The Benefits of Exercise
The benefits of exercise – For those who keep healthy, exercise often is recommended. It is good advice, but it by no mean follows that we should all go into training as athletes. For some of us, a little exercise can go a long way.
Physical exercise can bring certain very definite benefits. Among them are the following
- Increases the rate and the force of the heartbeat
- Makes breathing deeper and more rapid.
- Produces heat
- Stimulates perspiration
- Increases the combustion of tats and carbohydrates
- Facilitates elimination
- Develops the muscles
- Promotes a feeling of general well-being
The first of the above-named benefits and the last are closely related. We feel more alert and more alive when we are flushed by exercise because our circulation has been stimulated. In no small measure a man is as healthy as he feels, and with the blood pounding more vigorously in his veins to give him a sensation of animation, then he actually is benefited. This is assuming that the exercise is not so violent as to throw a strain on the heart.
Increased lung capacity and greater supplies of life-bearing oxygen are of obvious benefits. Facilitating the consumption and absorption of food, adding energy, and stimulating elimination are all adding to the efficiency of the body’s functioning and so are beneficial.
Increased muscular strength may or may not be of benefit. Bulging biceps may mean nothing more than that the man who possesses them can lift heavier weights than the little fellow who is nothing but skin and bones. It does not mean that he is healthier or in better physical trim.
It goes without saying that the kind and amount of exercise you should take is determined in part by the purpose you have in mind. If your ambition is to have a silver trophy perched on your mantelpiece, you proceed somewhat differently from the way you do if you are merely trying to keep from getting sick.
In general, however, the business executive might consider that muscular development should not be the most important result of his exercise, but only a by-product. It isn’t the condition of the muscles that determine your health and physical fitness for the business of living; it’s the condition of your heart, your lungs, and your intestines.
Exercise probably will not help you to live longer than you would without it. An abundance of statistics bears witness to the fact that men is occupations which involve hard physical labor have a higher death rate than men in sedentary jobs.
The length of life varies with the rate at which it is lived. It seems as though each of us possesses a fixed store of physical energy; if we use it rapidly, it is soon gone and we die; if we use it sparingly, it lasts longer—and so do we.
Regular Exercise – The benefits of exercise
It is not to be implied, however, that any reasonable amount of exercise you are likely to take is going to shorten your life. So little will be the excess of vital energy you use up in exercising over the energy you would use without exercising that there will be no appreciable difference in your lifespan, Furthermore, stimulating the functioning of various parts of your body will more than offset in benefit the depletion of your fixed energy.
You will be the better for taking regular exercise, provided the exercise is moderate. How strenuously to exercise depends upon your physical condition, and this, in turn, depends upon your age, if you are young, squash, handball, or tennis are likely to be beneficial. If you are older, go in for something gentler—swimming, horseback riding, golf, or just plain walking.
Whatever your age or whatever the form of exercise you take, keep your effort below the point of exhaustion. Do a little less than it is physically possible for you to do, and the further along in life you are, the more necessary it is that you place no strain on your body. The principal damage strenuous exercise may do is to your heart, although excessive strain may cause a variety of mishaps from ruptures to bursting veins.
Let your exercise be not too strenuous.
Moderate exercise often can relieve tension and fatigue. If you are tired, traversing the length of the swimming pool a half dozen times will tend to freshen you considerably, and incidentally, will exercise nearly all the muscles of your body, in a lesser degree, swinging a set of Indian clubs may accomplish the same purpose. Or you may go through a regular set setting up exercises of bending, stretching, stooping, arm stretching, and the like.
Regular calisthenics can do much to keep you in good physical trim. If you are at a loss as to just how to go about it, you might make a practice of tuning in on the radio in the morning and going through the paces directed by the man at the microphone.
Not the least of the benefits of exercise are the psychological benefits. Exercising reluctantly, mechanically or listlessly will not do you half so much good as the same motions made with intense interest. For this reason, the best kind of exercise is that which involves competition.
Your exercise should be play rather than work, something you enjoy rather than something you go through as a matter of duty.
By all means, take up some sport, something that will provide you with play and recreation as well as with exercise. Do not take it so seriously, however, that you are likely to strain yourself in the effort to win. You will get the most out of it when it provides you with fun.