Exercise is not only important, but essential for staying healthy. So the short answer to the question is: because it helps to keep you healthy. Let's look at why.
The magnificence of the human body is overwhelming when you really think about it. We've developed to such an extent that we can change the world we live in, but our fundamental physical traits have not changed for hundreds of thousands of years. So we still essentially have the same bodies we had when we needed to hunt, survive and perform all sorts of physical challenges. Yet our lives are now so much more sedentary by default. This leaves an imbalance that can lead to long-term illness and even unhappiness if we don't exercise regularly.
So it's no surprise that exercise, both cardio and resistance training, have many health benefits.
What are the Significant Benefits of Regular Exercise?
The benefits of regular exercise are numerous, and proven through years of testing and research, let's look at the most significant ones.
Exercise is good for your heart
Your heart is a muscle and although it's always moving to supply the body with blood, increasing its workload helps to train this muscle and make it stronger. A stronger heart won't have to work so hard when you're at rest and so you'll be naturally healthier. It'll reduce your blood pressure, so there'll be less day-to-day stress on your heart and cardiovascular system. Exercise also helps to reduce LDL cholesterol (the type that causes clogs in your arteries) and increases HDL (the good cholesterol). All of this significantly reduces your chance of coronary heart disease and stoke.
Exercise can help you to maintain a healthy weight
Exercise burns a lot more calories than sedentary activities and creating a calorie deficit is key to losing weight. Weight training and weight lifting help to build muscle and more muscle results in a more powerful metabolic rate. The faster your metabolic rate, the more calories you'll burn naturally when exercising and even when resting.
Exercise improves muscle strength and tone
Obviously weight training will achieve the greatest results, but even other exercise such as walking, running and cycling will improve muscular strength and tone, by helping to reduce intramuscular fat, renew muscle cells and improve neuromuscular efficiency. Better muscle strength is good for everyday tasks, such as gardening, cleaning, carrying heavy things and walking up stairs. Improved muscle tone is aesthetically pleasing and can help boost self-esteem.
Exercise helps reduce stress
Exercise is clinically proven to reduce stress, it does this in three ways. Firstly from a neurochemical basis, exercise helps the body to reduce levels of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also leads to the production of happy hormones (endorphines), this is why people who exercise regularly start to really enjoy it and can even become addicted! Secondly, exercise takes your mind of stressful thoughts, whilst you're exercising, this is especially true of sport and competitive exercise. Thirdly the short-term physical stress of exercise, leads to a long-term reduction in physical stress as your body gets fitter.
Exercise can help you sleep better
The physical exertion of exercise causes the body to go into recovery mode after exercise, this makes you feel tired and can mean falling asleep easier and getting a much higher quality of sleep. Whilst there is some proof that exercise can't help with insomnia in the short-term, it may help in the long-term as it can lead to a healthier, less stressful lifestyle, which in-turn can mean less chance of insomnia.
Exercise can increase energy levels
Exercise increases your cardiovascular efficiency, this means better blood-flow and less Oxygen and energy being needed for simple everyday tasks. This frees up energy and makes your body more efficient overall. This can have a powerful effect psychologically as you'll feel more energetic and aware.
Exercise can improve your sex life
There's a known relationship between physical fitness and sex drive. Generally fitter people have more and better sex. A study conducted by the University of California-San Diego measured 78 middle-aged men over the course of a nine month moderate intensity fitness programme and the consensus was that their sex lives had improved, both in terms of stamina and orgasm quality.
It can help reduce bone degeneration
Many older people, especially women, experience osteoporosis (reduction in bone density). This can often be a downward spiral as that can in-turn lead to less time spent on their feet and that means the bones reduce in density further. Exercise can both delay the possibility of osteoporosis, but also can help to reduce it, as it forces the body to renew the bone cells leading to greater bone density.
As you can see there's several significant benefits of exercising, these are what makes it so important to your everyday life. If you're new to exercise and are wondering where to start, here's one of our best selling products for beginners. It's our popular Quest Rower and is a bargain if you want to try some cardio exercise without committing a lot of money from the start!