wellness insights

How Exercise Impacts Metabolic Health

Exercising regularly, even if just moderately and at low intensities, is beneficial for overall health as it boosts communication between skeletal muscles and fat tissue, and improves metabolism and performance. In addition, when you exercise, you activate metabolic changes in non-skeletal-muscle tissues, which can effectively help you reduce metabolic disease associated with aging and obesity. 

Exercise and Disease Prevention

Studies have shown that exercise is a robust modulator of metabolism and a powerful protective agent against metabolic disease. This is likely to be because it improves metabolic function in multiple organs. Exercise helps regulate insulin sensitivity and overall metabolism.  As a result, it can significantly reduce the risks for chronic disease states, including type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), two primary metabolic disease states that are increasing at epidemic rates.

Recent research uncovered that the effects of exercise in the prevention and treatment of metabolic disease are more beneficial than some low-performing pharmacological agents. Being physically active helps us feel better, prevents or slows many diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and dementia, and even helps us live longer. However, these studies also indicate that a certain minimum volume of exercise or physical activity is required for normal metabolic function – the US physical activity guidelines and the American Heart Association recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity weekly. 

Combatting Covid-19 With Exercise 

In an effort to stop the rapid spread of the Covid-19 epidemic, quarantine measures were introduced all around the world in early 2020. However, the resulting social isolation and physical stagnation had collateral effects on the isolated patients` health, and especially in those at higher risk, including older people, those with hypertension, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and CVD, and patients with respiratory diseases or conditions.

A certain level of physical activity and exercise is required to maintain adequate physical and mental health and is crucial to combat the severity of Covid-19 infection. According to a report in Harvard Health, researchers found that consistently inactive people had a significantly higher risk of hospitalization, ICU admission, and death after getting COVID-19 than those who were active for at least 150 minutes per week. Additionally, those active for over 10 minutes per week had some protection against severe illness or death from COVID-19 — though not as much as those who got the entire 150 minutes. 

Takeaway 

Exercise is crucial to maintaining good physical and mental health and effectively reduces the severity of Covid-19 infection. By continuing regular exercise, even while staying at home, people can effectively counteract negative consequences of certain diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, CVD, and respiratory infections, as well as reduce the risk of age-related conditions, such as frailty, sarcopenia (loss of muscle tissue due to aging), and dementia. In addition, physical activity and exercise help improve mental health and combat adverse quarantine-induced psychological effects such as post-traumatic stress symptoms, confusion, anger, infection fears, frustration, and boredom.

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