Benefits of Exercise: Not Just Looking Great in Skinny Jeans!

Benefits of Exercise

Exercise increases the strength of both the heart and skeletal muscle and increases blood flow throughout the entire body. It also helps the body reduce fat, excess estrogen, and insulin.

The result of these actions helps prevent heart disease, stroke, dementia, obesity, osteoporosis and improves mental and sexual health.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke prevention

Every year more women die of CVD than any cancer. CVD is the leading cause of death in both women and men. Risk factors such as:

  • High Blood Pressure. The number of women with increased blood pressure starts around age 55 and by 65, more women than men have high blood pressure. As we age our blood vessels become stiffer and create more pressure as the blood passes through. The constant increase in pressure in the blood vessels causes damage to the internal walls and creates an environment for plaque to build. The plaque causes narrowing of the vessels and potential blockage of blood flow to the tissues. The ultimate result is tissue damage.
  • Diabetes (including gestational diabetes as there is a 50% chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life).
  • Obesity. Extra fat in the abdomen (waist size of 35 inches or more for women) increases the risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and CVD to a greater extent than extra fat in the hips and thighs.
  • Elevated cholesterol/triglycerides. Causes inflammation in the blood vessels and thus promotes development of plaque.
  • Pregnancy Health Risks. Issues such as gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension, Pre-Eclampsia, Polycystic ovarian disorder (maybe associated with prediabetes and or obesity)

    *Exercise can lower your blood pressure, increase your good cholesterol and lower your bad cholesterol, decrease insulin levels, decrease inflammation and plaque within your blood vessels. All of this can reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Reduce dementia risk

Exercise can boost mind function and energy. This is especially so in elderly patients. Exercise like dancing requires learning skills like memory and concentration. This can be important for those who are at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Increase muscle mass and metabolism

When you exercise more, your body burns off calories quicker. Your body gets used to this calorie burn and will naturally increase your metabolism alongside, giving you an added weight loss boost.

Plus, with increased exercise comes increased muscle mass and tone!

Reduce stress and anxiety

Aerobic and mind body exercise has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

Osteoporosis prevention

Weight bearing exercise like walking, lifting weights, running, etc., can help build healthy bone and prevent bone fractures with falls. Also balance exercise, like Tai Chi can help with fall prevention and the shifting movements may also help with bone strengthening.

This is especially important for women 64 and older. Bone fracture related to osteoporosis can be a cause of death. It is important to start prevention early, as our bone density starts to decline after 35 and accelerates during menopause.

Improved sexual health

Exercise does not only increases blood flow to the brain and heart but to the entire body, including the vagina. It has been shown that mind body exercises strengthen the abdominal core muscles and relaxes and opens the hips. Kegel exercises can help strengthen the vaginal muscles. All of the above can help enhance orgasms.

Reduced cancer risk

Recent studies show that weight loss reduces not only breast, colon, and endometrial cancer but also esophageal, liver, stomach, kidney cancers, multiple myeloma, and myeloid leukemia.

Balanced hormones

Exercise helps bring key hormones into balance, such as cortisol, insulin, thyroid, and sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone.

How to get started exercising

It is recommended to exercise at least 150-300 min/week of moderately intense exercise like walking, dancing, jogging, strength training, swimming, etc. You can do 30 minutes 5 days a week and break up the exercise in 10 minutes increments throughout your days.

If you enjoy more vigorous, high-intensity work outs then 75-150 min/week is recommended. Do something you like and try to change it up every 6- 8 weeks to help keep you motivated!

For more personal advice, schedule and appointment with WCJC today and to discuss improving your overall health and wellness. Contact our office at 913-491-4020.