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How Does Exercise Factor Into Overall Health? Where to Start?

Updated: Jul 18, 2020

Do you know what’s the secret to better health? It’s exercise. Being active doesn't just benefit our physique, it is also great for heart health and to prevent diseases such as cancer or diabetes. Several studies reveal that even the simplest physical activities done regularly will extend our lives.

Health benefits of exercise

There are many health benefits of exercise that we can fully enjoy, both physically and mentally.

It controls weight

Regular exercise can help you gain, lose, or maintain weight, depending on your goal. By engaging in physical activities, you easily burn calories. Doing a more intense kind of exercise results in more calories burned.

It boosts energy

There’s something about exercise that makes us want to keep on pushing. This is because exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to our tissues which makes the cardiovascular system work more effectively. As a result, our muscle strength and endurance are improved.

It fights health conditions and diseases

Being active improves the body’s good cholesterol which is the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and lessens the unhealthy triglycerides. The outcome is a smoother flow of blood, thus, proving the benefits of exercise for heart health. Exercise can also help prevent or manage high blood pressure, stroke, arthritis, and other health problems.

It improves our brain health and memory

Exercise and brain health goes hand in hand. The increase in heart rate we get from exercising helps promote blood and oxygen flow to our brain. Exercise also revives the production of hormones which strengthens the growth of our brain cells. Thanks to exercise, the brain’s “hippocampus”, which increases our mental function, continues to grow.

It improves sex life

If there’s no driving force for you to indulge in intimacy, exercise can help. Exercise and cardiovascular health, blood circulation, muscle toning, and flexibility all contribute to a livelier sex drive. Regular exercise also leads to better sexual performance and pleasure. Studies also show that being physically active enhances arousal for women and decreases the chance of erectile dysfunction in men.

Where to start?

Most people have a hard time starting or following an exercise plan. Maybe you’re too busy to squeeze in exercise or intimidated because you’ve never consistently in your life. No matter what the reason that’s stopping you from exercising, don’t give up. Exercise and mental health will eventually have a perfect partnership if you start with the right mindset and approach. Here are some reminders to jumpstart your exercise plans.

A little progress goes a long way

You don’t have to follow those drastic routines you watch online or even enroll at the gym. The key is to start with the basics like walking or going up and down the stairs. Even the simplest addition of physical activity already has a great impact on your mental and emotional health which will make your body yearn for exercise more.

Self compassion counts

Be kind to yourself. Don’t compare your journey or your current fitness level to others. This will just demotivate you. Focus on your progress and opportunities for learning and growth.

Be realistic

Let’s face it. Body transformation does not happen overnight. Don’t expect to be fit right away. Just be consistent in exercising and the results will show at the right time.

Eating and exercise

Even if you engage in the best exercise for overall health, without the right eating habits, your health goals may still be compromised. You may practice a plant-based and vegan diet but if you eat too much and don’t exercise, then you will gain weight. In contrast, you may fail to achieve your goals if you're just training vigorously but not watching your diet. Combining proper nutrition and exercise creates a synergy that produces better and more noticeable results compared to focusing on exercise or diet alone.

A plant-based diet works well with exercise. This diet is focused on foods that come primarily from plants. Aside from fruits and vegetables, those on a plant-based diet will also consume more whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

The benefits we get from exercising and following a plant-based diet include:

  • Improved blood flow and oxygen delivery to the body’s tissues

  • Enhancement of glycogen storage in muscle cells which produces greater endurance

  • Minimized oxidative damage

  • Reduced inflammation and speedy recovery after intense activity

  • Decreased body fat and leaner body composition

How a health coach helps you achieve your desired results

Achieving health goals can be challenging. But you don’t have to be alone on this journey. A health coach can help you identify any issues or habits that may stand in your way and help you overcome them. They create a clear action plan for you and provide you with the tools necessary to achieve your goals. Furthermore, a health coach is your friend and will offer all the moral support you need.

Being active brings a lot of benefits to our bodies. We exercise for heart health, brain health, and even for an improved sex life. Mix it with a well-balanced diet, and you’re guaranteed to achieve better health and an improved physique. Starting may be difficult but if you stay focused, you’ll reap great rewards later on.

Struggling to start a healthy lifestyle? Are you feeling demotivated or out of focus? Nicole, a certified health coach and personal trainer, will be happy to guide you on your fitness journey. Inquire about her health coaching services today!


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