The main health benefits of exercise are well known: it reduces the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and even corrects some of the effects of diabetes. But the benefits don’t end there – exercise has some not so obvious and even unusual perks.
Fitness Improves Eyesight
Regular exercise improves vision in the long term. Research from Portland State University has found a link between exercise and the incidence of cataracts, the leading cause of blindness worldwide. There is no exact description yet of the processes that help prevent the disease from developing. However, scientists believe it may be due to a decrease in free radicals. Free radicals are unstable particles that cause DNA damage, develop chronic diseases of the central nervous system and provoke premature aging. Exercise produces a number of powerful antioxidants in the body. They protect the body from harmful free radicals and help preserve vision.
Fitness Restores Heart Cells
Similar to gambling with Monday free spins that decreases negativity in your life, regular workouts can reduce your risk of a heart attack. But what if you’ve already had one? During a heart attack, some heart muscle cells die off, but there is still hope to bring them back to life. Research by French cardiologist Olivier L. Charançonni shows that regular aerobic exercise can help regenerate cells and repair some of the damage caused by a heart attack. Heart muscle cells are unlikely to regenerate completely, but the risk of further attacks will be significantly reduced.
Fitness Makes You Smarter
Getting ready for an exam? Or working on an annual report? Then consider taking a break for a light workout. Greek scientists have proven that exercise stimulates several cognitive functions at once: it improves memory, concentration, and increases the ability to view a situation from different perspectives. This happens by increasing blood flow to the brain and reducing the overall level of stress. But the most interesting and surprising part of the discovery is that exercise actually changes the composition of the brain. Aerobic exercises can increase the amount of gray matter, and with it, the brain’s processing power.
Fitness Improves Bowel Function
Endurance exercise reduces the risk of colon cancer by 50 percent, as well as reducing the risk of gallstones and reducing the incidence of inflammatory bowel disease. These are the conclusions reached by scientists from the Dutch Medical Center in Utrecht. The effect is explained by changes in the microflora caused by regular intensive exercise. But don’t rush to sign up for HIIT at the first symptoms of a disorder. Start with a visit to the doctor and depending on his recommendations choose the appropriate type of activity.
Fitness Supports Mental Health
A large cross-sectional study, which American scientists conducted from 2011 to 2015 involving more than 1 million subjects, showed that there is a tangible link between regular exercise and mental health. Exercising for about 45 minutes 3 to 5 times a week can make the nervous system more resistant to anxiety disorders and depression. The well-being of people who adhered to this exercise regimen improved significantly over the course of the experiment (by 43.2%). There is also evidence that all types of physical activity help improve symptoms of serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia. Regular fitness tidies up hormone levels, which in turn affects the regulatory function of the brain, and helps to cope more effectively with difficult experiences.