Whether you’re on the vegan diet, pegan diet, keto flex, paleo, or just plain Standard American Diet, the one thing that all health professionals can agree on is that it’s essential to move your body daily and to exercise regularly. Exercise strengthens your muscles and bones, and helps every organ in your body work better.
Dr. Dana J. Rockey is an expert dentist and sleep specialist at South County Sleep Solutions in Newport Beach, California. However, he’s also a health coach who helps you make healthy living choices to enhance your vibrancy and well-being.
Here’s why exercise is so essential to that goal.
Exercise boosts your mood
One of the most immediate benefits of exercise — even something as simple as taking a vigorous walk on the beach — is that your body releases endorphins that make you feel good. If you’re anxious or depressed (and who isn’t from time to time, these days?), you can boost your mood and banish the worries with a workout session.
When your body’s flush with oxygen after a good workout, you feel less stressed. Exercise also allows your muscles to release tension that could otherwise cause a stiff neck or low-back pain. Less pain = better mood.
Exercise “feeds” your brain
When you exercise, your blood vessels dilate to increase blood flow to all of your organs, including your brain. When you breathe deeply during exercise, you get more oxygen into your blood, which is exactly the kind of nourishment your brain needs to function at its peak.
Regular exercise is, in fact, one of the best ways you can prevent age-related cognitive decline and dementia. Healthy, young brains benefit from exercise, too. You can expect increased processing speeds, greater attention and focus, and improved memory.
Exercise reduces risk of disease
Obesity contributes to just about every chronic disease there is, including diabetes. Losing unnecessary pounds lowers your risk for serious conditions such as:
- Heart disease
- Metabolic disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Some forms of cancer
Building and maintaining strong muscles avoids sarcopenia (muscle wasting) and osteoporosis (bone thinning). Strong muscles exert healthy force on your bones, to keep them producing new bone cells.
Exercise helps maintain a healthy weight
If you’re overweight, exercise helps you shed extra pounds. Exercise burns calories, of course. But the benefits extend beyond that.
When you add resistance exercise to aerobic exercise, you do more than burn calories and lose fat. You also build muscle, and muscle burns more calories than fat does. In fact, adding muscle to your frame speeds up your metabolism so that it’s easier to take off the weight and keep it off.
Exercise helps you eat right
Regular exercise also helps you make healthier eating choices and maintain a stable, healthy weight. Those mood boosts you get when you exercise bolster your thinking and decision-making abilities.
After a good workout session, you crave just what your body needs: water and nutrients. When you’re in touch with your body, you start breaking the bad habits (and bad foods) that don’t feed or nourish it.
Exercise helps you sleep better
Up to 70 million women and men in the United States have a sleep disorder. Many of them snore or have a condition called sleep apnea that interrupts their sleep — and their breathing — dozens or hundreds of times a night.
Regular exercise helps your body discharge excess energy so that you feel less stressed and more relaxed at bedtime. Combined with good sleep hygiene — such as keeping a regular bedtime and avoiding late meals or screen time — exercise allows your body to get the restorative rest it needs.
Not sure what types of exercise are best so that you can achieve or maintain your healthiest body and mind? Call us today at 949-558-0554 for a healthy living consultation.