness in joints. It can be as simple as stretching properly throughout the day, or as intricate as a high level yoga session. Flexibility also prevents possible injuries due to the more “give” your muscles and joints give. So, all four types of exercise help with their own category, but should be combined and used to build on each other. The effects of simple stretching, body weight exercise, a brisk walk, and some balance work daily are huge in the long run whether you are an athlete, or an average person wanting a healthier life.

There is a few negative effects to exercise as well. One of the main cons is overtraining. Overtraining can harshly break down muscles without giving them a chance to recover, therefore, resulting in injury. The most commonly seen problem with overtraining is tendonitis and small fractures in bones that brace impact. It can also cause fatigue, depression, sleep problems, mood swings, a harder time focusing, headaches, dehydration, and increased pain in joints and muscles.

Another possible drawback to exercise is disappointment. You might not be seeing results you desire or in the time frame you wish to see them in. This all depends entirely on diet and training, but some beginners may not realize that and could just be wasting their time or reaching their goal very slowly. You must study fitness and decide how you’re going to properly reach your goals and make sure you are using good methods backed by physical science. If not, you might give up because of disappointment or aggravation.

Many people avoid exercise because it takes valuable time out of their day. It can be hard to find an hour in your day to be active when you have to balance family, religion, meals, and a job. The time crunch can be very stressful and arranging priorities is a challenge. Sometimes all you want to do with your free time is rest, and that’s when you decide what you want to throw out of your schedule. All of these can factor in to extreme fatigue and anxiety if pushed too far.

One of the last negative effects to fitness is supplement abuse. Supplements bring a whole new aspect to the fitness industry. They claim to boost energy, increase vascularity, rapidly burn fat, pack some wanted weight on, build muscle faster, and make recovery fast. While supplements can be great for the most part, they can be abused and be very hard on your body. A common supplement used by most athletes is preworkout. Preworkout promises high energy, laser focus, and blood rushing pumps. When used properly, they can drastically increase workout quality. When abused, they cause heart problems, liver problems, and increased chance for kidney stones. Another common supplement in the fitness world is protein mix. A healthy protein shake is great for building muscle, but you have to control your intake. Some proteins have a compound called creatine which is generally used by people wishing to put on some more weight. More recently, creatine has been seen to cause kidney failure and dehydration from retraction of water. One of the worst legal supplements that are commonly abused are fat burners. People take these and solely rely on them, or they overuse them and deplete all of the body’s energy very rapidly and cause irregular weight change that the body cannot handle. Fat burners should only be fit in a healthy diet for a person who has a larger amount of excess fat. The last supplement that is abused and very hard on your body is steroids. Steroids speed up the recovery process and basically send fat burners and muscle builders into “hyperdrive” which seems amazing. However, steroids are detrimental to the male reproductive system. They have been proven to cause decreased sperm count, testicular shrinkage, infertility, and impotence. Steroids have been banned from most competitive sports but are still abused by bodybuilders and powerlifters. Their are actually many powerlifting leagues that choose not to drug test, and have record holding athletes that openly use performance enhancers competing in them. They simply make competition unfair and simply aren’t worth the side effects.

In the end, the effects of fitness being incorporated into someones life is almost limitless. While their are many negative effects, the positives greatly outweigh them. Most cons to exercise can be avoided by simple research, planning, focus, and discipline. That is why I believe all humans capable should add exercise to their daily schedule to increase overall enjoyment of a better and healthier life.  

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