Exercise also affects the lining of blood vessels, a layer of tissue called the endothelium that’s just a single cell thick. When this layer of tissue is damaged, it’s easier for dangerous blood clots to form.
When the body is inactive, the cells in the endothelium get sluggish and don’t sit in the vessel wall properly. However exercise, which causes blood to flow more swiftly and under greater pressure, realigns the cells.
About 12 hours after a single bout of exercise, the cells have repositioned themselves to be in line with the flow of blood. This makes blood vessels work better, keeping them open and elastic, rather than stiff, narrow, and clogged.
In the brain, recent studies have shown that physical activity makes the brain more connected by bulking up the white matter, the wiring that transmits signals between nerve cells. And older adults who exercise have more gray matter in areas of the brain responsible for self-control, memory, and decision making.
Exercise also beats medication for some ailments. In head-to-head tests, it works as well or better than pills for depression. In other conditions, like Alzheimer’s and arthritis, it’s been shown to delay disability.
It’s enough to convince anyone to lace up. Or at least it should be.
Yet this message seems to be falling on deaf ears.
This year’s survey by the Physical Activity Council found that 28% of Americans say they are totally inactive. It’s the highest level of physical inactivity measured by the survey since 2007.
Track your own steps every day.
When you're ready to get going and not sure where to start, we can suggest three levels of fitness.
- Level one is just to walk and keep track of your steps. You can do this with a trendy fitness tracker, even an inexpensive pedometer or a smartphone app will do it.
Once you’re hitting that goal on a regular basis.
- Level two is to do three to five defined exercise sessions each week, with a goal of 30 to 45 minutes of aerobic activity -- like running or pedaling on an elliptical -- each time.
- Level three is to add a couple of days of resistance training each week.
Have a consistent exercising routine and you will have more energy.
People sleep better when they exercise routinely, and then your body just becomes more efficient, jolly and ready to make their dreams come true.