When someone gets asked, “what do you want the most in their life?”, the usual answer is money or some materialistic possession. Interestingly, rarely do people respond with ‘fitness’, despite it being essential for a prosperous life. Whether it be a sprint around the neighborhood or a dedicated workout to achieve one’s ideal body, fitness is a fruitful result of these activities, which makes it important for each person to engage in some form of physical exercise. Here are some interesting facts about fitness:
1. Can’t seem to fall asleep?
Well, exercising regularly has plenty of benefits, and one of them is that it aids in sleep. Experts at Hopkins Medicine state that exercising increases the amount of deep sleep, which is essential for proper rest and recovery. Although they claim that they don’t necessarily understand the mechanism of this process, they believe that exhausting the body during a workout forces the brain to activate ‘sleep mode’, resulting in restfulness and feeling refreshed upon waking up. Even with its benefits for sleeping, it should be noted that exercising 2 hours before bedtime can have the opposite result because of endorphins, the body’s natural pain reliever.
2. Age is just a number
The general idea is that exercise, especially weight training, is exclusive to young people, as it is believed that it puts a significant strain on the body that aging bodies are unable to withstand; however, numerous research has shown that age is not the governing factor when it comes to exercising, instead, the ability of the individual is what ultimately decides if one should workout or not. Researchers state that the only hindering aspect is lack of training or shocking the body, resulting in an excessive strain or even torn muscles. Additionally, our body retains memory, often referred to as muscle memory, and regular exercise enables our body to remember how to function during workouts.
This does not come as a surprise, seeing that people who actively participate in physical activities such as sports or resistance training are less likely to develop diabetes, as the primary cause of diabetes is a sedentary lifestyle combined with an unhealthy diet. Taking these two out of the equation significantly reduces the chances of developing diabetes. Diabetes makes the body more sensitive to insulin and working out controls the blood sugar level, preventing diabetes.
4. Music helps
Granted, music will not run an extra step for you or lift additional weight for you, but what it does is equally important. Listening to music during working out boosts performance and increases motivation to continue exercising. Additionally, upbeat music is observed to psychologically strengthen the individual, resulting in a better quality of the workout. This happens because music stimulates the cerebrum, the part of the brain that regulates movement, making the person want to increase movement.
While a certain type of music is helpful during a workout, it only help to a certain degree if you are working out on your own. This is why it is much better to exercise in a group. A group setting not only increases one’s motivation but also enables an individual to push themselves. According to a 2013 study published in the International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, people were asked to exercise on rowing machines for 45 minutes. A set of individuals were asked to exercise on their own, while another was in a group. The results showed that people who exercised in a group were able to work out for longer. Additionally, it is also observed that if a group shares a common interest it can have further benefits.
6. Brain health
The observable benefits of working out like losing weight are renowned; however, the brain also benefits from exercising, particularly aerobic exercise. It is researched that aerobic exercises lead to neuron generation, and neurons are responsible for transmitting information in the nervous system and the brain. As the number of neurons increases in the brain, it lowers the risk of dementia and other mental disorders. Additionally, increased neurons mean better cognitive function.
Although endorphins that are released during a high-intensity workout are excellent at enhancing the mood, a majority of people are unable to work out intensely, especially when they are weighed down by depression. For them, experts at Harvard suggest carrying out low-intensity exercises for a long time. This can be as simple as walking for 20 minutes. It was observed that depression and other psychological disorders can physically shrink the size of the hippocampus in the brain, and exercise can help in its growth, resulting in an enhanced mood. Similarly, exercising is also known to reduce stress and anxiety.
8. Stretch or not to stretch
Generally, people are under the impression that stretching before a workout prevents injury. Although it is true to some degree, stretching before an activity that requires repetitive movement from one muscle group, such as swimming, can increase the chances of getting injured. Therefore, it is always best to consult an expert before engaging in strenuous activities. Warm-up is always recommended before a workout.
9. Keep Walking
Although gymnasiums or recreational centers are ideal for working out, not everyone is able to afford their membership. This is why walking is an excellent activity to stay healthy. Interestingly, walking has become one of the most popular ways of staying healthy because it does not require an investment. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults must exercise 150 minutes a week, and physical activity for 60 minutes each day is recommended for teenagers. With modern times’ busy schedules, it is unlikely that a person would be able to work out for mentioned times; however, walking can be added to even the busiest schedules. Moreover, jogging and walking for the same distance burn an equal amount of calories.
This goes without saying but rest is as important as exercising. If the body is not given adequate time to rest between workouts, it becomes fatigued and overworked, resulting in both acute and chronic injuries. Moreover, resting enables the body to rebuild itself, enhancing performance in the long run.