With all the talk about exercise, fitness, and the long-term health benefits of getting fit, why does the rate of obesity keep rising in the U.S.?
When a car begins to run rough or erratically, it's time for a trip to the local mechanic. When a body begins to perform at a level less than expected, it's time to sign up and get a membership at a local gym or fitness club. It's no secret that regular exercise is going to pay off big with lots of positive and healthy long-term benefits.
It's not rocket science. It's a simple fact that exercise is going to do more for the fitness, health, and quality of life of people who exercise regularly. It sounds like an easy choice, but the rising obesity rates in this country indicate that fitness and exercise are not being practiced as much as necessary to lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, or get back into shape to stave off disease.
Exercise Benefit – Weight Loss
Perhaps one of the most obvious benefits of exercise and fitness is weight loss. It's really a quite amazing process in which the amazing human body can convert just about any junk crammed down the gullet into energy to be used immediately or stored for later use. Think what the body could do if it is nourished with proper nutrition and actually burns more fuel than it stores. That is weight loss, and it's a huge benefit of exercise and physical activity.
Weight control is perhaps the second most useful benefit of a regular exercise routine or fitness plan. Without changing the diet, an average person could lose weight by simply walking four miles every day and lose about 12 pounds in six months, 24 pounds in a year. Four miles a day is easy to do if it's broken up into shorter one-mile walks throughout the day.
Exercise Benefit – More Strength
All that walking is going to result in some stronger legs, core, and pulmonary system. Stronger muscles require more calories to function, so it makes sense to strengthen muscles through training in order to burn more calories overall. Other strengthening benefits will be an increase in muscle tone and definition, stronger bones, stronger heart, and a better complexion.
Because muscle mass is a metabolically active body tissue, it burns more calories even when not being worked. For every pound of muscle mass added to the body, an additional 35-50 more calories are burned as fuel. An extra five pounds of muscle burns as much as 250 more calories per day. Strength training includes weight–bearing exercises like walking, jogging, and dancing.
Exercise Benefit – Walk for a Bigger Brain
That's correct, a bigger brain. The old stereotype of the big, muscular brute who is a little light in the head fat may be just that. The human brain benefits from the additional blood flow provided when exercising. That extra blood flow brings additional oxygen and nutrients to the brain, allowing for quicker firing synapses, which means quicker thinking.
Apparently, walking to clear one's head is one of the best physical exercises for better brain function. According to The Franklin Institute, studies of senior citizens who went for a regular walk showed significant improvement in memory skills. Walking also improved their ability to learn, concentrate, and reason. The risk of stroke decreased by 57 percent in folks who walked just 20 minutes every day.