The Power of Exercise

I know the saying is, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away…” BUT, can we also adapt the saying to, “10,000 steps a day keeps the doctor away…”?

I’m mostly joking… But in all seriousness, daily movement is an incredibly powerful component of our health! Especially for us ladies (keep reading, you’ll see what I mean!). It’s no secret that maintaining a physically active lifestyle has its benefits, as well as its challenges. But today, I want to outline three POWERFUL benefits of movement that will have you jumping out of your chair, and into new, healthy routines!

Cardiovascular Health & Exercise

Just like we have to exercise our muscles to keep them healthy and strong, we have to exercise our cardiovascular system to keep our heart working as it should! The cardiovascular system is responsible for keeping our heart pumping, and circulating blood to all the tissues in our body.  When cardiovascular health suffers, it can put you at risk for high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, and more. 

Exercise is one key component of keeping the cardiovascular system strong and healthy. In fact, exercise has been shown to significantly help with high blood pressure, improving unhealthy cholesterol levels, improving the body’s ability to respond to insulin, and improving weight status. [1] All of these factors – unhealthy blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, and poor insulin response – can play a role in the development of cardiovascular diseases. 

Studies show that it’s important to aim for getting 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. Additionally, it doesn’t quite end there. In addition to getting 30 minutes of exercise a day, it’s important to limit the time you spend sedentary! While you don’t need to be breaking a sweat all day, here are some ways that you can reduce the amount of sedentary time you spend on a daily basis:

  • Take the stairs over the elevator/escalator
  • Park farther away in the parking lot 
  • Take a 2 minute break every hour at work to stand up and move around
  • Stretch while watching television at the end of the day
  • Invest in a standing desk or medicine ball for your workspace
  • Go for a walk after dinner

While exercise is important for our physical health, it also can have a significant impact on our energy levels and mood!

Energy & Mood

Don’t you just feel so good after a workout? I know that I do! It’s no coincidence that many of us feel better after we’ve worked out. Physical activity can have a pretty big impact on mental health and energy levels!

When we exercise, our body releases hormones called endorphins. Endorphins can produce a positive, happy feeling (sometimes known as the ‘runner’s high’) which is part of the reason why we may feel really good after a workout. Exercise can also decrease hormones that are attributed to stress, such as adrenaline and cortisol. [2] So, after one of those days, exercise might be exactly what you need to take a little bit of the edge away.

It’s also important to note that there have been several studies that have shown an important relationship between exercise and mental health, including depression. In a large study completed in 2019, researchers found that odds of depression were reduced by 26% with major increases in physical activity. [3] In another study, it was shown that just a single session of physical activity could be helpful in reducing both anxiety and depression. [4]

Additionally, exercise can help improve energy levels, in a couple different ways. Let’s break it down:

  1. Exercise can stimulate your body to produce more mitochondria, the cellular organ that produces energy. This means that more mitochondria may result in more energy for you to use on a daily basis! [5]
  2. Exercise helps improve your cardiovascular circulation. Because the goal of our cardiovascular system is to circulate oxygen to our cells, better circulation means that we are able to do this more efficiently, which we may experience as feeling more energetic! [5]
  3. Exercise can help us sleep better. Better sleep = a more rested and more energetic you! [5]

For a little boost in mood and energy, exercise might be exactly what you need. Let’s now explore another important benefit of exercise – bone health!

Bone Health

Maintaining healthy bone mass is essential. While we don’t usually experience many issues with bones until later in life, we lay the groundwork for our skeletal system much earlier! Women and men reach peak bone mass around the age of 18 and 20, respectively. [3] We may still continue to build bone density until the late 20s and early 30s, but after then, it tends to level off.

That is, until we get a bit older. For men, bone density may not be an issue until their late 60s or early 70s. However, for women, bone density can be significantly impacted once menopause hits. While this is a natural part of aging, it’s important to take measures to prevent accelerated bone loss and osteoporosis (weakened, porous bones). The good news is that there are plenty of ways to optimize your bone density, and to delay or prevent serious bone loss. Can you guess what I’m going to say next?

If you guessed that I was going to say, “Movement for strong bones!” – you’d be correct! Regular exercise is a great way to build and maintain bone density. Specifically, you want to target weight-bearing movements, like running, jogging, jumping, and stepping. Resistance training, or training to help build muscle, can also be effective in promoting healthy bones. While other exercises, like swimming or biking, have other great health benefits, these do not help with bone density quite as much. 

Of course, it also doesn’t hurt to make sure you have the nutrition you need to keep your bones healthy. Remember, collagen is an essential part of the structure that makes up our body, like our skin, joints, and yes, bones.  Try Complete Collagen+ risk free for 180 days with our money back guarantee!

Citations

  1. Myers, Jonathan. “Exercise and Cardiovascular Health.” Circulation, vol. 107, no. 1, 2003, https://doi.org/10.1161/01.cir.0000048890.59383.8d. 
  2. “Exercising to Relax – Harvard Health Publishing.” Harvard Health, 7 July 2020, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax. 
  3. “More Evidence That Exercise Can Boost Mood.” Harvard Health, 1 May 2019, https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/more-evidence-that-exercise-can-boost-mood. 
  4. Guszkowska, Monika. “Wpływ ćwiczeń fizycznych na poziom leku i depresji oraz stany nastroju” [Effects of exercise on anxiety, depression and mood]. Psychiatria polska vol. 38,4 (2004): 611-20.
  5. Toni Golen, MD, and MD Hope Ricciotti. “Does Exercise Really Boost Energy Levels?” Harvard Health, 1 July 2021, https://www.health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/does-exercise-really-boost-energy-levels. 
  6. “Osteoporosis: Peak Bone Mass in Women.” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/bone-mass.

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