Five benefits of exercise that go beyond wearing skinny jeans
If you’re discouraged about weight loss, don’t give up your exercise program just yet. Even if you have difficulty shedding pounds, it’s important to know exercise has benefits that go beyond just fitting into those skinny jeans.
Dr. Eudene Harry, author of “Live Younger in 8 Simple Steps,” and the Medical Director for the Women’s Wellness Society, a national society focused on women’s health. explains the hidden benefits of maintaining a regular exercise routine:
Younger, blemish free skin – According to Dr. Harry who is the Medical Director for Oasis for Optimal Health, “The increase in circulation and perspiration that occurs with exercise delivers more nutrients to your skin while allowing impurities and waste to be removed.” Exercise promotes a healthy, glowing complexion.
Exercise helps us sleep better and lifts depression because of natural chemicals that are released like serotonin and dopamine.
Serotonin is a chemical found mostly in the gut and blood platelets that increases when we exercise. Imbalance of the chemical is thought to lead to depression. Because it acts as a neurotransmitter the chemical affects brain cells related to mood, and sexual desire. Dopamine is a neuro-hormone that promotes happiness.
Exercise promotes colon health and can relieve constipation. Harry recommends waiting an hour or two after eating. Exercising too soon can deter blood flow from the intestines, slowing down digestion.
Stronger bones is an important benefit of exercise. As we age - and for women after menopause - the bones can become brittle, leading to osteoporosis. Muscle contractions that occur during exercise helps the body build new bone cells, reducing the chances of fractures that could otherwise happen with even minor injuries. Examples of exercise to help bone health include yoga, jogging, walking, weight training and dancing.
When we exercise our body temperature increases, making it more difficult for bacteria to attack. Regular moderate physical activity enhances immunity to keep us well, which is an important note during the winter months when colds and flu are easily spread. When we exercise, antibody levels increase in the blood stream to protect us from viruses and infection, explains Harry.
It’s also important not to exercise too vigorously or you won’t see the benefits. Moderate exercise is best – swimming, cycling or taking a brisk walk. Harry says,
“For instance, you can actually increase stress hormones, which can make you more vulnerable to illness, rather than building your immunity.”
Exercise and eating a nutritious balanced diet are both important for weight loss and avoiding weight gain, but the benefits of exercise go beyond just fitting into your favorite ‘skinny jeans’. Regular moderate exercise improves complexion, promotes better sleep, lifts mood, boosts immunity, helps us feel self-confident and empowered and more.
Eudene Harry, MD
November 13, 2012