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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.