Underrated benefits of exercise

What can exercise do for you?

This information is so important that my goal is to make it as brief and clear as possible. Exercise truly is medicine and this was a huge motivator for myself getting into the profession of physical therapy. Plus, who doesn’t love a good list?

  1. Reduce stress/improve mental health - Exercise has always been a way to help clear my head and function at my best. The endorphins released during exercise really assist in giving you a “feel good” feeling.

  2. Help to manage weight - This one probably isn’t a surprise. Weight loss is a common exercise and fitness goal that I see working within a gym. Burning extra calories by exercising is a crucial part of maintaining a caloric deficit in order to see real results.

  3. Improve cognitive/mental function and capacity - exercise helps to flood the body’s tissues with oxygen (a crucial ingredient to optimal function). Regular physical activity has been shown to improve academic test scores in addition to other measures of mental function.

  4. Boost energy - This can be counterintuitive, as obviously exercise can lead to a feeling of exhaustion. However, the physical stimulus of pushing your body kicks the mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell, as you may remember from high school) into high gear. This leads to a boost in metabolism and perceived energy levels.

  5. Improve self-confidence - After working with me for a while, most individuals are surprised what their bodies are capable of when you are working with your body and not against it. Whether it is lifting heavy things off of the floor or running farther/faster than you thought, sometimes seeing is believing.

  6. Decreased risk of injury - When you strengthen your bodies tissues, you improve your ability to tolerate external and internal forces and loads. Strength training and exercise increases the resilience of tendons, bones, ligaments, muscles, and connective tissue. You may be thinking, “If I get in a car accident, it doesn’t matter how many push-ups I did that day or how far I ran - I’ll still get injured” and you’re correct. However, having a higher level of fitness means that your recovery will be faster and less difficult.

  7. Increases your body’s efficiency - Exercise causes your body to adapt in order to improve. When you challenge yourself, your body essentially says “Wow, that was hard. I’m going to strengthen those areas that were challenged in case I’m asked to do that again.”

  8. Keeps you young - I often hear “Oh, I’m too old to do {blank}”. While there may be times when a certain level of fitness is a prerequisite, its more often a lack of physical activity that leads to decreased ability to do the activities you want to do. It has been shown in the research that you can combat the decreases in strength caused by aging with a good exercise regimen.

  9. Reduce your risk of disease - Exercise has been shown to decrease blood pressure, improve blood lipid profiles, increase cardiovascular efficiency, and increase insulin sensitivity while improving blood sugar regulation. What are two HUGE chronic diseases in this country? Diabetes and heart disease. Exercise is literally medicine and the key to combatting the epidemic of chronic disease in this country.

  10. Improve skin health - Exercise helps to oxygenate the skin by stimulating blood flow and helping to reduce the impact of aging.

  11. Improve sleep quality - Expending more energy within your day can help to make sure you are tired enough to fall asleep quickly and deeply at bedtime. As mentioned previously, exercise can help reduce stress and induce feelings of relaxation to assist in sleep quality.

  12. Reduce pain - The flood of oxygen to your body’s tissues during exercise can improve healing of many disease processes, and thus reduce pain. The chemicals and hormones released during exercise also have an analgesic effect, meaning pain reducing through use of your body’s natural pain management system.

  13. It makes you stronger - exercise provides a stimulus that your body adapts to, provided you achieved the necessary dosage. This can strengthen any tissue in the body, but typically talked about in terms of muscles and bones.

  14. Improve your mobility and ability to perform daily tasks - without a regular challenge, your body also adapts to exercise NOT placed on it, known generally as deconditioning. Over time, particularly with age, this can lead to inability to perform day-to-day tasks such as laundry or self-care. This also increases your risk of injury, as your body is now pushed to it’s limits doing simple, daily tasks.

  15. Reduce fall risk - Exercise improves your reaction time, walking speed, and muscle strength. All of these factors have been linked to prediction of fall risk, particularly in older adults.

About the Author

Dr. Ryan Queen is a doctor of physical therapy, certified strength and conditioning specialist, and level 1 certified precision nutrition coach, in addition to holding certifications in other adjunct treatment modalities and paradigms.

He created Revolution Performance as a gym-based physical therapy practice and wellness coaching service after becoming frustrated by the conflict of interest that health insurance company restrictions bring. His vision with the company has always been to provide high quality, holistic care while forming life-long relationships.

His mission is to help busy, hard-working adults get out of pain and dysfunction, whether from a current injury, a past one, or just daily aches and pains. In addition, Ryan has a passion for creating a proactive environment where issues are addressed before they become debilitating, or even before they exist.

After working 40 hours a week at a full time job while going to physical therapy school, Ryan knows how it feels to think you do not have enough time in the day to take care of yourself in all facets of health. It has been a goal of his to share the information and strategies he has learned to help others improve their overall health and become more productive.

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Medical Disclaimer: All information on this website is intended for informational and educational purposes only. The authors and partners are not responsible for any harm or injury incurred. It is important to seek professional guidance about your condition or injury. No guarantees have been made or implied regarding specific results of the services described.

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