As I continue preparing to take the Group Fitness Instruction Certification Exam, I find myself thinking critically about how teaching people to exercise effectively can improve the quality of their lives. Although I was already aware that exercise results in mood elevation while also fighting obesity, I recently learned that there are a wide variety of other wonderful benefits that result from physical activity. Here are three:
1. Exercise Can Help Prevent Cancer.
In discussing the benefits of exercise, Michael F. Jacboson cites studies on physical activity which indicated that those who were the most active were 21% less likely to develop colon cancer. Although individuals who were especially active were the least likely to be diagnosed with the disease, even individuals who participated in moderate activities like walking lowered their risk for colon cancer development. The studies Jacobson cites also reveal that breast cancer risks can be reduced through moderate to intense physical activity.
2. Exercise Generates New Brain Cells.
In a 2006 study demonstrating the benefits of exercise, University of Illinois researchers put 30 women and men between the ages of 60 and 79 through an exercise program. Although healthy, these individuals were sedentary. After six months of doing the program, the brain volume of participants had increased. Additionally, participants developed more connections between their brain cells. This activity is possible because engagement in aerobic activity increases the individual’s supply of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), a protein that protects the neurons of the brain while also promoting the development of new synapses and nerve cells related to memory and learning.
3. Exercise Increases Insulin Sensitivity.
When we put on weight and age, our bodies don’t respond as efficiently to insulin. This can be dangerous given that insulin is the hormone which permits blood sugar entry into cells where it will be used as fuel or stored as a future source of energy. Yet participating in strength-training and aerobic exercises helps improve insulin sensitivity as a result of the fact that it increases the number of glucose transporters in our bodies, thereby enabling us to respond better to insulin. The increased insulin sensitivity that results from exercise is very important because insulin resistance increases our risk of heart disease and type two diabetes.
As made plain by the information listed above, physical activity brings with it a wide variety of benefits. In recognizing this fact, individuals who are not already involved in an exercise program should attain a gym membership, hire a personal trainer, or start engaging in consistent physical activity so they can reap all the benefits that workouts bring. Good luck!