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Road To Health | How important is exercise?

By: Ann Marie Coppen

Anne Marie Coppen

PhD, FNP, Nurse Practitioner

For a personal response to your health question, Ask Ann Marie at askannmarie@lindora.com. Selected questions will be featured in future columns.



Related Articles

healthy exerciseIn past blogs, we have discussed the importance of exercise and how it aids in weight loss. Let us take a deeper look at the multiple benefits of exercise that not only aids in weight loss but also can improve your sex life, your mood, and, ultimately, your life!

According to the Mayo Clinic, not only can exercise help in controlling your weight, but it can also:

  • Boost Energy

Exercise increases transportation of oxygen and nutrients to your tissues resulting in a more efficient cardiovascular system. When your lungs and heart work more proficiently, you have more energy. In addition, doing aerobic exercise improves your stamina by helping your body become more efficient in its use of energy.

  • Improve Mood

Exercise can provide a great platform to release stress and improve your mood. Exercise stimulates brain chemicals to be released (serotonin) which can decrease symptoms of depression. In addition, endorphins are released with exercise. Endorphins provide a euphoric feeling many times referred to as a “post-exercise high”.

  • Improve Sleep

Exercise can help you fall asleep faster and allows you to deepen your sleep. You wake up more refreshed!

  • Improve Sex Life

With consistent exercise, not only do you have more stamina, you look and feel better which may prompt a positive effect on your sex life. In addition, the Mayo Clinic suggests that regular exercise can lead to enhanced arousal for women. Men who do regular physical activity also benefit. Studies have shown that they are less likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction when compared to men that do not exercise.

  • Control Weight & Ward off Disease

Regular exercise helps maintain your weight and build up your immune system which will help to prevent your chances of contracting disease.

Revisiting the multiple health benefits of regular exercise:

  • decrease risk of heart disease and stroke
  • burn more calories
  • improve immune system
  • ward off type 2 diabetes
  • decrease cholesterol
  • decrease some types of cancer
  • increase flexibility and endurance
  • prevent bone loss (weight bearing exercise)
  • improve posture

If you are a beginner, start off slow and steady. Please do consult with your doctor prior to starting an exercise regime.

How can drinking water speed up weight loss?

Studies show that drinking water can actually increase calorie burning by increasing energy expenditure (the rate at which calories are burned). It is suggested that the reason for the increase in calorie burning is prompted by the body’s attempt to heat up the ingested water.

  • When starting weight loss, it is not unusual that the initial weight loss is due to loss of water. It is very important to stay hydrated with water to avoid dehydration. Dehydration slows down the fat burning process.
  • When you burn calories, inevitably there are toxins that are created. Water plays a crucial role in flushing these toxins out of your body.
  • When following a weight loss program, it is recommended that you increase your fiber intake. Adequate water amounts can assist the function of fiber and decrease constipation.
  • Water consumed with a meal can make you feel more full, therefore, reducing your calorie consumption.

Other benefits of drinking water include:

  • Increasing metabolism
  • Decreasing drowsiness
  • Preventing water retention
  • Increasing energy level

How much water should we drink each day to realize all these great benefits?

This is a great question that may depend on your current health, how active you are, and where you live. According to The Institute of Medicine, the average recommended daily fluid consumption for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The recommendation for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day. Please note that this recommendation is for ‘fluid consumption’ versus ‘water consumption’; all fluids consumed count towards your daily totals.

Water makes up about 60 percent of our body weight – every system in our body depends on it for optimum health. So do your best to get the recommended amount of fluids each day.

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