7 things everyone should know about exercising
1. It’s good for your brain.
Exercise isn’t just good for your body, it’s good for your brain. Exercise has been linked to improved mood, memory, and learning ability. Some studies have found that exercise may also prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease. Scientists discovered that exercise improves blood flow to the brain, feeding the growth of new blood vessels and even new brain cells, thanks to a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF triggers the growth of new neurons and helps repair and protect brain cells from degeneration.
2. It makes you happier.
While doing that extra set or pushing yourself a little further may make you sweat, exercise also triggers the release of neurochemicals in the brain—serotonin, norepinephrine, endorphins, dopamine—that dull pain, lighten mood, and relieve stress.
3. Forever ageless? Maybe.
Not surprisingly, exercise adds years to your life. But one study examining the effects of exercise on telomeres—the protective caps on the end of chromosomes that shorten over time and are thought to play a significant role in aging—found exercise may slow their degradation, effectively slowing aging.
4. Amazing things can happen in just a few minutes.
It doesn’t take much movement to see benefits—as long as you put in the effort. A study at McMaster University compared an all-out 10-minute regime of three exhausting 20-second intervals to a standard 50-minute workout.
The result? The workouts resulted in identical improvements in heart function and blood-sugar control, even though one workout was five times longer than the other.
5. You’ll glow.
Aerobic exercise revs up blood flow to the skin, delivering oxygen and nutrients that improve skin health and can even help wounds heal faster.
6. You’ll recover faster.
For decades, people with certain diseases were advised not to exercise. But a recent meta-analysis of more than 300 clinical trials discovered that for people recovering from a stroke, exercise was even more effective at helping them rehabilitate.
7. Your fat cells will get skinny.
Consistent aerobic exercise means the body gets better at burning fat, which requires a lot of oxygen to convert it into energy. As a result, your fat cells—which produce the substances responsible for chronic low-grade inflammation—shrink, and so does inflammation.