Fitness Pays Off!
It's spring and many of us are striving for our personal peak in physical fitness. Whether we want to look better, to feel better, or to fulfill a personal goal, the fact is, exercise effects a lot more than our waistlines!
Many studies show that exercise improves your body image and lifts your general sense of well being ... if that's not enough to get you going ... you will look better in those shorts!
Boosts Immunity. It is believed that physical activity may help clear the the lungs of bacteria and remove cancer-causing cells by increasing waste output. In also increases the activity rate of the antibodies and white blood cells as they travel throughout the body. Finally, the temporary rise of body temperature may actually prevent the growth of bacteria, allowing you to fight infections more efficiently.
Reduces Stress. Recently scientists from Princeton were trying to understand how exercise reduces anxiety while at the same time creating 'excitable neurons' in the hippocampus, the part of the brain helps direct thinking and emotional responses. They conducted a study that divided mice into two groups, one group was placed in a sedentary environment while the other group were given the opportunity to run on a wheel and be physically active. After six weeks, the running mice were more confident and willing to explore new areas. At the end of the study, all the mice were restricted from physical activity, then were placed in a stressful situation to which they all responded with distress. However, the mice that had ample physical activity quickly calmed down and were markedly less anxious than the mice that had been sedentary for six weeks, supporting the idea that exercise offers both short- and long-term benefits!
Promotes Healthy Sleep Patterns. Sleep does more than keep you feeling refreshed! A number of studies indicate that lack of sleep increases your risk of developing serious physical problems, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease! Exercise can help there, too. A four-month long study from Northwestern University of sedentary adults suffering from insomnia found that participants slept better at the end of the four month period where moderate exercise was introduced into their lifestyles. In another study, people who exercised regularly for 10 weeks found that they slept better.
- Improves Thought Process. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh followed more than 600 people, aged 70 years and older. During the study, participants logged their daily physical, mental and social activities for three years. Scientist then ran image scans of the brain. They found that the subjects who engaged in the most physical exercise demonstrated less shrinkage or damage to the brain’s white matter -- which is comprised of nerve fibers that form the connections between the nerve cells and the fatty substance myelin which protects protects those fibers. Research from New Zealand indicated that that exercise improves the general brain processes of planning, memory and reasoning for everyone -- young or old!
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