The Incredible, Life-Changing Effects of Regular Exercise

The benefits of exercise aren’t a secret. From losing weight to lowering blood pressure and reducing stress, the positive effects of working out are often touted. But what many people don’t realize is how much of an impact exercise can have in our lives. With just 20-30 minutes of exercise each day, you can improve your mental health, physical strength, and increase your energy. Not only will exercise positively affect almost every aspect of your life, but it’ll also make you feel great! If you’re looking to start exercising more or would like to get back into it after a break from it, keep reading for some great tips on how you can reap the benefits of exercise. These incredible benefits of regular exercise will help you see exactly why working out is so beneficial for you!

Today we are in part reporting the results of a huge meta-analysis on the effects exercise had on people’s energy levels, fatigue, and ‘vitality’ – which is a subjective perception of ones own energy and fatigue.

The meta-analysis included 81 separate trials, all of which were randomised controlled trials, and in total included over 7000 participants. All studies had at least 2 bouts of exercise per week, and the control groups varied in that some were sedentary, some did low level stretching etc.

Overall the analysis shows that across all these, we can expect a small increase in energy, small to moderate decreases in fatigue and moderate increases in overall vitality. Most importantly, the results showed a better overall effect than either medications or cognitive-behavioural-therapy.

Additionally, they found that the following seemed to have greater effects on these results

  • Higher exercise intensities (for all outcomes)
  • A combination of resistance and aerobic exercises (for energy and vitality)
  • Longer durations of total exercise time and intervention period (for fatigue)

It almost feels counter-intuitive to say that exercise can reduce fatigue, but this is what was found. Overall this may be connected to better hormonal regulation, and strenuous exercise leading to better sleep quality and length.

Separate from this study, but looking at the other effects of exercise from other studies we can also see the following effects.

Lower your risk of heart attack and stroke

Heart attack and stroke are both incredibly dangerous conditions that can occur in anyone, at any time. While many risk factors can increase your chances of having one of these two medical issues, exercise is one that can significantly reduce your risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that adults aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise per week. Regular exercise can reduce your risk of heart attack by up to 40% and reduce your risk of stroke by up to 50%. Exercise will also help lower your resting heart rate and blood pressure which can further reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Reduce chronic pain and stiffness

Exercise can help relieve both short-term and chronic pain. Whether you suffer from back pain, arthritis pain, or if you’ve just pulled a muscle, exercise can help relieve some of your pain. Exercise can help reduce chronic pain by moderating our bodies’ natural responses to it. Our bodies produce chemicals like endorphins when we exercise, which can help relieve pain. Exercising can also help reduce stiffness if you’re experiencing arthritis. That’s because it increases blood flow to your joints and increases your range of motion.

Help you breathe easier

Many people who suffer from asthma find that their symptoms are worse when they’re stressed out. Some studies have found that exercising can lower stress, which can in turn, help your asthma. Exercising regularly can help improve your lung function and your endurance, which can help you breathe easier if you have asthma. Exercise can also help prevent asthma attacks by reducing allergies and air pollution, as well as stress.

Provide a sense of well-being and happiness

Exercise is often recommended by doctors for helping people who are going through depression or anxiety. That’s because exercise releases endorphins which can make you feel happier. Exercise can also help improve your self-confidence, boost your mood, and improve your general health. Exercising regularly can increase serotonin in the brain, which is linked to feelings of happiness. Regular exercise can also help you sleep better, which can improve your mood and help prevent depression. Exercise can also help you develop a better social life and make you more confident.

Conclusion

Of course the one that is missing from this list if the effect on weight loss. When we talk to people in the lab, we ensure that there is a sufficient amount of overall activity in a person’s life to ensure that we can elicit some weight loss, if that’s the aim, but oddly, beyond that point we seek to mostly control the actual journey of weight loss through caloric restriction. We aren’t saying that exercise has no effect, but because it’s effects aren’t fully understood, we’ve decided to stick to what the science is clear on. We do encourage exercise, for all the reasons shown above and more, but we don’t encourage people to count their calorie burn from exercise as a direct indication of fat that is lost. For this reason our exercise focus for people seeking to improve their composition is to ensure that weight training is included so that muscle mass can be somewhat preserved in a caloric deficit.

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