In the age of technology, worldwide there has been a shift towards less physically demanding work, and though the merits of exercising cannot be overestimated, the population percentage involved in regular physical activity is rather low, according to the surveys conducted in the year 2008 (Menoutis, 2008). Only about twenty percent of US population receives the suggested amount of physical activity, while about thirty percent lead a sedentary lifestyle. The population will not reach the appropriate health level without further physical activity participation increase. Numerous surveys have already made the thesis that physical activity has numerous health benefits reducing physical and emotional illnesses a gospel truth. John F. Kennedy once emphasized an issue of paramount importance by stating: “We are under exercised as a nation. We ride instead of walk. Our existence deprives us of the minimum of physical activity essential for healthy living”ť (Kennedy). To cope with sedentary lifestyle consequences, people should realize and comprehend the countless benefits of exercising.
The human organism is a system in which everything is interrelated. Physical activity improves blood circulation, which keeps brain geared and memory sharp, avoiding obesity and leads to psychological comfort and improves self-esteem. Physical fitness eliminates anger, frustration and irritation. One feels more motivated if he is physically healthy. Hence, physical relaxation results in mental one, and as a rule, energetic body leads to resuscitation of mind. Physical well-being is naturally reflective of a positive outlook towards life.
Physical exercise enhances and maintains physical fitness and overall health. It is performed for such reasons as muscles and cardiovascular system strengthening, athletic skills development, weight loss or maintenance and pleasure. Regular exercise boosts immune system, prevents various diseases as well as improves mental health. Different types of exercise are singled out, such as flexibility exercises, aerobics exercises and anaerobic exercises. Some classify them the following way: aerobic exercises, anaerobic exercise, strength training and agility training. Exercises may be also subdivided into: range-of-motion or stretching exercises, endurance or conditioning exercises, strengthening or conditioning exercises and strengthening exercises. Numerous experiments and surveys have already proved the efficiency of exercises, their benefits from preventing chronic health conditions to boosting confidence and self-concept are quite impossible to ignore.
It is expedient to consider physical merits of exercising first. According to the article Benefits of Exercise by Kathleen Zelman, research has established that any amount of exercise is advantageous at any age, therefore, the National Academy of Sciences has recommended that everybody should strive for an hour of exercise per day (Zelman, 2004). Moreover, exercise improves cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance which leads to extra energy supply; it considerably reduces the risk of coronary artery disease and assists in lowering blood pressure as well as cholesterol levels, in controlling weight and improving mood and sense of well-being.
Exercise is estimated to combat chronical diseases, it boosts high-density lipoprotein which keeps blood flowing smoothly by lowering the buildup of plaques in arteries. It also helps to cope with osteoporosis and is even supposed to prevent certain types of cancer. According to the surveys and those conducted among geriatric women inclusively, exercise does good to heart and lungs. According to the data of the survey of the year 2001 which studied geriatric women, regular physical activity has been shown to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and all-cause mortality. Generally, exercise drives oxygen and nutrients to tissues and assists in well-coordinated functioning of the entire cardiovascular system. Exercise strengthens the heart muscle and reduces the risk of stroke, heart disease and high blood pressure (Zelman, 2004).Â What is more, it helps in combating type two diabetes, which has increasingly alarming rates. So, as physical activity enhances weight loss and prevents this condition, it can increase insulin sensitivity and improve blood sugar lowering the pressure and is conductive to improving the important indicators for people with diabetes (Zelman, 2004).
It naturally helps in weight control and may prevent obesity and obese preconditions. In a combination with healthy diet, physical activity reduces body fat and increases muscle mass by improving the body’s ability to burn calories. Hence, it is sustainable that lowering body’s mass index leads to reducing dying early risk.
Definite walking programs are worked out in order to provide people with maintaining normal weight. The benefits of walking programs include weight loss as a primary one, muscle strengthening and definition, bones strengthening, heart rate lowering. In addition, exercise boosts blood flow to the brain and helps it receive oxygen and nutrients. Physical workout stimulates a part of the brain to release endorphins which can work as pain-relievers and enhancers of well-being. Long-term exercising increases growth factors that assist in creating new nerve cells and promote synaptic plasticity. It generally helps in generating chemicals in the brain that help cognition, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. Fitness programs promote muscle strengthening and flexibility, reduce back pain and make bone and joint formation stronger preventing osteoporosis and other related diseases. Â Regular exercises improve the immune system and boosting the circulation, they make the delivery of nutrients to skin better and help to remove toxins.
Considering benefits for mental or emotional well-being, it is not out of place to mention that multiple studies show the influence of physical activity on mood, anxiety and depression. Notably, people diagnosed with major depression undergoing exercise intervention indicated considerable improvements in depression in comparison to those treated with psychopathic methods. Evidently, consistent physical activity may prevent the arising depression.
According to the article on The Influence of Exercise on Mental Health, the research conducted indicates that the antidepressant effect of exercise starts as early as the first session of exercise and persists beyond the end of the program. The effects are also consistent across age, gender and type of depression (Landers, 2003). Contemporary research also emphasizes the positive influence of yogic practices on psychological parameters of people suffering from anxiety and depression. As exercise is found to trigger the release of hormones norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine, already mentioned above, it helps improve mood and positively influence self-concept and self-esteem (Landers, 2003).
Moreover, it reduces levels of cortisol which is a stress hormone causing both mental and physical problems. Exercise is also related to producing more restful sleep and assisting people in recovery from various psychological stressors (Landers, 2003). Consequently, good sleep improves concentration, productivity and mood. Regular training can help people fall asleep faster and deeper as well as doing good to sex life and eliminating problems with sex dysfunction.
It is recommended that exercise should be enjoyable in order to avoid drop outs and return to usual sedentary way of life. Exercising should bring fun and inspiration, be systematic and moderate. Being a stressor to an organism exercise should be taken seriously and a person should be given adequate nutrition, sufficient rest and hydration to avoid overtraining. It stands to reason that not everyone benefits equally from exercise, one should choose a program individually according to age and health parameters.