By Heather L. Dyson
For some people, getting in shape is all about looking good. Maybe you have a beach vacation coming up, or you’re getting married next summer, or you just want to feel good when you look in the mirror. But fitness is so much more than being swimsuit-ready. Regular exercise has been shown to lower the risk of developing many chronic and lifelong medical conditions later in life, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. By making time for fitness, you are giving yourself the gift of health and longevity.
Cardiovascular health is a struggle for many people as they age. A combination of poor diet, lack of exercise, and irregular sleep patterns can be major contributors to this condition. If you have been hitting the drive-thru and skipping the gym for the last decade, don’t worry- it’s not too late. Exercise can actually help to reverse some of the precursors to cardiovascular disease by helping improve overall functions. When you exercise, your muscles are strengthened and can pull oxygen out of the blood more efficiently. This means that your heart doesn’t need to pump as often in order to get more blood to the muscles (1). Exercise has also been shown to lower both your heart rate and your blood pressure because it works like a beta blocker (1). These things combined can help lower or prevent the risk of heart attack later in life.
Exercise can also help to prevent the development of type II diabetes, which is caused by poor diet, inactivity, and obesity. Getting active has a number of benefits on the body’s ability to absorb sugar and regulate blood sugar levels. Exercise causes an increase in muscle glucose uptake, an improvement in blood lipid levels, and a decrease in insulin sensitivity (2). All of these things help your body maintain steady blood sugar levels throughout the day. No more drastic swings because you haven’t eaten in a couple hours! People can prevent the onset of diabetes by exercising regularly, and people with diabetes can better manage their condition with these same exercise benefits.
As people age, there is a natural loss of bone strength and muscle mass. However, this is worsened greatly by inactivity and can actually be slowed significantly through regular exercise. Exercise isn’t just about getting big pecs or toned triceps though. Our bones actually become stronger through regular exercise, just like our muscles. The stress placed upon bones during physical activity actually causes them to become more dense because of the increase in calcium content (3). Weight-bearing exercises and high impact exercises are the best ones to do to strengthen your bones (3). By having strong bones, you can maintain mobility throughout your entire life and prevent or delay the onset of conditions like osteoporosis.
When it comes to your health, it’s never too late to take steps to make it better. Steamboat Tennis & Athletic Club is here to provide solutions to help you get on the right track. Whether you need guidance on strength training or nutrition, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about joining our gym and getting the support you need!