Physical Fitness and Exercise
Physical exercise is the performance of some activity in order to develop or maintain physical fitness and overall health. It is often directed toward also honing athletic ability or skill. Frequent and regular physical exercise is an important component in the prevention of some of the diseases of affluence such as cancer, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Exercises are generally grouped into three types depending on the overall effect they have on the human body:
Flexibility exercises such as stretching improve the range of motion of muscles and joints. Aerobic exercises such as walking and running focus on increasing cardiovascular endurance. Anaerobic exercises such as weight training or sprinting increase short-term muscle strength. Physical exercise is considered important for maintaining physical fitness including healthy weight; building and maintaining healthy bones, muscles, and joints; promoting physiological well-being; reducing surgical risks; and strengthening the immune system.
Proper nutrition is at least as important to health as exercise. When exercising it becomes even more important to have good diet to ensure the body has the correct ratio of macronutrients whilst providing ample micronutrients, this is to aid the body with the recovery process following strenuous exercise.
Proper rest and recovery is also as important to health as exercise, otherwise the body exists in a permanently injured state and will not improve or adapt adequately to the exercise.
The above two factors can be compromised by psychological compulsions (eating disorders such as exercise bulimia, anorexia, and other bulimias), misinformation, a lack of organization, or a lack of motivation. These all lead to a decreased state of health.
It should be noted that Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness can occur after any kind of exercise, particularly if the body is in an unconditioned state relative to that exercise.
Frequent and regular exercise has been shown to help prevent or to cure major illnesses such as high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, insomnia, cancer and depression, and many more diseases. However, the actual risk reduction may not be as large as one expects. Researchers have shown that three 10 minute walks burn as many calories and exercise your heart as well as one 30 minute walk. Exercise can also increase energy and raise your threshold for pain.
There is conflicting evidence as to whether vigorous exercise is more or less beneficial than moderate exercise. However studies have shown that vigorous exercise executed by healthy individuals can effectively increase opioid peptides (aka endorphins, a naturally occurring opiate that in conjunction with other neurotransmitters is responsible for exercise induced euphoria and has been shown to be addictive), positively influence hormone production (i.e., increase testosterone and growth hormone), and help prevent neuromuscular diseases. Some of these benefits can be realized by moderate exercise but to a much lesser degree.
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