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17 Amazing Benefits of Exercise

Embrace a healthier lifestyle, and witness the transformative power of exercise shaping your better self
Looking to boost your overall well-being and feel more alive? Regular exercise is the ultimate game-changer! It’s like a magic potion that helps keep various health issues away or at least pushes them back a notch. From strengthening your muscles and bones to keeping your heart and lungs in top shape, exercise works wonders for your entire body. And guess what? It’s not just about hitting the gym or running marathons.
Whether you’re into yoga, dancing, or a brisk walk in the park, the perks of exercise are universal. So, get ready to unlock a happier, healthier, and more energetic version of yourself by simply incorporating some physical activity into your daily routine. Trust me, your body and mind will thank you for it!

1. Healthy body mass index

Physical exercise plays a crucial role in helping individuals achieve healthy body weight and maintain a healthier BMI. While factors like genetics, nutrition, and lifestyle choices do impact our physical fitness, regular exercise is a key factor in improving and preventing obesity and related diseases.
Understanding BMI (Body Mass Index) can be a helpful tool in assessing our weight and overall health. By staying physically active and engaging in regular exercise, we can build healthier habits from an early age, setting the foundation for a happier and healthier future.
What is BMI?
Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of approximate body fat on a human’s body either a man or woman based on their height and weight. BMI provides a value that can be used to classify an individual as underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese based on established cutoff values.
A person is considered
  • Underweight if the BMI is less than 18.5
  • Healthy Weight range if the BMI is 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight if BMI is between 25 and 30 Obese if BMI is over 30 is considered obese.
How to calculate BMI?

Body Mass Index is a simple calculation using a person’s height and weight. The formula for calculating Body Mass Index (BMI) is

BMI = kg/m2

Where kg is a person’s weight in kilograms and m2 is their height in meters squared.

Example:< Weight = 70 kilograms
Height (in meters squared) = 3.0625
BMI = 70 / 3.0625 ≈ 22.85

BMI applies to all adults either male or female from 18 to 65 years and is considered quite an accurate estimate in determining if a person is in a healthy or unhealthy weight range.
Is BMI Calculation Accurate for Everyone?
As BMI is a simple calculation based on weight and height and does not take into account the distribution of muscle and fat in the body. The accuracy of BMI can be doubtful and not accurate in a few cases,
  • Bodybuilders/Athletes – They have high muscle mass and the formula can show them high BMI but they may not be at health risk.
  • Young children – Individuals with a lower muscle mass, such as children or the elderly, may have a lower BMI but they still are at risk.
  • Pregnant women – Additionally, a woman’s body composition changes during pregnancy or after pregnancy so using a BMI calculator can be misleading.

2. Increase flexibility

For Anyone who wants to live an injury-free life, his muscles must be flexible to move freely. That’s why it is said to stretch your muscles before starting a workout or even a simple jog. Stretching brings flexibility to muscles, joints, and bones, which contributes to an improved range of motion, stiffness reduction, and improved mobility.
Your muscles need to be flexible to perform day-to-day activities like bending, lifting, walking, etc., stiff muscles lack movement and make the movements painful too. Enhanced flexibility gained from regular physical performance, can prevent the risk of falls, ease movements, and promote stronger muscles and joints.

3. Improve cardiovascular function

As a normal healthy response to exercise, our heart muscles also get stronger and healthy. A healthy and strong heart brings many benefits with it –
  • A strong heart pumps more blood with each contraction, allowing more oxygen and nutrients delivered to the body’s tissues and organs.
  • A stronger heart can pump more blood easily and with less effort, thus force on arteries decreases leading to a normal heart rate and low blood pressure.
  • Heart attacks and strokes are mainly caused by a blockage that refrains blood from flowing to the heart or brain. Exercise prevents cardiac diseases, heart attacks, and strokes caused by a blocked artery (Plaque stored in the walls of arteries prevents blood from flowing to the heart or brain).
  • Exercise improves the muscle’s ability to extract oxygen from the blood, which reduces the workload on the heart.
Regular exercise whether through cardiovascular activities like running or cycling, or strength training exercises, is important in keeping your heart healthy and functioning optimally, leading to a longer and healthier life.
What is cardiovascular disease CVD?

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a general term for a group of heart and blood vessel disorders and are the number one cause of death and disability globally. CVD includes all heart and circulatory diseases, including coronary heart disease, angina, heart attack, congenital heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and vascular dementia.

4. Help in healthy cholesterol levels

Regular exercise helps lower the levels of LDL (Low-density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol) and increase the levels of HDL (High-density lipoprotein or good cholesterol) in the blood. Here’s how exercise helps boost healthy cholesterol levels:
  • Enhanced Enzyme Activity: Exercise stimulates enzymes in the body that are involved in the metabolism of fats, these enzymes help break down and remove LDL cholesterol from the tissues, including blood vessels.
  • Lipoprotein Lipase Activity: Physical activity increases the activity of lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme that helps break down triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. By breaking down LDL cholesterol, the body can clear it from the bloodstream more effectively.
  • Improved Fat Utilization: During exercise, the body utilizes stored fats for energy. This process helps to reduce the levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol in the blood, creating a favorable environment for the production and action of HDL cholesterol.
LDL cholesterol is considered “bad” cholesterol because it can build up in the walls of arteries, forming plaque and narrowing blood vessels which increase the risk of artery blockages leading to heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems. HDL on the other hand helps remove LDL from the bloodstream which can help reduce the risk of these problems.

5. Type 2 Diabetes

What is Type 1 diabetes?

When an individual body genetically does not produce insulin it is called type 1 diabetes and the reason for non-production can be an autoimmune response that attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

What is Type 2 diabetes?

In type 2 diabetes, the body’s cells become unable to respond to insulin or become resistant to the effects of insulin, which is known as insulin resistance. Simply this means that your body doesn’t use insulin properly and because of that high levels of sugar, or glucose build up and accumulate in the blood.

What is Prediabetes?

This stage is the step before developing type 2 diabetes, a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

How does insulin work in our body?
Glucose is the main source of energy for the body and is obtained from the foods we eat particularly carbohydrates. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas helps to regulate the levels of glucose in the blood by transporting the glucose in our bloodstream to cells throughout our body, where it’s used for energy.
In people with diabetes, the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin (Type 1 Diabetes) or the cells in the body become resistant to the effects of insulin (Type 2 Diabetes). This means that glucose stays in the bloodstream and not enough enters the cells, leading to high blood sugar levels, also known as hyperglycemia. Over time, uncontrolled hyperglycemia can cause damage to the blood vessels, nerves, and organs, leading to various complications if left untreated.
Exercise provides significant benefits for individuals with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. It enhances the body’s glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, and insulin secretion. By encouraging cells to utilize sugar in the bloodstream for energy, exercise facilitates improved blood glucose consumption and aids in weight management.

Research says, “Resistance training and aerobic exercise in combination helped to lower insulin resistance in previously sedentary older adults with abdominal obesity and at risk of diabetes”.

6. Obesity

Obesity is associated with several negative health consequences, such as an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and mortality. Physical activity is inversely proportional to obesity, which means if one will be less, the other will be more. Less physical activity will higher your chances to get obese and higher physical activity will lower your chances to be obese.
Metabolism plays a very effective role in your health and an obese individual’s metabolism is generally slow, this slower metabolism can contribute to weight gain and difficulty in losing weight. When you engage in physical exercise, your body requires more energy to perform various activities this increased energy demand stimulates metabolic processes in the body.
Physical exercise is an important tool to combat obesity, while physically active our body needs more energy for consumption, hence more calories are burnt which promotes weight loss. Regular exercise stimulates fatty acid oxidation too, aiding in the breakdown of stored fat and reducing the accumulation of excess body fat thereby reducing the risk of obesity.
Important: The overall management of overweight and obesity includes a combination of dietary changes, mental beliefs, increased physical activity, and lifestyle modification.

7. Burns extra calories

Regular physical activity boosts weight loss efforts by burning extra calories and creating a calorie deficit that can lead to weight loss. It is found that challenging workouts that increase the heart rate and use full-body muscles can burn more calories than other types of workouts. Calorie burning is a very individualized and complex process and lots of factors like metabolism, intensity of exercise, or current health status can affect the pace of the process.
Being active through physical activity increases total energy expenditure, which leads to burning more calories. To achieve weight loss, it is important to create an energy deficit by burning more calories than consumed. This deficit state allows the body to tap into stored energy (such as body fat) to make up for the shortfall, resulting in weight loss over time. It is crucial not to compensate for the extra calories burned during physical activity by overeating, as it can hinder progress in weight loss or weight maintenance efforts.

8. Anti-inflammatory effect

Two different types of inflammation: Acute and Chronic.

Acute inflammation is a short-term response to minor injuries or illnesses and lasts for a few days. Chronic inflammation is long-term, and systematic, and can cause bigger health issues if not resolved timely.

Physical activity stimulates the immune system to produce anti-inflammatory cytokines during and after exercise, which play a crucial role in regulating the body’s immune response, reducing inflammation, and promoting a balanced inflammatory state.
Additionally, physical activity can help to reduce muscle soreness and stiffness by promoting blood flow and oxygenation to the muscles. Physical activity also helps to reduce visceral fat, which is associated with chronic inflammation by promoting fat oxidation and calorie expenditure.

9. Exercise improves oxygen delivery

When you are physically active, your heart and lungs work harder to supply the additional oxygen your muscles demand. Exercise improves oxygen delivery throughout the body through the promotion of vasodilation( widening of blood vessels) and angiogenesis(growth of new blood vessels).

“When muscles are working, they can take oxygen out of blood three times more when compared to the muscles that are at rest”.

Physical activity increases your heart rate and gets your blood flowing which leads to enhanced oxygen and nutrient supply to your working muscles resulting in higher energy levels, reducing stress on the heart, and improving cardiovascular function.

Normal, healthy oxygen saturation levels are between 95-99% and can be easily measured with a fingertip pulse oximeter. If a person has a low oxygen saturation level, it may indicate a health problem such as lung disease or heart disease.

10. Promotes stress reduction and mood upliftment

Exercise has several positive effects on mental health. It reduces the levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol(triggers the body’s “fight or flight” response), while increasing the production of endorphins, the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. These chemicals act as natural painkillers and mood elevators, helping to alleviate feelings of depression, anxiety, stress, and other emotional difficulties.
These improvements in mood are caused due to the exercise-induced increase in blood circulation to the parts of the brain. Moderate-intensity exercise can help improve thinking and memory while reducing stress and enhancing the ability to cope with stress.
Additionally, physical activity raises our heart rate, leading to increased oxygen and nutrient-rich blood flow to the brain. This promotes the healthy growth and enhancement of new neuronal connections and existing brain cells, supporting improved brain function and cognitive abilities. Surely, exercise is a powerful tool not only for physical fitness but also for mental well-being and cognitive health.

11. Enhances stamina

“Stamina measures how long a person can perform the bodily or mental functions without fatigue, a capacity to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity.”

  • With regular training, the muscles become more efficient in extracting oxygen from the bloodstream, which boosts endurance and delays the onset of fatigue.
  • Regular exercise stimulates the growth and proliferation of mitochondria in muscle cells, increasing their energy production capacity.
  • Exercise promotes the growth and development of muscle fibers which are highly resistant to fatigue and are essential for sustained, prolonged activity.
  • Through regular exercise, the body becomes more proficient in utilizing different fuel sources, such as carbohydrates and fats, to produce energy during exercise.
  • The lactate threshold is the point at which lactic acid accumulates in the muscles during intense exercise. Regular training can raise this threshold, enabling the body to tolerate higher levels of lactic acid and sustain higher exercise intensities before fatigue sets in.
Regular exercise leads to a combination of cardiovascular, metabolic, and muscular adaptations that significantly enhance stamina. As the body becomes fitter and more efficient, individuals can perform physical activities for longer durations without experiencing excessive fatigue.

12. Tones and firm muscles

Muscle toning means tightening up the muscles and giving them shape. Regular physical activity makes your muscles look more defined, firmer, and less wobbly. This enhanced muscle tone and firmness occurs when there is less fat percentage and more muscle tissue.
To unveil muscles and make them more apparent, you have to reduce your body fat. As the layer of adipose tissue decreases it will allow the muscles to become more visible and defined. To burn fat and achieve a more toned and muscular appearance, a combination of cardiovascular exercises and strength training is recommended.

13. Improve balance, increase bone density, and strengthen muscles

“Exercise works on the skeletal structure of our body much like it works on muscles.”

Regular exercise and physical activity promote strong muscles, higher bone density, and improved endurance levels which in turn boost your ability to resist and withstand injuries in the long term. Weight-bearing exercises like walking, dancing, low-impact aerobics, elliptical training machines, stair climbing, running, jumping rope, and strength training with weights or resistance bands can increase your bone density, bone size, and bone strength while reducing inflammation.
A few important benefits:
    Exercise improves your bone health
  • Decreases your risk of bone fracture
  • Increases muscle strength, coordination, and balance
  • Allows you to stay steadier on your feet
  • Reduces joint pain and inflammation
How Bones Get Strong with Exercise?

Because bone is a living tissue, it changes over time in response to the forces placed upon it. Activities that put stress on bones stimulate bone-forming cells by which bones become stronger and adapt to the demands placed on them. When you engage in regular physical activity, your bones undergo a process of adaptation that involves building more bone tissue and increasing bone density. This adaptation is a fundamental response to the mechanical stress placed on your bones during exercise.

Exercise strengthens bones through a process known as bone remodeling which involves a delicate balance between bone resorption (the breakdown of old bone tissue) and bone formation (the creation of new bone tissue).

14. Prevent diseases later in life

Engaging in regular exercise is a proactive approach that not only counters the wear and tear associated with aging but also safeguards the ability to fully relish later life stages. Physical activity is just like an investment that significantly increases the likelihood of a higher quality of life. Exercising not only reduces the risk of chronic conditions but also minimizes future healthcare expenses.
As a key to maintaining vitality and preventing illness, exercise serves as a means to promote longevity, uphold muscle strength, and foster independence in daily activities. This comprehensive impact underscores its role as a potent tool in ensuring overall well-being throughout the aging process.

15. Boosts your immune system

Exercise improves our body’s natural immunity, enabling it to better identify and combat pathogens. Physical activity promotes efficient blood circulation, facilitating the movement of immune cells throughout the body to respond promptly to potential threats. Exercise improves the immune system’s response to viral diseases, infections, and other potential threats, leading to prompt actions and faster recoveries from illness.
By embracing regular exercise, individuals can enjoy a more robust immune system, fostering a healthier and more energetic state while fortifying their body’s defenses against illnesses.

16. Increase metabolic rate

Metabolism, also known as metabolic rate refers to the intricate process of generating and breaking down energy from the food we consume to fuel essential bodily functions. When you engage in physical activity, your metabolism kicks into high gear. A faster metabolism translates to increased calorie expenditure both while you’re at rest and during exercise, this means your body burns more calories, helping you manage your weight.

17. Better sleep, sex, and skin vibrancy

Physical activity enhances blood circulation, effectively channeling oxygen to the skin and vital organs in our body. Exercise in any form promotes the release of mood-boosting hormones, which act as a natural stress reliever thus preventing wrinkles and imparting a radiant skin glow. Moreover, being in good physical shape enhances the experience of physical intimacy, fostering a relaxed and stable state that’s conducive to improved sexual satisfaction.
Exercise also creates a perfect sleep zone for restful sleep by inducing relaxation, benefiting those who struggle with sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, or restless legs syndrome.

Editor's note

Regular exercise is a potent defense against chronic diseases. One can achieve optimal health— even dedicating just 15 to 30 minutes each day to brisk walking, running, dancing, or strength training significantly bolsters health.
Consistent commitment and a proactive approach to staying active not only safeguard you against various health concerns but also ensure a longer and healthier life. Stay active as it is the basic natural requirement of our body.

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