We have heard for some time now that fitness and physical activity is essential to our health. Doctors and fitness experts alike state that failing to get enough exercise, either through gym workouts, or other types of physical activity, can be detrimental to our health. This leads many people to question exactly how exercise helps us and research has uncovered some surprising answers to that question.
Protect Your Aerobic Power
Aerobic power is the ability your body possesses to draw oxygen from the air and deliver it to the tissues and organs in your body. If you’re not going to the gym, or engaging in some type of exercise on a regular basis, you body will lose this power gradually over time. You will lose 1% annually for a total of 10% of your aerobic power for each ten years. By the time you turn 70, you will have lost 30% or more of your maximum aerobic power, but you can cut that rate in half by engaging in regular exercise.
Lower Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the most common form of heart disease and is caused by the hardening of the artery walls. As plaque builds up in the arteries, it clings to the walls of the arteries, which inhibits proper blood flow. Regular exercise strengthens your heart and improves its ability to pump blood through the arteries. Over time, the enhanced force behind the flow of blood will wash away the plaque and help to lower the blood pressure.
Lower Your Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is an ever growing concern, particularly in the United States. Most people understand that it concerns the body’s inability to process insulin, but it may not be as commonly known that regular physical fitness can help reduce the risks of developing the disease. Joining a gym or taking up some other physical sport can help your body avoid developing diabetes by enhancing its ability to process insulin, which regulates glucose in the body.
Improve Your Body’s Immune System
Joining a gym can keep you healthier, especially if you keep up a fitness routine over a long period of time. Research has shown that physically active people have stronger immune systems. In addition to helping them stave off illnesses, it protects against the development of degenerative diseases that are common among people who live more sedentary lives. Even if you’re not getting the recommended 30 minutes of daily vigorous exercise, some exercise can go a long way towards strengthening your immune system.
Keep Your Bones Strong
Joining a fitness center or gym can benefit your bones, as well as your muscles. As we age, we lose about 1% of our bone density per year, which means they become brittle and easily breakable by the time we reach our retirement years. However, regular workouts, particularly strenuous weightlifting, helps to build bone strength and protect against bone loss. Resistance training is vital to keeping your bones strong and healthy.
These are just a few ways that engaging in an active lifestyle can keep you healthier for longer. As we age, maintaining a healthy physique becomes more important than ever, because a strong body is less susceptible to disease and injury. Before starting any new physical activity, consult your doctor, so you can pursue physical activity safely. Your doctor can offer tips for practicing your chosen activity, so your risk of injury will be minimized.
Christopher is a local author and musician encouraging everyone to get up, get out, and get fit while working with the Charles Schusterman Community and Fitness Center in Tulsa. For your health!