Work it Out



By Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi

Maintaining general health is not confined to eating right and maintaining personal hygiene. Health is also improved and maintained by regular human activities that encourage enzymatic metabolism and hormonal activities within the human body. Regardless of age, sex or physical ability, benefits of exercise are difficult to ignore. Physical exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health. It can be prescribed to correct an impairment, improve musculoskeletal function, or maintain a state of well-being.
Beyond being performed for weight loss or entertainment, it can boost immune system and fight diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity and type II diabetes. Moderate exercise has been associated with 29% decreased incidence of upper respiratory tract infection.
Endorphin, a hormone that diminishes the perception of pain is promptly released by the body during exercise. Endorphin also triggers a positive feeling in the body and acts as a sedative. This gives a feeling of excitement and happiness.
Do you need to sleep better and deeper? Take on moderate exercise not too close to bedtime and then sleep comes on- better and deeper. Exercise promotes the secretion of serotonin, a hormone responsible for a restful sleep and a healthy appetite. Sleep plays a vital role in immune function, metabolism, memory, learning and other vital functions. Sleep also prompts alertness and excitement.  Lack of sleep affects mood, motivation and perception of events.
High density lipoprotein (HDL) is boosted and unhealthy triglycerides decreased during a workout.  This helps prevent high blood pressure that is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. It increases blood flow, supplying oxygen and nutrients to body organs.
Inability of insulin to carry out its work effectively can lead to an increase in blood glucose levels, causing diabetes. Physical activities help insulin absorb glucose into all body cells for energy thereby, reducing blood glucose levels.
Exercise improves muscle strength and boosts stamina. It is also very beneficial to a pregnant mother and her unborn child as it prevents constipation, hemorrhoids, leg cramps, back pain and swelling of the ankles. Exercise done before and during pregnancy is also suggested to lower risks of heart defects in the new born.
However, people with critical illnesses and pregnant women should be well guided in choosing a workout pattern. Continuous aerobic activity should preferably be low to moderate in intensity and last for 20-60mins.
References
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/88648-overview#aw2aab6b2
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/13/exercising-for-two/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_exercise
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