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  • Sanjana Mehra

You really should exercise. Here’s why:

Updated: May 21

By: Sanjana Mehra, Contributing Writer

Edited by: Olivia Storti, Editor; Elias Azizi, Editor in Chief


Exercise. There are very few people who are particularly fond of physical activity earning millions in professional sports, so it may seem like there are no real, tangible benefits to engaging in physical activity. However, there is more to exercise than just losing weight. There is more to not going on that bike ride with your friends that you keep postponing because of the “weather”. There is more to those weekly family trekking trips you keep avoiding.


Firstly, with the increased blood flow exercise provides throughout your body and brain, the development and growth of new neurons, blood vessels, and blood cells occur. This is triggered through the protein, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF. This protein is associated with learning, memory, and growth. Hence, an increase in it can only be helpful. Through the increased blood flow in the brain and the increase of BDNF, there is an increase in neurons, focus, memory, and concentration. An obvious benefit is weight loss and a size reduction in your body's fat cells. But how? Your cardiovascular system’s strength and capabilities increase. It becomes more efficient and provides oxygen and therefore is able to metabolize fat rather than carbohydrates as the main energy source. This happens after constant aerobic exercise and training. To strengthen your body's cardiovascular system, most people exercise through frequent and regular jogs, runs, brisk walks, etc.


The next benefit relates to why your face turns red after extensive and intense exercise. As mentioned before, aerobic exercise, where energy is taken from carbohydrates, results in increased blood flow. Since there is increased blood flow, there is increased delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the skin cells around the body. At one point, there is also the possibility of growing and adding new capillaries and blood vessels to the skin. Your skin is bound to look better, fresher, and more energized after exercise. This is often why people suggest a couple of stretches before early morning events. Recent studies have shown that the impacts of exercise on the mind are similar to those of antidepressants. There is a similar increase in serotonin. Mentally, it also decreases the chances of developing dementia, increases cognitive thinking, and allows people to have better concentration, focus, and memory. Many people with type 2 diabetes are also advised to begin a strict and regular exercise routine. When your muscles are more active and working, they become more likely to be receptive to insulin and as a result, there is a more controlled flow of the blood sugar going into an individual's blood cells. While your cholesterol will not go up, an individual's levels of the beneficial and important HDL cholesterol are likely to increase.


So despite knowing the endless list of the physical and mental benefits that come with exercise, why do so many of us still choose to avoid it? Unlike the direct necessities of life like water, food, and oxygen, physical exercise does not show its benefits. While there are clearly countless indirect benefits, most people cannot see this over short periods of time, usually when they expect results. Exercise requires consistent and regular attention, much like watering a plant. You cannot expect it to grow meters by only providing it with water on the first day. Most people see exercise as an option rather than something that is required for long and healthy life. This will not provide any result. Next, many parents have the fear that children might injure themselves if they are playing too much. This is always valid. However, exercise is something that is important to build from day 1.


In conclusion, it's a given that you should be receiving a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day. The immense positive physical and mental impacts exercise can have on a person are worth the time. It reduces the chances of developing many major illnesses that can have life-changing and drastic impacts on a person. These include diabetes, heart and artery blockages, and more. It is vital and although the results are not direct, avoiding exercise can adversely impact you.



Link to cover image: https://api.time.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/getting-back-to-exercise-routine.jpg


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