Updated: Jun 25, 2021
The benefits of exercise are nearly endless.
It's no secret that exercise has numerous health benefits. From physical benefits, to mental benefits, to social benefits, exercise is extremely important for our overall wellbeing. As a matter of fact, most health professionals would consider exercise to be like a preventative form of medicine. However, there are many health benefits that most people don't know about. I was surprised when I came across some of these, and I think you will find them interesting too! Without further ado, here are 5 benefits to exercise that you probably didn't know about.
1. Exercise can help prevent neurodegenerative diseases
As I mentioned in the introduction to this post, exercise is often considered as a form of preventative medicine. Researchers have shown that aerobic exercise promotes autophagy, which is the body's way of removing damaged cells. Exercise can lead an increase in plasticity of the brain, and to the removal of cellular debris and deranged proteins that are often implicated in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.
2. Exercise can help us produce a healthier new generation
Some research shows that exercise can alter global and genome-wide DNA methylation of male sperm. This basically means that the way our genes are expressed in our DNA can be changed by exercise. Methylation is essentially when a gene is "turned off," or not expressed in DNA. One study showed that after only 3 months of exercise, methylation increased among genes that are linked with schizophrenia and Parkinson's Disease.
3. Are you a musician? You should exercise!
There is some evidence suggesting that musicians who participate in regular physical activity are less likely to have performance anxiety than those who do not. This data was collected from 87 college-age musicians who's physical activity habits were measured with a survey. Although the evidence is not as abundant for this benefit, you might want to be physically active regardless of whether or not you have a piano recital coming up.
4. If you don't use it, you'll lose it!
Did you know, that you can lose up to 3-5% of your muscle every decade after your 30th birthday? This loss in muscle mass can lead to functional disability, increased probability of falls, and a poorer quality of life. Resistance training and regular physical activity at least 2-3 days per week can help combat that decline. Although we haven't found the fountain of youth, exercise sure can help reverse some aging effects!
5. The key to happiness?
I'm sure you've heard that exercise can lead to enhanced mood, but what about long-term happiness? Sure enough there is data that draws connections between lifelong happiness and regular physical activity. In a world where everyone wants to live a happy life, you might as well take the path that has data to support that it leads to happiness - regular exercise!
As if you already didn't need more reasons to be physically active, I hope that you see why exercise can be so great. Exercise doesn't have to be a grueling, strenuous, and unenjoyable experience. There's a type of exercise out there for everyone! If you're interested in beginning your fitness journey, there's no better time to get started now!