I talk about what kind of exercise we should do with different pathology. I often discuss exercises as a prevention method. In this website, I also wrote a few articles on career development for physical therapists and student physical therapists. What I still have to do is, to talk about the effects of exercises!! Why do we need to work hard to do something called “exercise or work out” (unless you are like me who enjoys that sweaty hour followed by body ache!). What does exercise do to our body, bones, muscles, soft tissues, etc.. Important to know, isn’t it? So here is to the main effects of exercise.
Effects of Exercise on Bones:
Exercise plays a crucial role in maintaining bone mass and mineral density of bone. This, in turn, helps to prevent osteoporotic bones. Loading or weight-bearing exercises significantly increases the bone mineral density of the hip and lumbar spine. Exercises help to improve the skeletal profile of adults mainly women who are a high risk of fractures.
Effects of Exercise on muscles and soft tissues:
Exercise is proven to increase the contractibility of muscles and soft tissues (mainly collagen tissue). Collagen tissues comprise of the majority of soft tissues in our body (tendons, ligaments, skin tissue etc). Exercise helps to maintain the elasticity of collagen tissues and increases the cross-links of fibers.
Effects of Exercise on Heart and Heart muscles:
Aerobic exercise reduces resting heart rate. It increases stroke volume during rest as well as during exercise. Exercise does not change maximum heart rate but a person with aerobic training takes longer time and higher workload to get to maximum heart rate. Exercise also lowers your resting systolic blood pressure.
Effects of Exercise on the pulmonary system (lungs):
A physical therapist (PT) can guide and educate patients with wide spectrum of pulmonary disorders. A PT can teach pacing exercise, fatigue management, energy conservation techniques, efficient breathing techniques, and coughing. Exercise can help to improve the aerobic capacity of the lungs. This improves or stabilizes the vital signs during functional and recreational activities. This becomes a huge deal for a patient who gets fatigued very easily like just with breathing. Thus, exercise helps with overall health and quality of life.
Effects of Exercise on Brain (Nervous system) :
Exercises, mainly aerobic exercises, have neuroprotective effects on the brain. Recent researches identify that exercise affects specific chemical markers in brain. This in turn to prevent cognitive decline and defends brain from the degenerative process. Regular exercises help prolong the onset of Alzheimer disease. Research shows that regular aerobic exercise of moderate intensity for 12 weeks improves brain metabolism. Exercise also is proven to improve memory and concentration.
Effects of Exercise on Immune system:
The research shows that exercise helps to improve immunity. It improves the body’s resistance power and thereby making a person less sick. Although, strenuous exercise can depress the immune system temporarily making a person more prone to infection mainly upper respiratory tract infection. The detailed research regarding this is still under its way. But general criteria is moderate to high-intensity exercise on a regular basis increases the body’s ability to fight with bacteria and thereby improving a person’s immunity.
Effects on the GI system:
Exercise helps to control and reduce intra abdominal fat and thereby acts as a protective cover for mainly metabolic and systemic disorders. Exercise helps to maintain and reduce body weight. Mobility during exercise supports the digestion.
Effect on Mood:
It boosts energy and thereby helps with uplifting your mood. Group exercises can provide socialization, which is a huge plus point on the psychological state of a being. It helps with weight management so “feeling of looking good” plays a role here. Regular exercise is strongly linked to less stress and less anxiety in patients. It also improves time management skills and thereby making a person more efficient overall.
Effects of Exercise on Cancer patients:
Exercise helps to increase muscle and bone mass. It increases endurance and so a person feels more energetic and less tired. Exercises like Lymphedema therapy can help with swelling. Tapping and relaxation techniques can help to reduce pain and stress. Breathing exercises can help with anxiety, nervousness, and pain.
In summary, I will stress on needing professional advice before you start any kind of regime or have any conditions concerning health. I did not go in detail about biological and physiological changes in the body due to exercise as it figured it will be too detailed information for all readers. Hope this helps.