Physical activity can obviously provide you with a number of health benefits. It can treat a wide array of heart problems, it can help you to live a longer and happier life, it can help you manage a number of mental health concerns, and it can prevent a cancer, obesity, diabetes, dementia, and many other medical conditions. However, there are a number of benefits of physical activity that you might not have expected.
It Makes Your Children Smarter.
Physical activity has long been associated with a healthier brain and with higher levels of intelligence. However, recent studies show that these benefits may also be passed down to your children. The mechanisms for how this works are unclear. Scientists already know that exercise can change how your genes work, so one possible hypothesis for how this work is that you end up passing down these gene changes to your children, a process known as epigenesis. This means that exercise changes your sperm so that it passes down certain desired intelligence traits to your offspring. A study on rats shows that these benefits can be passed down even if the mother does not engage in exercise. Only the father needs to exercise in order to have smarter offspring.
Although further research is needed before scientists are sure this works, the current literature suggests that fathers who exercise will have more intelligent children. Even if you did not exercise as a child, as long as you start to exercise now, you can make your future children smarter. Additionally, since children often learn from their parents, psychologists believe that if you are an exercising parent, your children are more likely to engage in physical activity as well. Children who engage in more physical activities tend to have higher levels of intelligence. Therefore, for fathers who failed to exercise before having children, if you start exercising after having kids, your children can still be smarter.
It Will Help You Sleep.
Mounting evidence shows that regular physical activity improves your sleep habits. It helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer. Research also shows that people who are in better shape are less likely to have some sort of sleep disorder such as insomnia or sleep apnea. The mechanisms for how physical activity helps with sleep are unknown, but some suggest that physical activity promotes body temperature changes that can help you fall asleep. It also can decrease the severity of mental health concerns that can make it difficult for you to sleep.
It Can Decrease Your Risk Of Pneumonia.
Pneumonia is caused by viruses or bacteria that make your lungs inflamed and it is responsible for millions of deaths across the globe. Elderly individuals and people with serious health concerns are especially at risk of dying from pneumonia. The risk factors of pneumonia include smoking, alcoholism, lung problems, kidney diseases, liver diseases, and other chronic conditions. A recent study showed that people who were more physically fit were less likely to get pneumonia. Even when age, smoking, alcoholism, diabetes, and other risk factors were taken into account, people who exercised were still less susceptible to pneumonia
Since regular exercise can result in good cardiorespiratory health, it is no surprise that it would help your lungs stay healthy enough to avoid lung problems such as pneumonia. Additionally, exercise has anti-inflammatory effects because it causes your muscles to release certain anti-inflammatory agents. Since pneumonia is marked by inflammation in the lungs, exercise can help to prevent this inflammation. Physical activity can also help to prevent many of the diseases that make you more likely to die of pneumonia, so even if you do get pneumonia, being physically fit will help you to better fight off the infection.
Sex Will Get Better.
Physical activity can help make sex better because a strong heart can increase blood flow in the pelvis, which can cause you get better erections because erections rely on adequate blood flow. Cardio workouts will be especially good for strengthening your heart so that it can give you better erections during sex. Additionally, if you are doing exercises that strengthen your pelvic floor muscle, then you can increase blood pressure in the pelvis, which will also help with erections, even if your heart is weak.
Because of the sexual benefits associated with physical activity, many scientists and healthcare providers believe that increased physical activity is a good way to both prevent and treat erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is when an individual cannot obtain or maintain a sufficient erection and it is often caused by inadequate blood flow. However, even if you do not have erectile dysfunction, physical activity can still provide you better blood flow and better erections, which can help to improve your sex life.
It Can Make Your Reflexes Better.
Recent studies show that people who were in better shape had better reaction times. Some of these improved reflexes had to do with that fact that certain types of athletes can learn to have certain reflexes. Athletes tend to be in better shape, so it makes sense that being in good shape can be correlated to better reflexes. However, even people who engaged in physical activity that did not require fast reflexes (such as running) were shown to have good reflexes as well.
Other research shows that a faster reaction time is correlated with higher levels of intelligence. Since physical activity can help improve your brain health, scientists believe that this is the reason that physical activity can also improve your reflexes. Improved reflexes is associated with longer life because it can help you to avoid injuries and accidents, so this is just another reason that physical activity can help you live longer.
If you are trying to lose weight or manage cardiovascular conditions, then exercise can obviously incredibly beneficial. However, mounting evidence shows that the positive effects of exercise are much more far reaching. Sometimes, it might be difficult to find the time or motivation to work out, but the results will probably be worth it.