Do you go to the gym? Fitness connection to health is more significant than ever before. With new fitness regimes, people look to start a new trend. The latest fitness routines like Zumba and Pilates has reached an all-time high, that many people do it for fun. The net worth of the fitness industry was $94 billion just in 2019. But what are the benefits of fitness?
Agreed, it keeps you trim with a good body but how is fitness connected to health? Why should more people take an interest in fitness? Can fitness be harmful? Let’s take a look into all that.
Fitness Connection to Health
As many of you might be aware, exercising has both physical and mental effects. Studies have shown that lack of physical activity is one of the largest problems faced by the world. With obesity becoming a very problematic issue, other psychological problems also arise along with it that are harmful to the body.
Some people even tend to take up diets and fasting as a response to unhealthy body conditions. These are way more harmful to the body as it does not get all the nutrients for a balanced diet and causes way more side effects.
Evidence showing physical activity attributes to lesser chances of cancer, especially in the colon and breast has been revealed. Even prostate and lung cancer have lesser chances of developing in someone who exercises regularly.
Physical fitness connection is associated with disease prevention and helps control weight while maintaining healthy bones and muscles. Psychologists often encourage their patients to have a very healthy physical routine as it helps improve one’s mood, energizes the body and eventually provides better sleep.
Several studies have also shown greater cognitive brain function in adults and better academic performance in students who manage to fulfill the minimum requirement of daily physical activity. Doctors and Scientists recommend at least thirty minutes of daily exercise for adults and sixty minutes of exercise for people below the age of eighteen. Taking up a sport is also a good way to keep your physical body fit and mental body trim. While most of them are beneficial to us, overexertion can also be a problem. A healthy balance of exercise based on our body is the trick to keeping fit. Let us take a look at how fitness connects to different aspects of our health.
Physical effects of Fitness
Health-related to physical fitness has five different components. While visiting a gym, you might have seen different categories of equipment that deal with various parts of your body. Similarly, fitness connection has five different components in our body based on its function on our health. They are:
1. Better working of your heart and lungs
As you know, many heart patients are always advised by doctors to have a regular fitness regime. Exercise not only improves the quality of our hearts and lungs, but it also promotes a better flow of oxygen that boosts our energy and keeps us active for prolonged periods. It strengthens the heart and lung tissues that provide for a higher quality of life. It also increases our body metabolism. By ensuring our hearts and lungs are exercised daily, we ward off cardio diseases, which are a major cause for deaths in the United States. Activities like running, walking, swimming, or even just playing a sport consistently ensures a good cardio work out.
2. Strengthening your muscles
Muscles, a collection of tissues that are attached to the bone, that help mobilize the bones to benefit a lot from exercising. These are group-specific fitness but nevertheless helps the whole body. Strengthening your muscles is to increase the amount of force your muscles can take. It helps you lift heavier weight and eventually helps your back from straining while carrying heavier things.
Exercises vary differently to strengthen muscles in different parts of your body. For example, bicep curls and front lunges help the arms and legs, while mini squats help triceps and thighs and planks help your abdomen. An understanding of your muscles and careful planning of a muscle strengthening exercises according to your body is required to get the body (muscles) you desire.
3. Improving your muscle stamina
While muscle strengthening and muscle stamina may sound similar, they have a lot of differences. The main difference is that while muscle strengthening is to help lift more weight, muscle endurance is to ensure an active body without fatigue.
Muscle endurance helps you do activities for a prolonged period of time. Most sportspeople need this the most in order to play fast-paced games without tiring very easily. Lifting weights and sit-ups are the most common types of exercises that help in forming better stamina in the muscles. Planks and pushups also help in muscle endurance.
4. Body Flexibility
As one grows older, our joints start wearing out. Improving body flexibility is again a group-specific fitness regime that targets the joints. This form of fitness connection is one that is beneficial to everyone irrespective of age, gender or immunity. In order to improve your body mobility at a later stage in life, it’s advised to start exercising your body flexibility at an early point.
Inactivity is one of the major reasons for poor joint structure and eventual immobility. Stretching before any rigorous exercise is the most ideal to help strengthen the joints. A lot of exposure to vitamin D, the sun, is also beneficial.
5. Composition of your body
Our body consists of bone, fat, muscles and water. The ratio of the composition percentage of these need to be consistent for a fit body. A person who might have a higher fat percentage could have the same weight as that of a person with higher muscle mass. Hence a complete analysis of one’s body composition is needed in order to understand what part of the body needs to be worked on.
A person having more fat in their body will need exercises to reduce the fat and similarly, people with more water in their body will need other specific treatments for that. Usually, people with higher fat percentages are the ones prone to more illnesses like heart attacks and diabetes. All forms of exercise have a direct effect on our body composition and it needs to be regularly monitored to have a fit and healthy body.
Psychological effects of Fitness
As seen before, we know the fitness connection on the physical body. But it has similar implications on the mental body as well. With exercises, the body functions better resulting in better blood circulation, especially to the brain that helps maintain healthy cognitive activity. The higher the blood pumped to the brain, the bigger the hippocampus gets, allowing the brain to have increased memory power and clearer thinking capacity. Fitness helps the mind in three ways:
1. Daily level basis: Mood, energy, sleep, self-confidence, and self-esteem
As seen before, physical exercises keep you energetic throughout the day which helps you have a sharper memory. It creates an enormous sense of well-being and makes you feel more relaxed and positive about yourself.
Studies have shown that with higher levels of energy, you have a better mood and that helps you get through the day. It also boosts performance by enhancing your self-confidence and eventually you have higher self-esteem. Exercise helps reduce fatigue and you have better and healthier sleeping patterns that give you the energy for the next day and hence the cycle continues.
2. Long term effects: depression, anxiety, stress and overthinking
Exercising releases endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are the reason why we feel good and keeps us energetic. Studies have shown that exercising has a tremendous effect on depression and helps keep it at bay.
A study by the Harvard School of Public health found that 15 minutes of running or one hour of walking reduces the risk of depression by 26%. It works almost like anti-depressants for mild depression, without any side effects. It has also been proven that an exercise regime following diagnosis can even prevent a relapse of depression when followed regularly.
While exercising, our body gets into a rhythmic tone, which has adverse effects on anxiety and stress. The pattern our body gets into while exercising, like inhaling exhaling pattern or the footsteps while running or walking, can interrupt the flow of constant worry when we focus on it.
3. Brain illnesses like ADHD, PTSD, Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease
Physical exercise has amazing effects on brain illnesses like ADHD, PTSD, Dementia, etc. It does not form part of a cure for these disorders but helps balance the brain activity that causes these problems.
Studies conducted on people have shown that cardio exercises have produced new brain cells that help boost brain activity. This reaction is called neurogenesis. It also enhances the connection between nerve cells in the brain. It also increases the level of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine which reduces symptoms of ADHD.
Negative effects of (over) exercising on health
Ok, we have established the positive side of fitness connection to our body. It boosts our mental and physical health. But due to its increasing good results, many people tend to overdo it. This can have the opposite result from what is expected. Each person reacts to exercises differently and the trick is to find out what exactly is good and bad for your body.
While you might need longer hours doing one particular set of exercise, another set might cause you more trouble. Hence with slow and steady work out, we need to find out what suits us best. And once we start on a fitness regime, we have to follow through for a long time, until we master balancing our body healthily. The effect of suddenly dropping out of a fitness regime will only result in double the problem we started with.
Fitness Connection to Health and Overexercising
Over-exercising can cause a variety of other issues. If not followed according to the health requirements, muscles will be burnt instead of fat, allowing fatigue and weakness to seep in. A highly imbalanced hormone system is also a direct effect of over-exercising and it can cause a lot of other internal problems.
It can also cause dehydration and decreased appetite other than all the problems we try curbing by exercising like sleeplessness and anxiety. So control and keep a check on your work out. But make sure you do have your healthy dose of fitness in order to have a balanced life.
Is there anything else you have observed from your fitness trend? How is your fitness connection to your health? Let us know in the comments below.