Exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness. It is performed for various reasons, including increasing growth and development, preventing aging, strengthening muscles and the cardiovascular system, honing athletic skills, weight loss or maintenance, and improving health also for enjoyment. Many individuals choose to exercise outdoors where they can congregate in groups, socialize, and enhance well-being.
Getting that morning workout in also inspires you to keep moving throughout the rest of the day. The Bringham Young University researchers also found in the same study that people who work out in the morning end up being more active in general.
To eat breakfast or not to eat breakfast before exercising? The question's been argued in health and fitness circles forever. And while there are certainly benefits to fueling up before a workout—it'll keep you going harder and longer—a 2013 British Journal of Nutrition study found exercising on an empty stomach can burn as much as 20 percent more fat than when a meal is eaten first.
In a study out of Appalachian State University, researchers asked study participants to hit the treadmills for 30 minutes at three different times of day: 7 a.m., 1 p.m., and 7 p.m. Those who worked out in the morning reduced their blood pressure by 10 percent, a dip that continued all day and lowered even more (to 25 percent) at night. Most heart attacks occur in the early morning, so the researchers speculated a.m. exercise may serve as a preventative measure.
Ever book an 8 p.m. class and feel like your body was too revved up to fall asleep afterward? You're not just imagining the connection. Better sleep is one of the many well-studied benefits of morning workouts. The National Sleep Foundation says while evening workouts can boost the body's temperature and stimulate the body, which can make falling asleep more difficult, working out in the morning leads to deeper, longer, and higher-quality sleep when you finally hit the pillow 15 or so hours later.
Hitting the gym in the morning on an empty stomach has also been shown to protect against glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, which are trademarks of type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the Journal of Physiology. During the six-week study, participants who exercised without eating first, compared to those who ate carbohydrates before and during the workout, showed improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, on top of not gaining any weight.
When you wake up in the morning, your testosterone levels are at their peak, according to the National Institute for Fitness & Sport. That makes morning the ideal time to knock out your strength-training workouts since your body is in prime muscle-building mode.
A recent study published in Health Psychology found that the most consistent exercisers are those who make it a habit. Waking up early and heading to the gym before the rest of the world needs something from you means you're more likely to exercise regularly. It's a lot easier to blow off a workout after work, say because a friend is unexpectedly in town or something comes up at work to derail you. Setting an early-morning alarm helps you be consistent, which means you'll tap into all those health benefits—including increased immunity, longevity, and a better mood—that go along with regular exercise.
Along with diet, exercise plays an important role in controlling your weight and preventing obesity. To maintain your weight, the calories you eat and drink must equal the energy you burn. To lose weight, you must use more calories than you eat and drink.
During exercise, your body releases chemicals that can improve your mood and make you feel more relaxed. This can help you deal with stress and reduce your risk of depression.
Regular exercise can help kids and teens build strong bones. Later in life, it can also slow the loss of bone density that comes with age. Doing muscle-strengthening activities can help you increase or maintain your muscle mass and strength.
Studies show that physical activity can reduce your risk of dying early from the leading causes of death, like heart disease and some cancers.
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