Exercise and Your Muscles
Most people know that exercise keeps muscles strong. But did you know that strong muscles burn more calories? Muscle mass is metabolically active tissue. In other words, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn even when you're not working out.
Studies estimate that for each pound of muscle you add to your body, you will burn an additional 35-50 calories per day. So an extra 5 pounds of muscle will burn about 175-250 calories a day -- or an extra pound of fat every 14-20 days.
Because guys have more muscle mass, they burn calories faster and lose weight more easily than girls. So, girls need to work out daily to stay strong and in shape.
Exercise and Your Bones
Regular, moderate exercise -- particularly weight-bearing exercises like walking, running, jogging , and dancing -- keeps your bones strong. Studies show that resistance (strengthening) exercises also boost bone mass and keep muscles strong.
Exercise and Your Skin
Exercise also boosts circulation and the delivery of nutrients to your skin, helping to detoxify the body by removing toxins (poisons).
As exercise boosts oxygen to the skin, it also helps increase the natural production of collagen , the connective tissue that plumps your skin. Your skin will "glow" after exercise, because of the increase in blood flow.
Exercise and Stress
Regular exercise reduces the amount of stress hormones in the body, resulting in a slower heart rate, relaxed blood vessels, and lower blood pressure . Increased relaxation after exercise shows on your face with reduced muscle tension.
Exercise and Your Mood
Research shows that regular exercise reduces symptoms of moderate depression and enhances psychological fitness. Exercise can even produce changes in certain chemical levels in the body, which can have an effect on the psychological state.
Endorphins are hormones in the brain associated with a happy, positive feeling. A low level of endorphins is associated with depression . During exercise, plasma levels of this substance increase. This may help to ease symptoms of depression . A recent National Health and Nutrition survey found that physically active people were half as likely to be depressed.
Exercise also boosts the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain . Neurotransmitters are chemicals that send specific messages from one brain cell to another. Though only a small percentage of all serotonin is located in the brain , this neurotransmitter is thought to play a key role in keeping your mood calm.
Exercise and Colds
Regular exercise appears to help jump-start the immune system, thus helping to reduce the number of colds , flu , and other viruses.
Keep in mind, however, that too much exercise can have the opposite effect; it can weaken your immunity to colds and other viruses and can lead to injury. Joint or muscle pain may be a sign. If you're doing intense workouts every day, consider alternating them with walking and upper-body lifting.
Exercise and Brainpower
Exercise boosts blood flow to the brain and helps it receive oxygen and nutrients . The better shape you're in, the faster you fire brain waves that are responsible for quick thinking.
So, for example, if math is a real problem, you may find that daily exercise helps to solve it!
Getting Started With Exercise
As you make the daily exercise commitment, be sure to include the following three types of exercise:
Range-of-motion, or stretching exercises . These involve moving a joint as far as it will go (without pain). You can do this with basic stretches or through dance, yoga , tai chi , and similar activities.
Endurance or conditioning exercises. Endurance exercises include walking, biking, climbing stairs, aerobics , and swimming . These exercises strengthen muscles and build coordination and endurance.
Strengthening exercises. Resistance exercises help build strong muscles. You can do them with ankle and wrist weights, free weights, resistance machines, resistance bands, or free weights (handheld weights).
Don't Forget Water
The more intense the training session, the more heat your body will produce. Before beginning exercise, drink water to help the body compensate for sweating . You can drink more water during exercise if you're thirsty.
The benefits of daily exercise are incredible, and they are free! Start a daily exercise regimen today, and enjoy all the proven "extras" that come with moving around more.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on April 18, 2019