Six Unexpected Effects of Exercise

exercise400We all know we should exercise but, many people aren’t sure why. It’s not as simple as “calories in, calories out”. But what role does Exercise play in overall Health? Beyond Increased muscle mass, increased metabolism, heart health, etc. there are some additional benefits of exercise that you might not be aware of.

  1. Appetite and Weight Control:  Exercise is known to regulate important hunger management hormones such as leptin and ghrelin. You can literally exercise your cravings away!
  2. Metabolism and Insulin Sensitivity:  Exercise improves insulin sensitivity through direct action on the glucose transport molecules in the individual muscle cells.  It also affects the full range of hormones related to accessing stored energy and regulating how that energy is used.  This means you won’t store fat as easily and you’ll burn fat for energy more readily.
  3. Body Composition and Bone Density:  When you exercise, your muscles get stronger and very importantly, exercise stimulates your body to make stronger and denser bones.  Lack of exercise is, in fact, a more significant predictor of osteoporosis than diet.
  4. Stress Management:  Exercise is very effective at controlling cortisol levels. Scientists have known for years that elevated cortisol levels: increase weight gain, lower immune function, lower bone density, interfere with learning and memory, increase blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease risk… The list is endless.
  5. Sleep Quality:   Exercise regulates several key hormones related to circadian rhythms.  This means that when you exercise you fall asleep easier, sleep more deeply and with less interruption.
  6. Mood: Exercise releases endorphins which have a direct effect on several neurotransmitters that control mood.  This means that regular exercise can help fight depression and anxiety