Importance of Exercise

Exercise is the most common (& essential) recommendation for nearly everybody. It is such a common language for a health professional to recommend and educate on, but this topic is so overly pushed and influenced, for good reason. 

Exercise is ESSENTIAL for the prevention of illnesses and the promotion of your wellness. Not only does exercise reduce the risk of nearly every disease like heart disease, diabetes, vascular disorders, pulmonary diseases, and GI problems, it also reduces the risk of mental illness including depression, anxiety, sleep alterations, stress and SO MUCH MORE

Regular physical exercise boosts the immune system, builds and maintains healthy bone density, increases joint motility, and helps to prevents cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Exercise also improves mental health and helps to prevent depression through the release of endorphins and other neurotransmitters that are responsible for exercise-induced euphoria.
— Barbara Yoost & Lynne Crawford

Recommended exercise regimens:

30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity 5 times or more a week

Examples: Brisk Walking, yoga, water aerobics, frisbee, golf, dancing, hiking, yard work

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OR

20 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity 3 or more days a week

Examples: Running, jogging, brisk walking up a hill, swimming, cycling, competitive sports, weight lifting


the Impact

How does this small 30 minutes routine impact your overall health SO MUCH?

Well - here is a very short & condensed answer to a very BIG question:

  1. Exercise increases your heart rate and contractility, meaning that your heart starts to pump with more force, causing your tissues and organs to become more oxygenated and your blood vessels to dilate, thus decreasing your blood pressure and lowering your risk of heart attack (MI), stroke, angina (chest pain) coronary artery disease, dysrhythmias, vascular disorders and heart failure. 
  2. Exercise can promote weight loss, AND a weight reduction of 22lb can decrease your blood pressure by 5-20 mmHg. It can also reduce the progression of obesity, which according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2011), obesity is an epidemic and 2/3 of adults are overweight or obese. Weight loss and exercise also enhances the insulin receptors which helps prevent and control Diabetes.
  3. Exercise increases peristalsis of you GI tract and help prevent constipation - especially after surgery. Exercise raises the respiratory & heart rates, which helps stimulate the contraction of the intestinal muscles, thus increasing peristalsis. Caution though - waiting an hour after you eat is advised since there is an increased blood flow to your stomach and intestines that help promote digestion. Walking 10-15 minutes a day can even help your digestion function!
  4. Exercise can increase relaxation and fatigue, thus enhancing REM and NREM sleep. Caution though - vigorous exercise within 2 hours of sleep should be avoided because it can hinder normal sleep cycles. Exercise also decreases stress and cortisol levels in your blood and give you a sense of well-being. 

There are many other wonderful effects that exercise induces on your body and health. If you are interested in more education on the effect of exercise, contact me or research peer reviewed articles with evidence-based practices regarding the effects of exercise! All of my education you read here today came from Barbara Yoost & Lynne Crawford, Fundamentals of Nursing and Medical-Surgical Nursing by Lewis, Dirksen, Heitkemper, and Bucher.