What are the benefits of exercise?


In this blog post we consider some of the scientifically proven benefits of exercise and list some common questions and answers in relation to it.

Why should I exercise

Before starting to do any type of exercise you might wonder, why should I exercise in the first place and go through the hassle of getting sweaty and tired.

Well first of all let’s start and consider what type of exercise we are talking about, in this blog post we will consider hard physical exercise, defined by high pressure heart rate typical of running or lifting heavy weights.

Furthermore let’s only consider benefits of effects where you are doing hard physical exercise. The hard exercise thus include two different types of burning process defined as anaerobic and aerobic exercises.

Two major types of exercises

There exists two major types of exercise called anaerobic and aerobic exercise defined by the availability of oxygen in the blood when trying to do work.

But more on this later on, let’s stick to the subject of why you need to exercise, in short here are five typical benefits of hard exercise according to the national health guidelines for Americans: see source. The major benefits of regular hard physical exercise are the following:

  • Reduction of risk for mortality in general: People who exercise regularly have a reduced risk for mortality in a broad sense meaning that people regularly exercise in a similar manner.
  • Reduction of risk for cardiovascular diseases: As you increase your overall metabolic rates through regular exercises the risk for dying of cardiovascular diseases minimizes.
  • Reduction of risk for osteoporosis, obesity and cancer: Regular exercise increases the amount of new tissue and regeneration effects of the body through production of
  • Increased mental health: The conduction of regular exercise have benefits for the mental health of individuals by reducing the amount of stress experienced while simultaneously boosting self-esteem leading to a more joyous lifestyle.

These are just a small number of the expected benefits from doing regular hard exercise where the activity level is significantly increased. Thus if you are not convinced already there is another quite significant effect from regular exercises, increased mental health.

Science answers to mental health linkage

According to the WHO (World Health Organization) mental health branch, 5% of people globally is suffering from the mental health disorder depression.

Depression is this one of the most common mental disorders affecting people and the consequences of being affected by depression are devastating with the most severe cases leading to suicide and other society problems.

Some of the most common and devastating effects of depression are the following:

  • Changes in appetite or weight: Depression can lead to changes in a person’s appetite, which may result in significant weight loss or weight gain. Some people with depression may also experience cravings for certain foods, such as carbohydrates or sugar.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt: Depression can lead to feelings of low self-esteem, worthlessness, and guilt. People with depression may feel like they are a burden to others or that they are not good enough.
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions: Depression can affect a person’s ability to think clearly, concentrate, and make decisions. This can interfere with their ability to perform at work or school.
  • Sleep disturbances: Depression can disrupt a person’s sleep patterns, resulting in difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early. Alternatively, some people with depression may sleep excessively and find it difficult to get out of bed.

These are some but a few of the most serious consequences of depression and as we can see they are quite significant and dangerous which in the worst cases can have fatal consequences for the individual.

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Luckily for us there exist quite a number of remedies for depressive people and usually these consist of some simple yet effective rules which might need to be followed. These include some of the following remedies

  • Healthy eating and regular exercise: Improving sleeping habits with early bed and early rising in the morning.
  • Medications such as anti-depressives: These might help reduce some of the most serious symptoms of depression such as the suicidal thoughts or sedentary behavior.
  • Conversational therapy: Through use of conversations with professionals it is possible to mitigate some of the symptoms of depression as tools and frameworks given by professionals help individuals understand their situation better.
  • Support groups: By incorporating within a support group it becomes easier to understand ones troubles and needs which can help comprehend the situation which the individual is stuck within. This also incorporates the need for individuals to feel connection with multiple people.

These remedies for depressive symptoms are not a full list but are some of the most common answers to depressive symptoms which may be found and followed by individuals.

Anaerobic exercise

During anaerobic exercises, the absorption of oxygen is prohibited as the intensity versus the amount of oxygen available during the active period is restrained meaning that the body is forced to burn calories through processes not using oxygen therefore the name anaerobic.

By performing high intensity workouts the initial burning of calories follow the anaerobic processes and lasts for usually a small amount of time ranging from seconds to a few minutes. It is the body’s way of quickly reacting to the different abruptly starting environmental burdens which may be experienced.

This is key as the inadequately intake of oxygen compared to the necessary requirements due to the elevated activity level causes a particular type of burning mechanisms in the body to occur.

The burning mechanisms utilize stored energy in the muscles and tissue that is quickly used up to perform work from the muscles during the small high intensity period.

One important consideration when performing this kind of high intensity workout routine is the increase of endurance. Endurance is the ability to perform and conduct high intensity workout through periods of time during which the experience is somewhat unpleasant.

Aerobic exercise

The aerobic exercises which are being conducted require quite some intensity in order to truly facilitate the burning of calories through oxidized exercise. As with all types of exercise there exist a point where the body needs to start burning calories through the aerobic processes as the oxygen deficit initially utilized is paid off through use of the aerobic calorie burning processes.

The steady state oxygen consumption rate is related to the heart rate and volume associated with the transport of blood and oxygen through use of the red blood cells. In order to better understand illustratively how the oxygen concentration in the blood varies with exercise an illustration of the oxygen consumption have been made and outlined in Figure 1.

Here we can clearly see the initial oxygen deficit incurring as the amount of oxygen consumed is larger than the oxygen uptake, since the following heart rate increase easily follows that of the oxygen burn rate, we see an decrease in the oxygen benefit with time. This decrease in oxygen deficit is a direct result of the increased uptake of oxygen as the aerobic processes catches up with the remaining needs of the body.

Figure 1: Illustration of the oxygen deficit curve with relation to oxygen uptake when performing exercises. Illustration from source.

Afterwards when the oxygen demand wears off, meaning that the primary exercise most likely has stopped then the post-exercise oxygen consumption or (EPOC) period begins. This period is dominated by the amount of lactic acid produced in the muscles which has been built up during the exercises.

The amount of oxygen deficit needs to be ‘paid’ off through excess breathing after the end of the exercise as the body needs more oxygen in order to return to its normal state from the increased activity. Now that we have considered some of the individual processes of anaerobic and aerobic exercise lets now consider the difference between the two and how this contributes individually.

Difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercise

Now that we have covered both anaerobic and aerobic exercises in detail let’s now try and consider in a chemical sense what makes the two different. In the YouTube video below we uncover the chemical disposition differences between the energy creation from an anaerobic and aerobic process. This way the differences and similarities between the two start to easily unravel.

Video 1: Explanation of the anaerobic and aerobic exercises and how the generation of energy between the two processes are made.

The creation of energy, ATP, which the body is able to translate into motion of the joints or legs, is what creates the burning of calories and similarly within the body.

This production of ATP is absolutely critical for our warm blooded body as if it wasn’t possible to transform calories into ATP we wouldn’t be here.

The best exercises for weight loss

In order to facilitate weight loss it is important to consider how we actually lose weight in the first place. For weight loss to happen you are required to burn more calories than you ingest daily so that you are supposed to eat less than you burn and utilize to sustain yourself.

Portions are important

This is happening by moving and exercising and watching carefully what you ingest so that you don’t overeat so to say meaning that you shouldn’t eat anymore than you necessarily need to stay warm and healthy.

Therefore in order to start loosing weight an important parameter is exercising more and eating less, it is actually that simple! You need to watch what you eat and make sure that you exercise regularly keeping you in motion, hence burning calories, and making sure that you don’t eat to much.

According to a recent study from 2017 titled: “How does plate size affect estimated satiation and intake for individuals in normal‐weight and overweight groups?” Research have shown that the plate size effects the portions size and hence the amount of food you intake during a regular meal. The conclusion on the study was that the plate-size effect on overweight individuals differed from normal weight individuals and that the apparent feature of eating less from small plates can be affected from the type of dish and apparent appeal of the food.


There exists a plethora of reasons why it is important to do regular exercise and therefore singling out a singular reason is not really possible. However one of the best advantages of regular exercise is the apparent minimization of risks associated with depression including weight gain, suicidal thoughts and mental resistance against outside responses to the environment.

Furthermore when trying to lose weight it is imperative to increase the amount of exercise conducted such that the individual burning rate of calories remain high through the life-style changes which are being introduced.


Peng M. “How does plate size affect estimated satiation and intake for individuals in normal-weight and overweight groups?”. Obes Sci Pract. 2017 Jun 27;3(3):282-288. doi: 10.1002/osp4.119. PMID: 29071104; PMCID: PMC5598018.

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