Benefits of regular workout Just as everyone knows water is wet the fact that exercise is good for you is common knowledge. However, as with many things in our daily lives, it comes with its own set of risks. In this article Dr. Taher Mahmud of the London Osteoporosis Clinic discusses the ways that exercise can help your body, and how you can use it to your advantage rather than putting it under more strain.

Benefits of regular workout and common associated risks

The risks related to exercise are much, much fewer than the benefits associated with it. One of the most common occurrences is a musculoskeletal injury. These include strains, tears, stress fractures, traumatic fractures, and inflammation. Some ways to cut the risk of musculoskeletal injury include:

  • Regularly exercising so your body gets in the habit
  • Warming up before exercising, and stretching correctly after the exercise session is over
  • Knowing your limits, and participating in activities which are right for your body and its capabilities
  • Improving muscle strength and balance

Benefits of regular exercise and more serious risk

Some of the more serious risks surrounding exercise relate to cardiac problems, particularly in those who have a past history of heart problems. Arrhythmia, which refers to an irregular heartbeat, carries an increased risk during exercise.

Habitual physical activity can help to lower the risk of cardiac problems, even in the case of rarer heart conditions such as sudden cardiac death. In those who have a history of heart problems, exercise programs should be planned and tailored to each person. There are a number of ways to approach exercise, including endurance training, interval training, and resistance training.

In those with asthma or other respiratory conditions, care should be taken to avoid bronchoconstriction, a narrowing of the airways in the lungs. Many with these conditions can reduce the risk by altering their training techniques and taking certain medications.

It should be a part of everyday life, both for the here and now and to help reduce the risk of certain conditions developing in the future. In our last interview with Dr Taher Mahmud of the London Osteoporosis Clinic, we discussed the risks exercise can carry. Now it’s time to move on to the benefits. How can exercise improve our lives?

Our first point should definitely be enough to convince you – exercise helps you live longer. Studies of elite athletes have shown that they have 67% lower mortality compared with the general public. Even by finding the time to walk an extra ten minutes a day can help you improve your lifespan – almost by an extra two years. The more exercise you do, the larger this figure becomes.

Other benefits gained from exercise:

  • Cardiac benefits – habitual exercise can reduce the risk of coronary disease, cardiovascular death, and other cardiac conditions, even in the case of secondary prevention (after already experiencing complications of a heart condition)
  • Weight benefits – exercise to prevent or treat obesity is incredibly effective, and can contribute to a great loss in body fat, compared to simply following a weight loss diet alone.
  • Cancer prevention and treatment – there is evidence to suggest that exercise may provide some protection against certain types of cancer, including breast, prostate, endometrial, intestinal, colon, and pancreatic cancer. Exercise helps to reduce levels of oestrogen, and therefore may help to reduce the risk.
  •  Even in those with osteoporosis, exercise can help reduce the risk of fracture, when tailored to the patient and their needs.
  • Even in those with dementia, exercise and being active is important as it has a direct impact on their wellbeing and can significantly improve their quality of life.

It’s not just serious conditions – exercise can help even in small ways, such as through boosting our energy levels, improving our quality of sleep, building muscle tone, lowering blood pressure, and feeling fitter and healthier.

There are many different ways to exercise, and whether it is to help with an existing condition, or as a preventative measure, it a part of our everyday lives. The good points of exercise far outweigh the risks – everyone can benefit from being physically active.

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