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Fitness and the Benefits of Exercise

Being fit seems to be the latest craze nowadays, from gyms popping everywhere to fitness apps slowly creeping into our smart devices.

As a result of this, people are really becoming aware of the benefits of fitness and this is good news as it translates to a healthier and vibrant community.

The benefits of keeping fit cannot be understated, especially in today’s world where the rise of lifestyle diseases is becoming a real challenge.

So what is fitness? Well, in general terms, it’s the state of being physically healthy and strong. For that reason, fitness is not merely a result of one thing but the combination of different factors working together.

Two of the most vital components of fitness are exercise (physical activity) and proper nutrition. You can’t really talk about exercise without mentioning nutrition because most people are not fit because of their diets.

However, fitness generally focuses on the exercise (physical activity) part and that’s what we’ll be focusing on.

Benefits of Exercising

Picture of a man stretching in a gym.

Being physically active has many health benefits and is essential for good health throughout one’s life. For that reason, exercise is not merely for adults but also children.

The earlier children learn the importance of exercise, the easier it is for them to keep up with it later in life and also to pass it on to their children. And when we say children, we actually mean from toddlers right up to teenagers.

Some of the benefits of exercising include:

  • Reduces the risk of chronic diseases – regular physical activity reduces one’s risk of diseases like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and some types of cancer.
  • Prevents cardiovascular diseases – physical activity reduces cholesterol in the body, which in turn reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
  • Weight Control – regular exercise will not only help you lose weight, but also maintain a healthy weight when combined with a proper diet. Maintaining an ideal weight will further reduce your risk of developing common lifestyle diseases.
  • Metabolic fitness – physical exercise improves one’s metabolic fitness by delivering more oxygen to the tissues for efficient metabolic reaction to burn calories.
  • Healthy heart and lungs – physical exercise improves the function of the heart and the respiratory system.
  • Develops healthy bones, muscles and joints. It also reduces the risk of osteoporosis in adults.
  • Strengthening of muscles and improving endurance – this increases the ease and performance of one’s daily activities.
  • Flexibility – doing exercise makes one more flexible and even promotes better posture. For older people this is key as it reduces their risk of falls and fractures.
  • Psychological benefits – research has shown that physical activity can boost your self–esteem, mood as well as reduce your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Better sleep quality
  • Improves memory and thinking
  • Sexual health – exercise can increase one’s sex drive. It also increases the production testosterone and energy levels.

Some evidence also suggests that participation in physical activities can have some benefit on academic performance of children at school.

Some exercises to get you started

Now that you’re aware of some of the benefits of exercise, how about you start incorporating them in your life.

As you start, don’t worry yourself sick about buying expensive equipment or paying a gym membership that you can’t afford.

Some of the best exercises are actually with you and the only thing standing in your way is your attitude. To exercise you really have to put your mind to it. Once you do that you can easily turn some of your daily activities or even hobbies that you enjoy into some good exercise routines.

Some of the physical activities you can easily incorporate in your life as you start include:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Running
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Walking or running up a flight of stairs
  • Gardening
  • If you’re short on time you can check out the 7-minute workout, an intense routine that will get you sweating in no time at the comfort of your home.

Once you’ve established something you like, make a habit out of it and stay motivated.

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