A large segment of today’s society does not obtain sufficient amounts of physical activity. Many tasks that the body performs today are accomplished while seated or with minimal to no movement. Physical activity is beneficial for good health in several ways. It maintains muscular tone and stimulates metabolism. It is also important for brain health and minimizing the potential for mental illness. The body is designed for activity. Consistent activity is key to maintaining the integrity and function of the brain.
Animal life requires movement for survival. Animal bodies are structured for coping with the physical effects of gravity. Muscles, joints, blood vessels and the heart are positively affected by movement and exercise. Specially, exercise develops lean muscle which aids in controlling weight and reducing body fat and it slows down age-related muscular strength declines. According to The Journal of the American Heart Association, blood vessels of older athletes behave like those of people half their age. Studies show that the bodies of active older adults are more functional than those of their counterparts who are less active.
Physical activity is energy dependent. However, a balance between the amount of energy consumption must match energy expenditure (i.e. what one eats must match physical activity). Physical activity is necessary for optimal health. Obesity is a major concern in society mainly due to minimal activity and poor diet. Consuming sufficient amounts of nutritious food provides the energy needed for performing daily activities. Through the various metabolic processes, foods are converted to energy and are accessible to be utilized by the body. An adequate supply of energy enables proper functioning of the heart and the skeletal muscles during activity and at rest.
The benefits of physical activity extend to the brain as well. In the January 2019 Ace Fitness Journal article “Exercise is Good for Mental Health”, a study involving analysis of 852,000 self-reporting participants revealed that there was 43.2% reduction in mental health challenges among exercisers versus non-exercisers. Individuals who took part in team sports, tai chi or yoga practice, experience 23% fewer mental health burdens. Exercise most positively effects mental health within the following guidelines; duration: 45 – 90 minutes, frequency: 3 – 5 days / week, Intensity: 7 – 10 out 10 (10 as very intense). Physical activity provides increased flow of fresh blood to the brain. The overall result is a net positive outcome for the entire body, brain included.
Studies indicate that supplementation and combining exercise with mental tasking can forestall neurodegeneration, the age-related decline of brain function). Healthy lifestyle choices can aid in promoting brain integrity and function. Increased intake of magnesium (Mg) has been shown to decrease risk of stroke by 41%. High blood levels of CoQ10 can ease the degree stroke related brain damage. When exercise-induced increased blood flow to the brain is coupled with mild cognitive tasks (effortful learning), neuroplasticity increases. Neuroplasticity is the term used to highlight the brain’s ability to learn new tasks.
A large segment of society chooses to forgo physical activity. This has detrimental consequences for the brain and the body. The body is structured for movement. A regimen of exercise engages the muscles, joints, heart and brain. As a consequence, the functionality and integrity of these structures can be prolonged. The brain receives the benefit of decreased neurodegeneration due to exercise-induced increased blood flow. Supplementation can also aid in maintaining brain health and function. Movement is good for the body; structured physical activity can significantly benefit the brain.
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