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The Benefits of Exercise: More Than Meets the Eye

When you work out on a regular basis you might think the pay off is “look good, feel good”, but many of the benefits of exercise are unseen but important.

The Mayo Clinic says that the health benefits to regular exercise and physical activity includes a healthier heart, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as improvements in mood, energy, and sleep.

While exercising on a regular basis can also help you lose weight, gain muscle, and get your body ready for swimsuit season this summer, the real benefit may be the many health problems and concerns that can be prevented or managed by working out.

Benefits of Exercising Start Immediately

You also do not have to be a fitness pro or super in-shape person to gain the benefits, in fact, a recent study from Oregon State University showed that “even a single session of moderate aerobic exercise makes a difference in the cells of otherwise sedentary people.”

In the study, participants who do not follow a regular exercise routine, rode a stationary bike for an hour at a moderate pace.

15 minutes later their muscles were biopsied to see how efficient the mitochondria in their cells were performing compared to how they acted on a rest day. Mitochondria are part of the human cell responsible for turning sugars and fats into energy.

In the study, participants burned 12 to 13 percent more fat-based fuel, and 14 to 17 percent more sugar-based fuel post-exercise than they did on a rest day.

“It’s pretty remarkable that even after just one hour of exercise, these people were able to burn off a little more fuel,” said Matt Robinson, lead author on the study and an assistant professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences. “From a big picture health perspective, it’s very encouraging for people to realize that you can get health benefits from a single session of exercise.”

Of course, exercising on a regular basis is even more important.

“We know that exercise is good for you, in general. But those benefits of that single bout of exercise seem to fade away after a day or two,” said Robinson. “You get the long-term benefits when you do that exercise again and again and you make it a regular habit.”

Improving Health and Fighting Diseases with Exercise

From a disease point of view, the Oregon State study authors are hopeful that exercise can combat both diabetes and obesity.

Robinson said: “It’s clear that obesity and diabetes involve impairments in metabolism. Physiologically, when the body undergoes exercise, sugars tend to be burned off first while fats are stored, but in cases of diabetes and obesity, there is some dysregulation in metabolism that causes the body to not be able to switch between the two types of fuel. Exercise can help reset that system.”

The Mayo Clinic says that regular exercise can act as a 1-2 punch to help fight cardiovascular diseases as being active helps boost good cholesterol (HDL) and decreases unhealthy triglycerides.

According to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise can help prevent or manage many health issues such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer (many types)
  • Cognitive function
  • Depression
  • Falls
  • High blood pressure
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes

If all that was not enough, the May Clinic says that regular exercise can help “lower the risk of death from all causes.”

Looking Good, Feeling Good

Ever wonder why you usually feel so good after working out?

It is not just the expectations of lower weight or six-pack abs, but physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals, such as endorphins, which can make you feel happier, less anxious, and more relaxed. says that endorphins release can lead to:

  • Immediate relief of pain.
  • Decrease in fatigue.
  • Improve mood dramatically.

Regular exercise can also boost your energy as it delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. Improved heart and lung capacity will also help boost energy in everyday life.

According to Nourish by WebMD, “New research suggests regular exercise can increase energy levels even among people suffering from chronic medical conditions associated with fatigue, like cancer and heart disease.”

In this study, published in Psychological Bulletin, researchers analyzed 70 studies on exercise and fatigue involving more than 6,800 people.

“More than 90 percent of the studies showed the same thing: Sedentary people who completed a regular exercise program reported improved fatigue compared to groups that did not exercise,” says researcher Patrick O’Connor, PhD, and co-director of the University of Georgia exercise psychology laboratory. “It’s a very consistent effect.”

Exercising can also help you with your sleep, with the Mayo Clinic saying you can:

  • Fall asleep faster.
  • Get better sleep.
  • Deepen your sleep.

And when you wake up, consider exercising outside in the morning as you will get vitamin D from the sunlight which can help enhance your mood.

When you work out at home contact the fitness experts at Exer-Tech about renting or owning commercial-grade equipment in southeast Texas, including Austin, Houston, San Antonio, College Station and Beaumont.