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Exercise, An Inexpensive Way to Health and Longevity
Ever since ancient times the benefits of regular exercise have been well known and health researchers have long noted that an individual’s exercise level has a major impact on cardiovascular health. These researchers also have long recognized that physical inactivity is the greatest risk factor in the development of coronary artery disease. When a largely sedentary individual makes the choice to become more physically active they greatly decrease their chances of becoming the victim of a heart attack or of cardiovascular disease.
The human immune also derives some positive benefits from regular exercise. Studies have proven that people who regularly practice a moderate exercise program have an almost 30% lower incidence of upper respiratory tract infections. This may be due to the anti-inflammatory effect that exercise has on the human body. There is also positive evidence that physical activity; particularly aerobic exercise reduces the risk of dementia in the elderly. The mechanisms by which these claims may operate by increasing blood flow (and oxygen) to the brain and by the increase of the “happy” brain chemicals; dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine and gluatmate, that are collectively known as ‘endorphins.’
Endorphins released by physical exercise are also instrumental in reducing the depression that can be caused by, as well as suppported by obesity, low self-esteem, anxiety and stress. These chemicals also function as both antidepressants and natural pain relievers. Amazingly, the levels of these helpful endorphins are known to remain elevated in the bloodstream for several days following exercise. Another way that a regular exercise program can help is in alleviating insomnia and increasing good sleep patterns. Regular moderate exercise is certainly a healthier, and much less expensive and dangerous, method of promoting sleep that resorting to medication.
However, exercising inappropriately can be hazardous. Exercising too aggressively for the individual’s current fitness level, failing to get adequate rest between exercise sessions, etc. can cause circulatory programs or strokes, injuries, scarring of heart tissues and heart rhythm abnormalities. One danger of exercising too enthusiastically is the possible overexertion of muscles that can cause muscle damage known as ‘rhabdomyolisis.’ ‘Overtraining,’ where the intensity of training is too great to permit the body to fully recover between training sessions, can cause the breakdown of muscle mass rather than its increase.
Exercise, for all of its benefits, must be approached seriously. When planning an exercise regimen each individual must take into consideration their personal goals and their current fitness level. Consultation with a personal coach or fitness trainer, as well as a thorough physical exam, can be of immense benefit in planning and implementing a regimen appropriate to meeting the goals set without endangering physical health or well-being. In conclusion, best wishes in meeting your fitness goals—exercise is a good thing!!!