Move Your Body To Improve Your Health and Well-Being

people running in the city

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If you want to improve your health and well-being, you should move your body more often. Whether you feel sluggish, tired, or unhappy, or you deal with chronic pain, stress, or anxiety, moving your body can make a big difference. It can improve your mood, energy, and well-being in many ways. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel when you move your body to improve your health and well-being.

When you move your body, you’re not only exercising or losing weight. You’re also doing something that makes you feel good and alive. You can move your body in many ways, such as walking, dancing, jumping, gardening, playing with your kids, or doing chores. The important thing is to find something you enjoy and can do regularly. That’s how you can move your body to improve your health and well-being in 2023 and beyond.

Move More, Feel Better: The Importance of Physical Activity for Muscles, Bones, and Joints

Man running in the field

Moving your body involves performing physical activities that exercise the tissues that make up the musculoskeletal system. These activities can be of different types and intensities, depending on the objective and condition of each person. Some examples of physical activities that strengthen muscles, bones, and joints are:

Moderate or intense aerobic activities: They are those that increase the heart and respiratory rate, such as fast walking, running, cycling, swimming, or dancing. These activities improve blood circulation and the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the musculoskeletal tissues, which favors their growth and repair. They also stimulate the production of hormones that regulate bone and muscle metabolism, such as growth hormone, testosterone, and estrogen.

Muscle strengthening activities: They are those that imply resistance or a load for the muscles, such as push-ups, sit-ups, lifting weights, climbing stairs, or digging in the garden. These activities cause muscle contraction, which generates micro-injuries in the muscle fibers that are repaired with more protein and minerals, increasing strength, power, and muscular endurance.

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Bone Strengthening Activities: They are those that generate an impact or stress on the bones, such as running, jumping rope, skiing, or practicing martial arts. These activities stimulate the formation of new bone cells and the deposition of calcium and phosphorus in the bone, which increases bone density and hardness. They also prevent the loss of bone mass that occurs with aging or a sedentary lifestyle.

Flexibility Activities: They are those that improve the range of motion of the joints, such as stretching, doing yoga, or Pilates. These activities favor the elasticity and lubrication of the tissues that form the joints, such as cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. They also prevent joint stiffness and pain that can limit mobility and functionality.

Move More, Get Sick Less: The Importance of Physical Activity for the Immune System

woman enjoying in the field

Moving your body improves your immune system, and therefore improves your health by increasing the body’s ability to defend against infections and diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. Physical activity can help the immune system in several ways:

Boosts immunity: Exercise enhances oxygen intake and energy use, which helps the body get rid of toxins and waste from the body. This improves the function of immune cells to fight off pathogens and infections.

Antioxidant effect: Exercise stimulates the production of antioxidant substances that protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage DNA and cause inflammation and cell aging. Antioxidants can also improve immune cell function, helping to protect you against pathogens.

Inducing the release of certain hormones: Exercise causes the release of hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol, endorphin, and dopamine, which have positive effects on the immune system. Adrenaline and cortisol are stress hormones that prepare the body to respond to a threat, increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and the mobilization of immune cells. Endorphin and dopamine are pleasure hormones that generate feelings of well-being, and euphoria and have an analgesic effect, reducing pain and inflammation.

Modulating the central nervous system and neutralizing psychological stress: Exercise has a regulatory effect on the central nervous system, which is responsible for coordinating the body’s responses to internal and external stimuli. Exercise improves communication between the brain and the immune system, facilitating adaptation to environmental changes and stressful situations. Exercise also reduces levels of anxiety and depression, which are factors that can weaken the immune system.

Activating the expansion of immunocompetent cells and improving their function: Exercise induces a transient increase in the number and activity of immune cells, especially white blood cells or leukocytes, responsible for recognizing and eliminating pathogens. Leukocytes include T lymphocytes, B lymphocytes, NK or natural killer lymphocytes, monocytes, macrophages, and neutrophils. These cells move from lymphoid organs (such as the thymus, spleen, or lymph nodes) into the blood and peripheral tissues during and after exercise, increasing their ability to detect and eliminate invaders.

Move More, Digest Better: The Importance of Physical Activity for Digestion

woman abdomen

Moving your body involves performing physical activities that benefit the functioning of the digestive system. The digestive system is responsible for transforming the food we eat into nutrients that the body can use. Moving your body can improve digestion in several ways:

Strengthens the abdominal muscles: Physical activity strengthens the muscles of the abdomen and stimulates the intestines, helping to properly move food through the digestive system. This prevents the feeling of heaviness, constipation, and diverticulosis.

Fight stress: Physical activity reduces stress and anxiety levels, which are factors that can alter the balance of intestinal flora and cause digestive discomforts such as gastritis, ulcers, or irritable bowel syndrome. Physical activity releases endorphins and dopamine, which are hormones that generate well-being and relaxation.

Create synergy between the mind and digestion: Physical activity improves coordination between the central nervous system and the digestive system, facilitating adaptation to environmental changes and stressful situations. Physical activity also improves communication between the brain and the gut, which is known as the second brain, as it contains millions of neurons that regulate digestion.

Improves appetite control: Physical activity regulates hormones that control appetite and satiety, such as leptin and ghrelin. This helps to avoid excessive or compulsive eating that can cause indigestion, reflux, or abdominal swelling. Physical activity also helps maintain a healthy weight, which prevents overexertion of the digestive system.

Improves the intestinal flora: Physical activity favors the balance of the intestinal flora, which is the set of microorganisms that inhabit the intestine and perform important digestion and health functions. Physical activity increases the diversity and number of beneficial bacteria, which help digest food, produce vitamins, and protect against infection.

Optimizes digestion: Physical activity improves oxygen delivery and energy consumption, which aids the body in eliminating toxins and waste. This improves the cells’ ability to absorb nutrients from food and prevents fat accumulation in the liver.

Move the Body and Heal the Mind: The Science Behind Exercise and Mental Health

Mental Health word

Physical exercise is not only good for your physical health but also for your mental health. Numerous scientific studies have shown that exercise has positive effects on mood, anxiety, depression, stress, and other mental health conditions. Next, we will explain how Moving your Body can Heal your Mind:

Exercise releases chemicals that make you feel good and happy: Exercise increases the production and release of neurotransmitters such as endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine, which are responsible for regulating mood, pleasure, reward, and well-being. These neurotransmitters bind to specific receptors in the brain and produce a feeling of euphoria, contentment, and happiness. Also, exercise lowers cortisol levels, a stress hormone that can cause anxiety and depression if it stays high for too long.

Exercise improves self-image and self-esteem: Exercise allows you to take care of your body, improve your physical health, prevent or treat chronic diseases, maintain a healthy weight, and improve your appearance. All this makes you feel more comfortable and confident with your body image, which increases your self-esteem. In addition, exercise allows you to see your progress, push your limits, reach your goals, and feel proud of your achievements. This reinforces your self-efficacy, that is, your ability to face challenges and solve problems that come your way.

Exercise improves cognitive functions: Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which improves the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to nerve cells. This favors the formation of new neural connections, especially in the hippocampus, a region of the brain involved in memory, learning, and emotional regulation. Exercise also stimulates the release of neurotrophic factors, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which promote the growth and survival of neurons. All this improves cognitive functions such as memory, attention, learning, and creativity. Additionally, exercise prevents or delays cognitive decline and dementia in older adults by protecting the brain from aging and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Exercise allows socializing: Exercise allows you to interact with others who share your interests and goals, whether it’s on a sports team, in a gym class, or a walking group. This makes you feel more accompanied and supported by your social network, which reduces the feeling of loneliness and isolation. Socializing also allows you to express your emotions, receive advice, learn from others, and have fun. These social benefits improve your mental health and quality of life.

How to Exercise Safely and Effectively for Your Body and Mind

men on bicycles in the countryside

Now that we know how moving your body can heal your body and mind, it’s important to know how to exercise safely and effectively. Not all types of exercise have the same benefits or adapt to the same needs. In addition, there are some recommendations and precautions that we must take into account to avoid injuries or negative effects on physical or mental health. Here we will see some recommendations:

  • Perform physical activity regularly and constantly, at least three times a week and for 30 minutes each time. This will allow you to maintain the benefits in the long term and create healthy habits.
  • Choose a type of exercise that suits your preferences and abilities. You don’t have to do a high-intensity sport or competition if you don’t like it or don’t feel comfortable. You can opt for more moderate or playful activities, such as walking, dancing, swimming, or practicing yoga. The important thing is that you enjoy the movement and that you do not see it as an obligation or a punishment.
  • Combine aerobic exercise with anaerobic and flexibility and balance exercises. Aerobic exercise is an exercise that involves an increase in heart and breathing rates, such as running, jumping, or bicycling. Anaerobic exercise is an exercise that involves brief, intense muscle contraction, such as lifting weights, crunches, or push-ups. Flexibility and balance exercises are those that involve stretching your muscles and holding postures that challenge stability, such as pilates, tai chi, or ballet. These types of exercise have different benefits for physical and mental health, so it is convenient to alternate or combine them in the same session.
  • Find a safe and pleasant environment to exercise. Avoid places with a lot of traffic, noise, or pollution. It prefers places with good lighting, ventilation, and temperature. Choose natural spaces, such as parks, forests, or beaches, if you can. These spaces will help you relax, connect with nature and breathe fresh air.
  • Take advantage of the exercise to meet new people or strengthen ties with friends or family. You can join a fitness class, a sports club, or a walking group. You can also invite your friends or family to exercise with you. This will allow you to share experiences, emotions, and advice with other people who have the same interests and goals as you. It will also make you feel more accompanied and supported by your social network.

Conclusion

Moving your body is one of the best things you can do for your health and well-being. It can improve your physical and mental health, enrich your social life, and add meaning and joy to your life. It can also help you prevent or manage various health conditions, deal with stress and emotions, connect with others, discover new passions, and appreciate life more.

You don’t need to be an athlete or a fitness guru to move your body more. You just need to find something you enjoy and do it regularly. You can start small and gradually increase your activity level. You can also choose activities that suit your preferences and goals.

Moving your body is not only good for you, but also for others. By moving your body more, you can inspire others to do the same. You can also contribute to a healthier, happier, and more peaceful world.

So, what are you waiting for? Get up, Move your Body, and be happy!

Move Your Body To Improve Your Health and Well-Being

4 thoughts on “Move Your Body To Improve Your Health and Well-Being

  1. I fully agree with you that moving your body makes you feel better, physically and mentally. And it can certainly help you to lose weight and tone your muscles to have a better body shape. But there are so many other benefits to staying active, with improving your overall health being one of the most important ones to me. 

    The endorphins that are released when exercising, really helps with that feel good factor. Even just brisk walking, will get the blood flowing and give you a sense of achievement. Thank you for this reminder to move my body. 

    1. Thank you for your kind words and for sharing your experience. I’m glad to hear that you are enjoying the benefits of staying active and feeling good about yourself. You are right, there are so many other benefits to moving your body besides weight loss and muscle tone. Improving your overall health is a great motivation to keep moving. I appreciate your feedback and support. Keep up Moving!

  2. I have found that when I exercise on a regular basis not only do I feel better but my pre-diabetes is kept under control. Being active is one of the best things you can do for your health, especially if you are older. If an older person who has not exercised very much in recent years, they should consult their physician to be sure they can handle the workouts. It is best to start small and work up. You will have a feeling of accomplishment.
    Jerry

    1. Hi Jerry, thank you for your comment and for sharing your experience. I’m glad to hear that you feel better and have your pre-diabetes under control by exercising regularly. You are right that being active is one of the best things you can do for your health. I agree that consulting your physician and starting small are good tips for anyone who wants to start or resume exercising. Keep up the good work and stay healthy!

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