Just a few millennia ago, a relatively short time in the history of mankind, humans only mode of transportation was their own two feet. If the wheel was already invented, it hadn’t been put to efficient use quite yet. Simple activities such as finding food or moving camp often required large amounts of rigorous physical exercise.
Fast forward to the modern era, where the conveniences of civilization have afforded us the luxury of having all of our needs met without travelling so much as a mile on foot in a week, let alone a day. While this reality can make for extremely comfortable living, it unfortunately tends to breed a lethargic, overweight population. As if becoming fat and lazy isn’t bad enough, a population ignorant of exercise also misses out on a slew of other incredible benefits.
Physical exercise may just be the best way to battle the “diseases of affluence” that have come with modern civilization. These conditions include cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, exercise can strengthen muscles, enhance the cardiovascular system, help maintain a healthy weight or lose excess mass, and promote overall health and wellness.
As if its physical benefits weren’t enough, exercise has also been shown to improve mental health, promote positive self esteem, prevent depression, and enhance both body image and perceived sex appeal. Frequent physical exercise even helps to boost the immune system and fight off diseases.
It is for these reasons and many, many others that exercise is commonly referred to as the “miracle drug”. Exercise is free, has no negative side effects, and boosts both physical and mental health in a way that no other known remedy can.
Exercise, granted, is a very general term. There are a wide variety of ways to perform it but they generally have a few things in common. Every form of exercise is designed to enhance or maintain physical fitness and overall wellness. While your morning jog may be significantly different from a pro-linebacker’s regimen, both are designed so that at the end of the day, the individual comes out healthier and more physically fit.
There are generally considered to be three types of exercise. Flexibility routines are primarily geared towards improving the range of motion of both joints and muscles. Anaerobic exercises, such as sprinting or weight-lifting, increase short-term muscle strength.Aerobic exercise (such as jogging and cycling), meanwhile, is intended to boost cardiovascular endurance.
If you are not seeking to build muscle mass or short term strength, it is highly advised that you undertake a cardiovascular endurance regimen. Flexibility is useful for practically all walks of life, from the compulsive couch potato to the professional athlete. There is much literature on exercise, but safety should always be the first consideration.
Before beginning an exercise program, consult with your primary care physician to ensure that it is safe. Then invest in some exercise equipment or perhaps even a personal trainer and watch your health improve before your very eyes.
If you exercise on a regular basis you will become healthy and live a better life!