August 4, 2020
Drinking and smoking are some of the most popular addictions people frown upon. Yet, an addiction to food, partnered with a sedentary lifestyle, is never properly addressed. In an era where profit-driven corporations control our food, it seems impossible to remain healthy. We might not be able to control what influencers or corporations do to rein in profits, but we can implement the "miracle drug," exercise, into our lives. Doing this will allow us to start our journeys towards healthier versions of ourselves.
Note: This blog post is focused on starting a journey towards a healthy lifestyle, not ending obesity. Diet, exercise, and genetics combined play a crucial role in health. However, taking one step at a time is more likely to result in the formation of at least one healthy, life-long habit.
Especially during the week of final exams, it's easy to get stressed out. Some students even struggle with depression during the school year. More often than not, stress levels increase as a result of being sedentary. Therefore, sitting and studying for hours on end is doing more harm than good. When you exercise, dopamine and endorphins are released. These neurotransmitters not only improve your mood temporarily, but also your perspective on life. If you exercise frequently, it's more likely that you have a growth mindset and are more open to change.
Endurance athletes, such as runners, often have low heart rates. In order to sustain long periods of stress on their bodies, their hearts' chambers expand. As a result, the chambers can fill with more blood, and the blood doesn't need pumped as often.
An enlargement of the heart that you should not strive for is cardiomegaly. High blood pressure and stress are a few of the causes, which are not healthy to begin with. If cardiomegaly is not treated, it can lead to sudden death. More often than not, exercise will help prevent heart complications by strengthening the heart. Personally, I'd rather be safe than sorry.
Low-density lipoproteins, or "bad" cholesterol, are notorious for causing the buildup of plaque in arteries. As they flow throughout the bloodstream, they attach to arterial walls. This buildup narrows the arteries, and can even block them. When you exercise, "good" cholesterol is released to move the "bad" cholesterol to the liver. The liver excretes the "bad" cholesterol, and the risk of heart disease decreases. "Good" cholesterol is natural in foods like beans and fruits, and exercise improves their ability to combat "bad" cholesterol.
Exercising breaks down tissues and depletes the amount of stored energy in the body. Consequently, the body requires deep sleep to repair itself and regain its energy.
Also, sleep quality is dependent on the time of day you exercise. To maintain a balanced sleep schedule, intense workouts should remain scheduled for mornings. Cardio and strength training improve your focus and alertness, which are two things you don't want before bed. Instead, low-intensity workouts, such as yoga, should make up your routine before bed. You should naturally fall into a deep sleep that makes you feel good in the morning.
In summation, exercise is a fundamental part of a healthy lifestyle. You don't have to lift hundreds of pounds or run marathons; all you need is a reason, and mine is to live a long and fulfilling life. Live a life that you're proud of, and leave a legacy that is looked fondly upon.
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