10 Beneficial Effects Of Exercise That You May Not Be Aware Of

Your body is hardwired genetically to move and exercise in order to achieve optimum health.

Exercise is a direct switch to turning on the genes that regulate higher order functions of your brain and body.

You can increase your mental energy, prevent disease and lengthen your lifespan through exercise.

This week’s blog takes a look at 10 beneficial effects of exercise that you may not be aware of:

  1. People who exercise have been found to be more productive


Work-site fitness center participants have improved worker productivity and fewer short-term disability workdays lost.,_Worksite_Fitness.2.aspx

  1. Symptoms of depression can be reversed through exercise

Regular physical exercise may improve a variety of physiological and psychological factors in depressive persons by improving depressive states and the hormonal response to stress that occur concurrently with improving physiological fitness.

A number of psychological and physiological factors have been proposed to explain the effect that exercise has on depressed mood. Psychologically, there is increased self-efficacy, a sense of mastery, positive thoughts, distraction from negative thoughts, and enhanced self-esteem. Physiologically there is an increase in neurochemicals such as norepinephrine and serotonin.


  1. Exercise can support detoxification

Liver glutathione (GSH) protects against oxidation and the structural and functional damage to tissues that occur when the body is exposed to toxic chemicals.

Endurance training, which results in a repeated oxidant stress, results in an adaptive mechanism preventing GSH depletion. This in turn may lead to improved maintenance of tissue GSH homeostasis and the protection of enzyme pathways involved in detoxification and metabolism.


  1. Exercise promotes anti aging and longevity

Exercise  plays a role in the induction of antioxidants, DNA repair and protein degrading enzymes, resulting in a decrease in the incidence of oxidative stress-related diseases and retardation of the aging process.


  1.      Exercise improves memory and cognitive abilities and may protect against neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease

Exercise favorably affects neuronal health, neuroinflammation, vascularization and the  neuroendocrine response to stress. In addition, it also has positive effects on glucoregulation and cardiovascular health that, when compromised, increase the risk of developing cognitive impairment and Alzheimer disease. Exercise also benefits control processes of cognition such as  selective attention, planning, organizing, multitasking and working memory.


  1.       Exercise in schools has a favorable effect on behavior problems and attention

There is a growing problem of concentration and attention deficits in kids. Exercise has been shown to positively affect cognitive performance. This appears to be due to the neuronal connection between the cerebellum and the frontal cortex.

Short bouts of exercise is all that is needed to activate this connection and improve attention.


  1.     Moderate Exercise can  protect you from infections and diseases.

Studies on the influence of moderate exercise training on immune function have shown that near-daily brisk walking compared with inactivity reduced the number of sickness days by half over a 12- to 15-week period without a change in resting immune function.

It is important to note that there may be an ‘open window’ of impaired immunity with more intense exercising or over-training, which may last between 3 and 72 h, depending on the immune measure, where viruses and bacteria may gain a foothold, increasing the risk of sub-clinical and clinical infection. The infection risk may be amplified when other factors related to immune function are present, including exposure to pathogens during travel, lack of sleep, mental stress, malnutrition or weight loss.


  1.  Did someone say sex? Exercise impacts your sexual health

Exercise frequency and physical fitness enhance attractiveness and increase energy levels, both of which help people to feel better about themselves.  Those who exercise are more likely to experience a greater level of satisfaction and a positive perception of self.  In addition, those who feel better about themselves may perceive they are more sexually desirable and may perform better sexually.  The majority of individuals who exercise regularly are healthier, feel better about themselves and the way they look and consequently may be more willing and able to have sex.


  1.       Exercise helps combat addictions


Participants in a study looking at aerobic exercise as an adjunctive treatment for drug dependence demonstrated a significant increase in percent days abstinent for both alcohol and drugs at the end of treatment. Those who attended at least 75% of the exercise sessions had significantly better substance use outcomes than those who did not. In addition, participants showed a significant increase in their cardio-respiratory fitness by the end of treatment.


You probably already know that exercise plays a key role in the prevention and/or management of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, cancer, strokes and arthritis.

As you can see, the evidence is weighing in for a number of other conditions. Exercise just might be the fountain of youth and an important alternative to pharmacological approaches to many conditions that affect western society.


About the Author

Dr. Geoff LecovinNaturopathic Physician/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist/Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Corrective Exercise Specialist/Performance Enhancement Specialist/Certified Sports Nutritionist/View all posts by Dr. Geoff Lecovin