The benefits of physical exercise for adults are many and varied. Studies show that an active lifestyle is essential for maintaining good health. Rollo, (2007) list some benefits which include reduced risk of heart disease, weight loss, improved self image, relief from anxiety and depression. This essay will address these physiological and psychological benefits of physical exercise. Heart health Physical exercise is one of the best protective measures against heart disease (Bird & Reynolds, 2002).
Physical activity strengthens the heart muscle and increases the blood supply to the heart; this in turn lowers blood pressure, increases good HDL cholesterol, decreases LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and reduces the chance of forming abnormal blood clots which can cause angina and heart attacks (Weil, 2004). Further more, a healthy heart supplies the needed oxygen to all other body organs enabling them to work more efficiently, promoting a positive spiral effect of health benefits. Weight control
A regime of regular physical exercise can improve the whole body considerably, helping to lose weight or maintain an already healthy weight (Bird & Reynolds, 2002). Extensive studies have shown that exercise burns calories, promotes fat loss and builds muscle. This in turn increases the body’s metabolic rate. Simply put, the fitter a person is the more muscle is built and more calories are burnt (Bird & Reynolds, 2002). According to Phillip and Jacky Mills (2007) physical exercise combined with a strength component helps to regulate appetite and is one of the fastest ways to lose weight and look terrifically taut and trim.
Self image Feeling good is very important and studies show that regular physical exercise can decrease stress and tension while boosting self esteem, making a person feel more confident (Bird & Reynolds, 2002). Exercise stimulates the brain which releases endorphins that act on the nervous system to reduce pain and raise mood (Bird & Reynolds, 2002). People who exercise frequently are more likely to develop an enhanced self image. Anxiety and Depression Recent research has shown that physical exercise can help relieve anxieties which can lead to depression.
A study conducted at the University of Texas reported that depressed patients who exercised regularly felt more energetic and had a greater sense of psychological wellbeing. The article went on further to say that exercise distracts people from everyday anxieties lessoning the feelings of isolation and powerlessness (Mills, P, & J, 2007). A 2005 report from Duke University, North Carolina reported that some leading antidepressants were outperformed in easing symptoms of moderate to severe depression in young adults simply by performing ten minutes of physical exercise.
Neuropinephrine and serotonin levels are raised slightly during physical activity which may contribute to a feeling of euphoria (Mills, P, & J, 2007). It is evident that physical exercise plays an important role in promoting good health. A person who engages in regular physical activities protects themselves from illnesses and diseases associated with inactivity. Physical exercise reduces anxiety, improves self esteem and can have immediate positive effects on people who suffer from depression, enabling them to have a greater sense of control over their lives.
There are a myriad of both physiological and psychological benefits to be gained from physical exercise. References: Bird, W. , & Reynolds, V. (2002) Walking for Health. United Kingdom: Carrol and Brown Limited. Mills, P. , & Mills, J. (2007) Fighting globesity. Auckland, New Zealand: Random House NZ. Rollo, I. (2004). Understanding the role of exercise in health promotion. Nursing Times, 100(37), 36-38. Weil, A. (2004). Natural health, Natural Medicine. United States of America: Houghton Mifflin Company.