We’ve all heard the popular saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But today I have something more interesting to say to you: “Show me a man that exercises regularly and I will show you a man that does not need to see his doctor often.”
This is not a hyped statement at all guys; it’s actually very realistic.
If today’s generation of people wants to live healthy and live long, then they must be that generation that embraces exercise as a regular routine.
Some of you might say to yourself: “Now that’s a very audacious statement you just said there Wills!”
Well, do you want to know why I said so? Just hang on.
Now am sure some of you are probably also saying to yourself:
“Hey Wills, chill right there! I am the boss when it comes to exercise. I am a very busy person, always active at work, at home and at church, hehe, so let’s not even go there bro”.
This is why I want to quickly differentiate between exercise and physical activity.
Physical activity is any bodily movement that requires the musculo-skeletal (muscles and skeleton) system to do some form of work which increases the work load of the cardio respiratory system (heart and lungs). While exercise is the planned, measured and repeated physical activity.
Ahaaa! So you see that in as much as your daily routine may fall under physical activity, it might not be exercise after all.
This is because an exercise routine must be planned, measured and repeated.
So let’s get into the benefits of exercise and later on look at the best exercise routine for each age bracket as well as for certain disease conditions.
- Heart diseases:
Exercising daily reduces your risk of developing serious health disorders like heart diseases among others. The more common heart diseases include: cardiac failure (myocardial infarction), heart valve diseases, coronary artery diseases, etc
I totally understand if you don’t know these diseases by their names. But just know that they are extremely bad guys (the kind that can kill) as long as an individual’s health is concerned.
The explanation is simple: when you exercise regularly, your heart capacity to do work (pump blood around the body) is increased. This therefore reduces the tendency of your heart to do too much work when pumping blood because one pump action from your heart would distribute the blood to a considerably long distance in the body.
This also keeps your heart valves and major vessels active such that heart diseases are kept very far away.
- Body weight loss:
This one might be more popular among our sisters and let me quickly say this: In as much as I am an advocate for loving yourself the way you are (self love) as well as self acceptance, I am not cancelling the fact that there is always room for self development once an individual deems it important. I can’t also deny the fact that some people out there strongly believe that they need to lose weight as fast as possible.
So let’s get into it.
There are two main ways of achieving weight loss:
Now the gist for dieting is story for another day but for today we would be talking about exercise. However, always remember that they go hand in hand.
Exercise has proven to be a very effective and fast way of achieving weight loss in the shortest possible time when done with adequate dieting.
This is because, when you exercise, your body breaks down and utilizes the available food nutrients faster. This places more demand on the body to provide energy for work and when this energy is not available, the body has no other choice than to burn the excess body fat; converting them to energy. That way, you lose weight.
- Mental health:
Did you know that exercise triggers the release of endorphines – the hormones that gives you the good feeling you normally get when given a brand new gift?
But wait a sec, let’s be realistic, it is true that you won’t get the endorphine surge in such amounts as when your boy friend just proposed to you. But yes, you get a release of a reasonable amount of those feel-good hormones.
Exercise has also proven to improve the mental capacity of individuals who engage in it regularly.
For example, if you’ve been on a math problem for hours without a head way, kindly close those books, get on your sports kit, go to the field, gym or any other place of exercise, then come back to that problem. You’ll be amazed at how easier that math problem would have become after the exercise.
These are just some of the benefits of exercise there are. But trust me, there’s a whole lot more of benefits to be unveiled in the world of exercise that you don’t want to miss out on!
In the next part of this article, I will share the other superb benefits of exercise and introduce you to the best exercise routine that is just best for you.
But until then, stay fit!
A final year medical student at the University of Nigeria. A fitness coach and a music director.