Many of us go out of our way to avoid physical fitness activities. We certainly don’t avoid physical fitness because we’re lazy- so many of us dedicate all our physical and mental energy to work and caring for family and friends.
But when it comes time for us to take time out and invest in our physical fitness, we don’t know where to start. We know we can easily get moderate daily exercise by waking up early in the morning before our kids get up for school.
We realize that we could be taking the stairs to our desk job on the building’s fifth floor instead of always taking the elevator.
Yet we simply don’t take the time out of our jam-packed day to engage in some moderate exercise for our physical fitness.
We’ve all been warned by our physicians. Our health, quality of life, and lifespan require us to incorporate physical fitness into our daily lives, no matter how busy our work, family, and social lives.
Yet far too often, we simply become overwhelmed by work and family commitments and don’t exercise even when we have the downtime available.
We don’t understand how and why we should all take the time out of our busy day for physical fitness.
So what exactly is the real reason we don’t take control of our physical fitness? It’s simple. We’re just not entirely educated on what exactly the benefits are.
We wonder to ourselves, are the benefits of physical fitness really worth it, or is physical fitness all just hype?
The reality is that a moderate amount of daily physical exercise is vital for everyone. Physical fitness affects every part of our lives.
Physical fitness plays a leading role in our physical well-being, our appearance, our overall quality of life, and even our longevity.
Put simply, neglecting our physical fitness lowers our quality of life by limiting the range of things we can physically do like walking, lifting groceries, or even shoveling snow.
Worst of all, neglecting to invest in your physical fitness negatively impacts your overall health and shortens your life expectancy by leaving you vulnerable to fitness and weight related chronic health issues.
It takes only 20 or so minutes per day to engage in daily physical fitness. And beginning even a moderate exercise program reaps great benefits for our health and our quality of life.
Maintaining our physical fitness is a commitment that we may not make for ourselves, but for the futures of the people we care for – by taking charge of our health and taking charge of our own body, we gain more energy to power us through our busy lives.
Here are some very important proven physical fitness benefits to motivate you to take the first step on your path to physical health.
The Benefits of Cardio for Our Bodies
Most experts agree on the minimum amount of exercise: about 150 to 300 minutes per week of energetic aerobic exercise (also known as “cardio” exercise for its role in conditioning the cardiovascular system) to burn excess food calories and condition our cardiovascular system.
Aerobic exercises include physic activities like walking briskly, jogging, swimming, or even a friendly game of tennis or basketball.
Anything that keeps you within 55-85% of your maximum heart rate (otherwise known as your MHR) – in other words, gets your heart beating a bit faster for 20 minutes or so – counts as cardio exercise.
Along with a balanced and moderately portioned daily diet, burning more calories than you take in leads to a healthy weight over time.
And as your body mass decreases, so does your health risk for weight-related chronic diseases.
And all of this can be achieved by simply keeping our heart rate up for about 20 minutes per day.
By engaging in physical fitness, we condition our cardiovascular system to take more stress and get more done in our daily life. In other words, physical fitness trains our bodies to work harder and gives us the stamina we need to take charge of our home, work, family and friends.
Many people commit to physical fitness and exercise in order to maintain or achieve their ideal BMI. Our Body Mass Index – also known as our BMI – is just one of the many helpful tools used to calculate a person’s ideal healthy weight based on their height.
For those of us who are dealing with excess weight, exercise – along with a balanced diet can help set us on the path to physical fitness. Many overweight people struggle with chronic health issues such as joint pain, diabetes, and low energy (also known as fatigue).
Every single one of us are aware that aerobic exercise (also known as “cardio” exercise for its effects on the cardiovascular system) burns fat. Along with a properly balanced diet low in unhealthy cholesterols and fats, physical fitness keeps us looking svelte and physically attractive.
Investing in your physical fitness with daily moderate exercise can help us set you on the path to weight reduction and feeling better about your body.
But you may be thinking that you have to incorporate cardio exercise into your life all at once. Many people suffer from the erroneous belief that that if you skip going to the gym for more than one day, you’re back at square one with no hope for success in your physical fitness journey.
But in your journey to fitness, every single action you take counts in the long run. Developing simple habits like taking the stairs into work instead of the elevator add up over time.
Physical fitness can range from standing up and stretching in your office chair every hour or so, to waking up half an hour early for a jog around your block.
Cardio Vs Strength Training
Alongside a balanced diet and cardio exercise, becoming physically stronger through strength training plays an important role in physical fitness.
Training our muscles with resistance or weights – aka strength training – to accept stress actually helps us alongside regular cardio exercise to improve our overall fitness and quality of life.
As we age, we naturally and inevitably lose some of our natural bone density. As we age, loss of bone density leaves us more susceptible to debilitating bone fractures from even the most minor falls. Women are especially prone to this loss of bone density.
Strength training – alongside a balanced diet and cardiovascular exercise – can actually prevent and even reverse loss of bone density due to ageing.
And there are immediate benefits to getting physically stronger. Physical work like unloading the groceries and raking up a pile of fall leaves in the yard becomes easier.
By focusing on strength training as an important part of our physical fitness our body’s core becomes stronger, and physical activities we once found taxing – even something as simple as taking a full garbage can to the curb – become simpler and less of a hassle.
The three major pillars of physical fitness are diet, cardiovascular exercise, and strength. All of these individual components work in unison. Like a well-oiled machine, when our bodies are physically fit, we’re healthier, we can do more with our lives and even live longer.
And the healthier we are, the more of our energy we have left over to share with our friends, family and co-workers. Taking the time-only 20 minutes a day for cardio exercise and strength training – and eating a balanced, healthy diet can prevent and even reverse many of the chronic diseases mentioned in this article and improve our mental well-being as well.
It’s simpler than people think to follow an exercise regimen and get involved in small physical fitness changes like walking instead of driving to the grocery store.
Carrying your heavy grocery bags counts as strength training. Being mindful that you’re eating a balanced diet alongside jogging, running, swimming, or a casual game of tennis will give you many health benefits.
Simply playing with your kids in the yard, or walking your dog, or even walking the long way to work add up to make a huge difference in your physical fitness.
Disease Prevention and Longevity
The benefits of physical fitness extend to disease prevention and overall longevity in many ways.
For one thing, physical fitness conditions our hearts. Performing moderate cardio exercise on a daily basis strengthens our lungs, making it easier and easier to breathe when we exert ourselves physically in our day to day lives.
This gives us the extra push we need to do the physical things that once exhausted us.
Another health benefit of physical fitness – particularly cardio exercise – is that it actually helps our blood vessels to work better – preventing chronic cardiovascular disease.
And for those already suffering the ill health effects of cardiovascular disease, a regimen of mild to moderate exercise can even – alongside a balanced diet – reverse symptoms of cardiovascular disease.
Physical Fitness and Type 2 Diabetes
For people suffering from the symptoms of type 2 diabetes, physical fitness is vital to relieving symptoms of glucose overproduction.
Alongside proper glucose management and a balanced type 2 diabetic meal plan, physical exercise is necessary for staying healthy for life.
For those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, physical exercise gradually and effectively lowers both blood glucose by diverting glucose to your muscles. Physical exercise also lowers insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics.
So by becoming physically active, you will gradually reduce the levels of glucose (also known as “blood sugar”) in your blood to normal and healthy levels.
By maintaining moderate physical activity, you can manage and eventually even permanently reverse chronic symptoms of type 2 diabetes and prevent such related longer-term symptoms as nerve damage, damage to your kidneys, amputation due to nerve damage, and even blocked arteries, which can be a precursor to a heart attack.
For people with type 2 diabetes or those most at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, physical fitness is life-saving.
Physical Fitness and Cholesterol
Daily exercising is even capable of helping to regulate your “good” and “bad” cholesterol levels.
The “bad” kind of cholesterol is called LDL (also known as Low Density lipoprotein). LDL can lead to plaque in your arteries, which can potentially lead to clots forming inside of your arteries. The “good” cholesterol is called HDL (also known as high-density lipoprotein).
Moderate daily physical exercise such as brisk walking can actually lower bad cholesterol and boost good cholesterol over time, leading to a healthier heart.
Physical Fitness and Blood Pressure
Blood pressure and physical fitness are very closely linked. By exercising daily, your heart gets stronger and stronger. When your heart ia strong it more easily pumps the blood, you need without as much effort and stress on your heart.
Because your heart becomes stronger with exercise, it requires less force for a healthy and physically fit heart to pump blood to your extremities.
Physical exercise has been shown to lower blood pressure as effectively as many actual blood pressure medications. And continued daily exercise can eliminate the need for your blood pressure medication.
And by exercising on a consistent basis when you’re younger – along with a balanced diet – you can prevent age related high blood pressure before it happens.
Some Surprising Mental Health Benefits of Physical Fitness
A daily physical fitness habit gives more than just the physical benefits possible. Exercise has been proven by research to be both stress relieving and mood boosting.
Exercise can even provide help for your anxiety or depression. Physical activity like xercise has been scientifically proven to boost feel-good endorphins that translate into feelings of happiness and euphoria, referred to as a “high”.
This release of endorphins can in turn decrease symptoms of both depression and anxiety. The endorphins produced by physical activity also act as a natural analgesic (or something that reduces physical pain).
So if you’ve ever felt oddly energetic or like you were “floating on cloud nine” for a while after an intense workout, it was probably due to the rush of endorphins in your body.
Even just moderate physical fitness activity exercise on a daily basis can relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Another mental benefit of physical fitness is a reduction in your stress levels. By increasing your heart rate through cardio, it’s possible to reverse the damaging effects of stress on the brain.
Physical exercise reduces stress by stimulating the production of beneficial hormones within our bodies.
These hormones do a lot to relieve our stress. And lowered levels of stress improves our actual mental cognition, allowing us to think more clearly.
Plus, physical exercise conditions your body’s central and sympathetic nervous systems to work well with one another. Over a period of time, physical activity can actually increase your body’s natural resistance to some stress-related mental health issues.
Physical exercise can also increase your sense of self-confidence and boost your overall self-esteem.
The sense of pride and accomplishment you receive from not getting winded going up and down stairs, or needing smaller clothes, or seeing your arms become tone, or from beating your personal best running time are huge self-esteem boosters.
This boost of exercise related positive feeling creates a cycle of exercise being its very own reward for both your body and your emotions.
Physical exercise can also improve your sleep if you’ve been having issues with insomnia.
Physical exercise increases your body’s base temperature. This increase in temperature can have a soothing effect on your emotions and mind. This leads to less intrusive or worrisome thoughts and makes it easier to turn your mind completely off at bedtime.
Physical exertion is also useful for regulating your circadian rhythm. When our circadian rhythm is properly calibrated, our bodies and minds get tired at the appropriate time of night and become alert and active during the correct time of morning.
Another way physical fitness can benefit you mentally is through widening our social circle. It’s been scientifically established that people need positive social interaction with others.
By joining a local gym and participating in a cycling class, finding a workout buddy, or just nodding hello to your fellow joggers, the journey towards physical fitness becomes less isolated.
Finding encouraging workout partners who have succeeded against the same physical fitness struggles is emotionally affirming and combats feelings of depression and anxiety.
Physical exercise can do even more than affect your mood. Studies show that daily cardiovascular exercise can positively affect your intelligence and improve your memory.
The act of physical exercise creates new and beneficial brain cells, which improves mental performance. Cardiovascular exercise strengthens the parts of the brain used for creating memories and learning new tgibg and has been shown to slow and prevent the mental decline of aging.
Studies on physical fitness have also shown how moderate daily physical activity can increase your creativity.
Plus, the gentle muscle stretching that fitness experts recommend to always do both before and after your workout can help relax both your body and stressed out mind, which helps even more to lessen mental anxiety.
Physical exercise can help your body and mind feel at peace with one another and the world.
Physical Fitness is Vital
These are just a few of the ways that engaging in regular physical fitness can improve your appearance, your mental and physical health, and your overall quality of life.
Understanding the benefits of physical fitness and understanding that you should be active on a daily basis will help you to maintain good health and improve your overall quality of life.
You greatly reduce your risk of chronic health issues and costly medical care when you make healthy fitness choices.
Choosing healthy options like balanced meals with healthy portion sizes and a commitment to daily physical activity will lengthen your lifespan and improve the quality of your day to day life.
Making healthy choices, such as engaging in regular physical activity, can reduce your risk for many health issues and complications that can result in expensive medical care.
Many studies have shown that daily physical activity actually increases your life expectancy. Research shows that people who are physically active on a daily basis have a tendency to live longer and healthier lives than people who remain sedentary.
Engaging in daily physical exercise increases the strength of your muscles, maintains and improves your bone density, gives you added flexibility, and stabilizes the core of your body.
Physical fitness reduces your risk for fractured bones from lack of bone density. Daily exercise makes you more resistant to the accidental falls and other injuries that can become debilitating with advanced age. A stronger, more fit body is a body that can better resist injuries, regardless of age.
Remaining physically fit allows you easily engage in activities that require endurance, strength, and balance. With daily exercise, the accomplishment of hiking up a steep hill or mountain biking through rough terrain becomes more than just a dream.
When you’re physically fit, you know just how high you can really climb and how far you can push yourself.
But after many years living an inactive and sedentary lifestyle, just running around the park with your family can present a challenge.
Remember that every daily step towards fitness counts. Building and maintaining physically active habits when you’re relatively young guarantees that it will be simple to remain active as you begin to grow older.
Physical fitness can improve your health in numerous ways. Physical fitness promotes stronger muscles and denser bones. It improves the overall health of your respiratory cardiovascular health, system.
Staying physically active can also help you maintain a healthy weight reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and prevent heart disease.
In other words, staying physically active and fit is the bedrock part of maintaining good health and wellness.
So challenge yourself, your family, your friends, and your coworkers to become more physically active. Challenge yourself to meet realistic weekly physical activity goals.
Schedule some time every day to go to the gym or do moderate exercise like hiking or bicycling. Make exercise and physical activity a natural part of your day to day routine.