By: Lauren Lee
We have all heard that “exercising is good for you”, though most of the time those words are hardly motivational. Incorporating physical activity into our routines is a common struggle for humans because of our comfortable lifestyle and lack of motivation. It may help to become more knowledgeable about how exercise can benefit us. The miserable workouts can actually become less miserable if we understand what the activity does to our whole body. The long term effects of exercise can be hard to see therefore, focusing on the more immediate outcomes can be a motivational strategy.
Benefits of exercise:
Exercise is argued to be more beneficial than medicine. The benefits of most drugs cannot compare to how consistent physical activity can improve our health.
One of the most obvious ways exercise affects us is the strength and flexibility of our muscles. Active research still continues to find a complete explanation of how exercise strengthens our muscles. So far, we know that it is related to hypertrophy. Hypertrophy is the growth of muscle cells. As we exercise, the production of certain proteins that promote muscle cell growth increases.
Physical activity also has a major impact on the brain. Research shows that it enhances brain plasticity. As indicated in the name, brain plasticity is the brain’s ability to adapt. Exercise helps to generate new neuronal connections. In the long term, exercise will improve memory and other issues such as depression.
If exercising is beneficial, what makes us avoid it?
Even though some people already know how they profit from exercising, it is in our human nature to avoid it. Through research and experiments, we know that humans steer away from being active as our instincts tell us to conserve energy. At the beginning of our time on earth, our survival depended on obtaining life’s necessities in the easiest manner possible. Now that most people do not have to worry about predators in our society, our motives to conserve energy do us more harm. The more brainpower it takes for us to carry out an activity, the less our brain tells us to do it as “our brain is innately attracted to sedentary behaviours”.
Incorporating exercise into your life:
As challenging as it may be, it is a necessity to include exercise into our busy schedules. To make the process easier, try to make SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Do not expect drastic changes in only a week. To add physical activity into your schedule, you must consider your personal lifestyle. Try conducting more research or reaching out for advice from a professional. Simply going for a walk can make a huge difference in your day. If you are having a bad day or are lacking energy, exercising can be a great way to give you the boost you need.
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