What Is Regular Exercise? - Low Stress Weight Loss
Regular aerobic exercise - Harvard Health Blog
Recker says that researchers speculate, however, that it has to do with exercise triggering osteocytes (the most mature bone cells) to instruct bone-building cells called osteoblasts to increase bone formation.
Wards off diabetes
According to Gerald Shulman, a cellular and molecular physiologist at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., exercising may prevent and even reverse .
Diabetes type 2 is a disease in which the body begins to ignore or fails to produce enough insulin (a condition called ). If muscles and other tissues cannot absorb glucose from the blood, nerve and blood vessel damage ensues, paving the way for heart disease, and infections.
"We've shown that in insulin-resistant individuals… build up of fat leads to biochemical reactions that interfere with the glucose-transport mechanism [leading cells to block the activity of insulin]," Shulman says. But physical activity helps reverse this process. He notes that when someone runs, cycles or does other vigorous exercise, muscle contractions ramp up production of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK), an enzyme that promotes the breakdown of the fats interfering with the cells' glucose transporters.
"It is very likely that there are differences in the extent to which individuals respond to exercise, just as there are in responses to medications," says Ronald Sigal, a clinical epidemiologist at the Ottawa Health Research Institute in Canada. Leon agrees, pointing to research demonstrating that exercise leads to varying decreases on (the fat surrounding organs), one of the key risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes.
Makes you smarter
Researchers have long believed that exercise boosts smarts but there was not any hard scientific evidence until a few years ago. Now, says Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a neurosurgery professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, it's known that exercise increases levels of some molecules in the brain that are very important for .
One such chemical is (BDNF), a molecule that promotes the growth and survival of as well as communication between them. Studies in rats show that physical exercise boosts BDNF levels in the , a brain structure critical for learning and memory formation, which in turn helps them remember how to navigate their way through underwater mazes. "The more exercise, the more changes in the brain; we found almost a linear relationship," Gomez-Pinilla says. "If we block the BDNF gene, we block this capacity of exercise to help learning and memory."
Numerous studies suggest that fitness enhances as well. A published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people 50 years and older with memory problems scored higher on cognitive tests after a six-month workout regimen. Those study participants assigned to exercise programs scored 20 percent higher than their sedentary peers at the end of the six months, and maintained a 10 percent edge one year after the trial ended.
But skeptics warn that not enough research has been done to confirm a link between exercise and human brain power. A recent on cognition in older adults (primarily those age 65 and older) by Dutch scientists published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine concluded that "beneficial effects of various exercise programs on aspects of cognition have been observed in studies among subjects with and without cognitive decline. The majority of the studies, however, did not find any effect."
The relationship between exercise and is complicated. Contrary to popular belief, working out at the gym every day will not necessarily lead to weight loss. "It is reasonable to assume that persons with relatively high daily energy expenditures would be less likely to gain weight over time, compared with those who have low energy expenditures," write the authors of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association's (AHA) . "So far, data to support this hypothesis are not particularly compelling."
Get Regular Exercise for Mental Health-Topic Overview
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) late this year released its new , calling for adults between the ages of 18 and 64 to exercise moderately (such as brisk walking or water aerobics) for at least two hours and 30 minutes or vigorously (running, swimming, or cycling 10 mph or faster) for at least an hour and 15 minutes weekly.
The longer, harder and more often you exercise, the greater the health benefits, including reducing the risk of diseases such as and , according to the recommendations, which were based on a decade of scientific research.
Studies have shown that people who engage in the amount of exercise recommended by the feds live an average of three to seven years longer than couch potatoes, according to William Haskell, a medical professor at Stanford University who chaired the HHS advisory committee. But how exactly does exercise accomplish this? And what about claims by naysayers that exercise not only isn't healthy but may actually be bad for you? Is there any truth to them?
Good for the heart and blood vessels
In the past decade or so, various studies involving thousands of participants have shown that workouts lower the risk of heart disease. "Exercise has a favorable effect on virtually all risk factors of ," says Jonathan Meyers, a health research scientist at the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Health System in California. The reason, he says: when a person exercises, the heart muscle contracts forcefully and frequently, increasing blood flow through the arteries. This leads to subtle changes in the autonomic nervous system, which controls the contraction and relaxation of these vessels. This fine-tuning leads to a lower (fewer beats to pump blood through the body), lower and a more variable heart rate, all factors that lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, he says.
Meyers says that exercise also limits associated with heart trouble, such as arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries around the heart, which may lead to . Many recent studies have focused on , a marker of inflammation. Meyers says that research showed that sedentary folks who embarked on three- to six-month exercise programs, on average, experienced a 30 percent dip in their C-reactive protein levels – about the same drop as someone given a (a cholesterol and inflammation-lowering drug). In other words, in many people, exercise might be as effective as an Rx in tamping down inflammation, one of the key risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Exercise also boosts cardiovascular health by decreasing the amount of plasma —fatty molecules in the blood that are associated with plaque build-up in the arteries— notes Haskell. What's more, he adds, physical activity helps reduce the particle size of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or so-called in the blood, and increase amounts of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), aka , which translates to less artery clogging.