Exercise Health Benefits, Types, History, Importance, Health Effects, Precautions, Body Preparation, Related Other Things and FAQ
What is Exercise?
‘Exercise’ is a well-known term related to fitness. Exercise mainly refers to the physical activities to stay healthy. How intense this activity is and how regularly it should be done will depend on your goal of desired fitness.
People generally practice exercise for factors such as weight loss, maintaining good body structure, trying to cure diseases, efforts to find peace of mind or increase any physical capacity.
Health Benefits of Doing Exercise
In ancient times exercises and yoga was a part of regular routine in Indian lifestyle, as it was believed to be one of the most effective ways to keep diseases at bay and stay healthy. While science and technology has made great strides today, other natural processes like exercise do not lose popularity to keep the body healthy. Rather, ayurvedic treatment and relevant exercises have gained more expansion worldwide.
Today there are many innovative forms of exercise. The following article covers a detailed discussion on the health benefits of exercise for the body and their effects in various physical conditions.
Types of Exercise and their Health Importance
There are generally 4 types of exercise conditions known to be:
- Endurance Exercise,
- Strength Exercise,
- Balance Exercise and
- Flexibility Exercise.
Often called Aerobic, increases your breathing and heart rate. These activities help you stay healthy, improve your fitness, and help you perform the tasks you need to do every day. Endurance exercises improve your heart, lung and circulatory health. They can delay or prevent many diseases common in older adults such as diabetes, colon and breast cancer, heart disease and others. This may include-
- Fast walking or jogging
- Garden work (grass cutting, ranking)
- Climbing stairs or hills
- Playing tennis or basketball etc.
- To warm and cool the body, do a little activity before and after the exercise, such as walking, stretching, etc.
- Stop the exercise immediately if it causes you to feel dizziness, chest pain or stress, heartburn, etc.
- Make sure to drink enough water as you will sweat during the exercise and your body will need constant water consumption to stay hydrated. If you are medically instructed with liquid intake then consult with your doctor about it.
- Choose your place of exercise wisely. Make sure about its safety and do not push yourself too much and overdo it.
With age our muscle mass decreases and this results in weakness. Strength building exercises can help you with this. Strong muscles will provide you physical strength as well as bone development, decreased blood sugar levels, controlled weight and improved posture and reduces back and joint pain. You can also take help from a physical therapist.
Strength exercises may include-
- Weight lifting
- Physical effort in daily activities
- Overhead arm curls
- Arm curls
- Wall push-up
- Body weight lifting
- Using a resistance band etc.
- Do not stop breathing for long periods of time during strength exercise and. Breath naturally.
- Breathe in as soon as you lift or push the weight, and breathe as you relax.
- If you are not sure of doing any specific exercise then consult your doctor.
Balance exercises are done to ensure body stability on your feet. Imbalance scares you and risk injury. This problem becomes serious with aging when the system that balances our body (including vision, inner ear, leg muscles and joints) becomes weak.
Balance exercises include-
- Tai Chi – A ‘dynamic meditation’ where the body is moved slowly and properly as you breathe deeply.
- Standing on one foot.
- Heel to toe walk.
- Balance walk.
- Standing from a seated position.
- If you feel restless then there should be a strong chair or person to hold.
- If you are not sure about any specific exercise then consult with an expert first.
Stretching exercise can improve your flexibility and helps maintain a good health. We often ignore it when our muscles are healthy. But with age, the flexibility of muscles and arteries decreases. Muscles shorten and do not work properly. It increases the risk of muscle contractions and pain, muscle damage, stress, joint pain, and falling, and it also makes daily activities difficult.
Similarly, stretching muscles regularly makes them longer and more flexible, which increases your motion range and reduces the risk of pain and injury.
Flexibility exercises include-
- Back stretching
- Inner thigh stretching
- Ankle stretching
- Back of leg stretching.
- Do stretching when muscles are hot.
- Stretch after the endurance or strength exercise.
- Never stretch too much so that it causes pain.
- Breathe normally while stretching muscles.
- If you are not sure about any specific exercise then discuss with an expert.
How can you prepare yourself for Exercise?
Exercises are a process where the body is pushed beyond its comfort zone but in a healthy way. So before exercise it is important to make sure your body reacts positively to the stress you put on. Only then will you be able to gain the benefits of your exercises. The process and schedule of exercising is not the same for everyone. Here are some common ways that you can follow before or immediately after exercise.
What to do before exercise?
- Take plenty of Sleep
Take at least 7 hours of sleep a day. After exercising the body takes time to heal itself from stress and sleep is the best way to do so. Resting well not only gives you strength, it also keeps your appetite hormones under control and helps you continue in your fitness routine.
- Stay hydrated
Consuming enough water or any nutritious liquid is beneficial for your health, and your body also needs a lot of water when you sweat it out through exercise. Staying hydrated will ensure energy levels in your body’s appropriate location.
The need for proper water varies from person to person. If your urine color has darkened, it may mean that you are not hydrated enough and need to consume more water than you are drinking.
- Nutritious food
If you feel hungry then do not go without eating. You can eat a small portion of nutritious food (such as fruit, boiled eggs or a piece of toast) before exercising. Fasting too much before exercising can lead to fainting.
- Proper Clothes
It is more about being able to move, jump, run, stretch and pose in certain positions than just your activity or your mobility and flexibility. It is necessary to put on the right clothes for that. You may not need a particular outfit for gentle exercise (e.g. yoga), but it is advisable to hold a body-supporting clothes for running, jumping, stretching, etc. Otherwise you may feel more tired or uncomfortable between exercises that can hinder your fitness routine.
- Work in a dynamic warm-up
Skipping body warm-ups is harmful to the body. Warm-up sits aimed at giving your body the opportunity to increase its temperature, increase the speed range, and prepare yourself for the exercise you take to do so. Warm-ups will reduce your chances of injury when shifting directly from rest to hard work.
What to do after exercise?
- Stretch Out
Stretching can also be beneficial for the dynamics and motion range of the joint. This is the opposite of the stretch you do in warm-ups. After exercise, you should hold your stretches for at least 15 seconds.
- Foam Rolling
According to expert’s opinion, foam rolling can help you recover from exercise stress as well as increase your speed range. Experts also recommend this as a way to reduce post-workout pain, which it does by increasing blood flow to the tissues you use while exercising.
- Post-exercise Nutrition
It is essential to give your body the necessary fuel to recover after a hard workout. After a hard workout, your body wants carbohydrates and proteins to help fill the glycogen stores and rebuild muscles gradually, so it is important to provide your body with the necessary nutrients to recover in time.
- Regular Exercise
Regular exercise schedules can be difficult to follow but it will boost your skills towards exercise and strengthens the muscles. Try to maintain the same schedule of exercise.
- Cold Bath
Bathing with cold water after exercise will help you recover quickly from muscle stress or prevent post-workout pain. But do not bathe after exercise. Bathe only after the body temperature lowers by its own.
Also Read: Vital Importance of Vitamin B for Human Body
The information provided in the above article about health benefits of Exercise are based on reliable sources but not intended to replace an expert’s advice. Remember, exercises can be difficult sometimes. Please take help of physical therapist or any fitness expert if you are a beginner. Otherwise, you may end up hurting yourself.
Also Read: Exercise Benefits (Assamese)
1) Does muscle weigh more than fat?
A- No, the point is – the muscles are thicker than fat and take less space in the body. In fact, scientists estimate that muscle occupies about 22% less space than its same amount of fat.
2) Is weight loss the main goal of exercise and fitness?
A- No, it is true that many people exercise to lose weight, but weight loss is certainly not the only benefit of exercising and therefore should not be the main goal. If you have started a fitness program, losing weight should not be your only goal. Rather, try exercise only to feel better or get more energy.
3) Does excess sweat burn more fat?
A- No, Cedric Bryant, chief exercise physiologist at American Council on Exercise, says that the amount of your sweat refers to your body’s efforts and ability to maintain its normal temperature. When your body starts to store heat it sweats so you can experience your cooling through that sweat evaporation. So how much energy or calories you’ve spent is not related to sweating.
4) Do active people need extra protein or protein supplements to build muscle?
A- No, muscles develop from training and exercise. The excess protein intake through food or protein supplements does not help in muscle growth. A certain amount of protein is needed to help build muscles, but a nutritious, balanced diet (which includes about 200 grams of milk consumption from meat/bean/egg groups and 2-3 times a day) can supply all the protein that muscles need.
5) Are crunches and sit-ups the best way to reduce belly fat?
A- No, these can’t reduce your belly fat, but they can give you a nice build up of abdominal muscles. Only the entire body toning exercises can help reduce those extra fats on your belly.