- Exercise & Fitness
The Secret Benefits of Exercise Revealed
Why Should You Exercise?
Secret #1: Exercise Releases Endorphins and Boosts Your Mood
One of the biggest advantages to exercising is that it makes you feel better through the release of endorphins. Just what are endorphins anyway? Endorphins, neurotransmitters found in the pituitary gland and the nervous system, are hormone-like substances produced by the brain which act as the body’s natural painkillers. They are your body’s feel good chemicals. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which can produce of feeling of euphoria, and a general state of well being. It’s that general feeling you get after a great workout that you just can’t explain.
In addition to releasing endorphins when you exercise, your body also releases adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine. Adrenaline is a hormone which stimulates the heart rate, contracts blood vessels and dilate air passages. This increases blood flow to the muscles and oxygen to the lungs. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter found in the digestive track, in blood platelets, in the pineal gland found in the brain, and in the central nervous system. It is also known as a happiness hormone because it promotes a sense of well-being. Dopamine is yet another hormone and neurotransmitter which regulates movement and emotional responses, and controls the brain’s pleasure centers.
Secret #2: Exercising Burns More Calories at Rest
By adding strength training to your exercise routine, you will strengthen your body and increase your muscle mass. And more importantly, since muscle burns more calories at rest than fat, by building your muscle mass, you increase your resting metabolic rate.
For example, one pound of muscle burns approximately 5 to 6 calories, verses one pound of fat which burns 1 or 2 calories. It may not sound like a lot, but it can add up over time. And the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn. Plus, while you're building your muscles, you're toning and sculpting your body in the process.
Secret #3: Exercising Improves Your Focus
By participating in regular exercise, whether through sports or at the gym, and eating a healthy diet, your blood flow is improved and your hormone levels are optimized, thus increasing your ability to focus and concentrate. If you are in a job or situation where you have to sit down a lot, be sure to get some exercise during the day, whether that means walking outside or take a 10-minute stretch at your desk. Remember to add a little healthy protein, such as almonds, or hummus and vegetables during your break.
Secret #4: Exercising Decreases Risk of Illness and Helps to Reduce Stress
Regular exercise increases and enhances circulation of your white blood cells, which assists in the elimination of harmful bacteria, thereby reducing the risk of illness.
As mentioned earlier in this article, exercising also releases endorphins and adrenaline hormones, which improves our mood and overall feeling, and helps you deal with stress more effectively.
Yoga especially helps to regulate breathing and relaxes the body by releasing tension from muscles, increases blood flow in the body, and promotes feelings of well-being.
Secret #5: Exercising Speeds Up Recovery of Injury or Surgery
When you exercise, you increase muscle tissue and white blood cells, and your body is prepared to recover from damage caused by injury, or surgery. This is because it is able to reduce inflammation that may occur with injury.
Secret #6: Exercising Increases Your Cardiovascular Endurance
By exercising more regularly, including some strength training, your stamina and cardiovascular endurance will increase. Exercising improves your circulatory system, strengthening your heart muscle and improving your blood’s oxygen carrying capacity. In addition, exercise improves your breathing as well. You will notice a difference in and out of the gym. For example, while exercising, you will notice a difference in your ability to complete more reps, lift heavier weights and enjoy exercising a lot more. Outside the gym, you will notice your ability to walk, run, dance and complete other activities with more ease.
Case scenario: Climbing a Lighthouse
After 6 months of improving my exercise routine and adding strength training, I was able to climb 2 huge lighthouses (St. David’s Lighthouse and Gibbs Hill Lighthouse), each containing over 100 steps, while vacationing in Bermuda. So overall, regular exercising can help you enjoy life more and conquer things you may not normally try to do. Climb a lighthouse today!
Secret #7: Exercising Can Improve Your Love Life
There are many reasons why exercising can improve your love life:
Exercising makes you look better and feel better. When you feel better about yourself, you radiate and look hotter!
By exercising regularly, you increase your flexibility and range of motion.
Also, as mentioned above, exercising enhances blood flow, and improves your stamina!
How Many Calories Do Activities Burn?
Approx. Calories Burned Per Hour
Cleaning, Light to Heavy
Walking (2.0 mph)
Aerobics, Low Impact
Vigorous Exercising (Calisthenics)
How To Challenge Your Body With a New Workout Routine
Like me, maybe you always loved to exercise but you’ve been bored with the same routine. Sometimes we hit a plateau and it’s necessary to change our routine to better challenge ourselves and our body.
In my case, I exercised my whole life but I felt like I was burned out and needed something new to try. I knew I didn’t like jumping, running or yoga, but I read how important strength training is if you want to sculpt your body and get stronger.
One day about a year ago, I was in Target and accidentally came across a DVD by Jillian Michaels called Shred-it with Weights. It was on sale for $7.00 so I figured, what do I have to lose? So I bought it and gave it a try. I had some small free-weights at home, but in the video, she used kettle bells. I had never heard of them, so I started looking online to see where I could buy some. In the video, Jillian Michaels uses kettle bells which adjustable weight discs, but I couldn’t find the same ones in the stores, so for the time being, I purchased a few kettle bells in different sizes, first starting with a 5 lb. and 8 lb. kettle bell, then adding a 10 lb. kettle bell. They look like this:
They were reasonly priced for beginners. The Shred It With Weights video has 2 levels, which is perfect if you’re just starting out with strength training. I did the video a couple times a week for a couple of months, slowly progressing to level 2. I felt better and started losing some weight.
Around the same time, I started thinking more about strength training. The power of attraction as told in “The Secret” worked at that point, attracting me to a gym. In a local township newspaper, I saw an ad for a workshop called “Weight Training for Women”. Perfect! I registered for the workshop which ran for 4-6 weeks. I continued with several more workshops and then decided it was time for me to join the gym, which offered strength training classes as part of the membership.
It’s now one year later and I go to my gym 3 times a week, attending TNT (Tighten and Tone) and Sculpt classes for strength training. There’s a room full of 10-15 women in each class, an awesome instructor who wears a headset and fast-paced dance music. It’s very motivational and a great way to make new friends.
Secret Benefits of Exercise – Summary List
- Mood booster - May produce a feeling of euphoria through release of endorphins in the brain
- Burn More Calories at Rest – The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn through the day
- Better Focus – Exercising increases blood flow which aids in daily activities
- Reduce Stress and Decrease Illness –
- Recover from Injuries Faster
- Increase your Endurance and Stamina
- Have a better relationship and love life!
Jillian Michael's Shred It With Weights
There are lots of Jillian Michael workout routines online on youtube.com, including Shred-It With Weights. I like having the CD to pop-in on my big screen TV if working out at home. Level 1 of the workout is also on YouTube:
Jillian Michaels: Shred it With Weights Workout- Level 1
Recommended Exercise Routines and Videos
Another favorite of mine is the Jillian Michaels: 6 Week Six-Pack Abs Workout- Level 1:
Other workouts that I love that easy and quick (good for alternate days when you want to squeeze in some shorter workouts, in between your more intense workout days) are listed below: