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What are the Effects of Exercise?

Hillary Flynn
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The effects of exercise are both short and long term and can be physiological as well as psychological. Physiological effects of exercise include the impact on the body's muscles, bones, joints, and cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Most of the time these effects are positive and sought after, but occasionally strenuous exercise can have a negative impact. The psychological effects of exercise are commonly tied to stress reduction and mood elevation and many use exercise to combat chronic anxiety and depression.

Those who suffer from heart disease can improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of developing future complications by increasing activity. Just like the other muscles of the body, the heart becomes stronger with exercise which allows it to pump blood more efficiently. Those who exercise generally have lower heart rates because a stronger heart does not have to work as hard since more blood is pumped with each heartbeat.

Joints are also positively impacted as movement prevents stiffening and strengthens tissues surrounding the joints, and exercise improves balance and coordination, thereby reducing the risk of falls and fractures. The respiratory system also benefits from regular exercise. The body responds to exertion by increasing the rate at which one breathes. This supplies the muscles with the energy they require to function and reduces carbon dioxide. The long-term effect of this is an increased efficiency at using oxygen.

Though major depression should first be treated by a doctor, exercise has also proven to be an effective means of reducing symptoms associated with anxiety and depression. It is becoming more common for doctors to prescribe exercise in addition to other methods of stress reduction. A few physiological effects of exercise that are linked to decreased anxiety are a reduction in heart rate, muscle tension, and stress hormones. It is believed the psychological effects of exercise associated with depression are tied to changes in brain neurotransmitters such as epinephrine, endorphins, and serotonin.

Exercise usually has a positive effect, but some circumstances may result in injury. High impact aerobic exercise, such as running, is usually the culprit in these instances. The constant jarring motion of feet hitting pavement can cause injuries to the ankles, knees and back. To decrease the risk of injury, one should wear proper shock absorbing shoes, stretch before and after, vary workouts and combine strength training with aerobic exercise. Strength training is important because stronger muscles help the body to better control movement.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Hillary Flynn
By Hillary Flynn
Hillary Flynn's insatiable curiosity led her to join the The Health Board team, where she contributes well-researched articles on various topics. In addition to her work with The Health Board, Hillary manages an electronic publishing business that allows her to develop her skills in technical writing, graphic design, and business development. With a passion for satirical writing and traveling to historical places, Hillary brings a distinctive voice to her content.
Discussion Comments
By chicada — On Dec 25, 2010

@ GlassAxe- the effects of strength training and cardiovascular exercise on hypertension are very real and well documented. As for recommendations on the amount of exercise a person should get each week, you should turn to the CDC. They have established guidelines for children under 18, adults to 64, and seniors older than 64.

For the average adult, the CDC recommends that a person participate in a minimum of two and a half hours of moderate aerobic exercise and two sessions of strength training each week. The aerobic exercise can consist of things like riding a bike, jogging, brisk walking, or hiking. Strength Training can consist of any moderate activity that works all of the body's muscles. You could work the lower body one day, the upper body another, and the core during both workout sessions.

By Glasshouse — On Dec 22, 2010

@ GlassAxe- There are numerous benefits of exercise on blood pressure. There are clinical studies that have concluded exercise, especially aerobic exercise, independent on its effects on weight. Taking the time to work your heart, even if it doesn't reduce your waistline will help to lower your blood pressure. In these clinical trials and studies, scientists concluded that people who lead a sedentary lifestyle, those who do not get adequate exercise, are 30-50% more likely to develop heart problems and high blood pressure. These problems are not necessarily associated with weight, although obesity is often a side effect of a sedentary lifestyle.

If you do not have high blood pressure, regular exercise of any sort will aid in the prevention of high blood pressure. It just so happens to be that Aerobic exercise is the most effective type of exercise for those who have high blood pressure. In many cases, lifestyle changes are the best first line offense when diagnosed with high blood pressure since taking medications can be costly and have side effects.

By GlassAxe — On Dec 20, 2010

What are the effects of exercise on high blood pressure? Will exercise help lower blood pressure? If so, what types of exercise are best for lowering blood pressure? Any information would help.

Hillary Flynn
Hillary Flynn
Hillary Flynn's insatiable curiosity led her to join the The Health Board team, where she contributes well-researched...
Learn more
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