What benefits of exercise help enhance a person's health needs?  Please include to the benefits of a wellness program and specific health-related components.  Discuss at least two of the...

What benefits of exercise help enhance a person's health needs? 

Please include to the benefits of a wellness program and specific health-related components.  Discuss at least two of the components you could work on specifically.

(For example, I want to improve my body composition so I will do this specific cardio exercise for this specific amount of time, at however many times per week..etc.)

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Many health experts agree that a combination of aerobic exercises and resistance exercises works best. 

Aerobic Exercise - This form of exercise greatly benefits the lungs, heart, and cardiovascular system (ciruclatory system consisting of the heart and blood vessels). Among the benefits from this type of exercise are 

  1. a decrease in body fat (this condition often helps reduce chances for diabetes)
  2. a lowering of glucose-stimulated insulin, resulting in resistance to diabetes
  3. a decrease in total cholesterol
  4. an increase in HDL cholesterol, the "good cholesterol" 
  5. an increase in heart function and its ability to pump more blood, resulting in a lower heart rate
  6. a lowering of blood pressure 
  7. a lowering of resting heart rate
  8. an increase of oxygen output to the body
  9. a decrease in anxiety and reaction to stress
  10. a reduction of cortisol and other stress hormones*
  11. an increase in cardiac output which, then, increases the body's endurance, enabling more aerobic work

When a person does aerobic exercises, that individual becomes healthier because the body and bodily functions work more efficiently, much like a tuned-up enging. Stress--a real threat to people's lives nowadays--does not so adversely affect the body because with exercise the body is returned to its normal function with the release of endorphins which mitigate the adverse affects of stress hormones such as cortisol. (One of these adverse affects is weight gain.)  Recent studies have shown that people who engage in aerobic exercise are also more resistant to infections and disease since their cardiovascular system is healthier and more efficient.  According to studies by the Mayo Clinic, aerobic exercise reduces the following conditions:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Digestive problems
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight gain
  • Memory and concentration impairment

Weight-Bearing Exercises - This form of exercise works well in combination with aerobic exercise to benefit people's health.

While weight-bearing exercises burn more calories because they utilize many in order to build muscles, a person can more quickly burn carbohydrates with aerobic exercise. But, the effects of weight-training go on after a person has stopped working out because with more muscle-mass, more calories are burned at rest than if one has more fat because it takes more calories to support and build muscle.

Resistance exercises not only build and maintain muscle, but they strengthen the skeletal structure. This benefit reduces injuries to bones such as fractures, and it is very beneficial to anyone with osteoporosis, or those who are older or going through therapy after accidents.

It is generally suggested that weight-bearing exercises are varied from day-to-day. For instance, an individual could do upper body exercises one day and the next day work on the lower body, giving the upper body a day's rest. Depending upon how hard an individual works out, he/she can can exercise six days a week with one day for rest; or the person can alternate days.

Here are five benefits of weight/strength training:

  1. An increase your physical work capacity.  With more muscle, a person can work harder and longer.
  2. An increase in bone density
  3. A decrease of sarcopenia, leading to a fat-free body.  Weight-training sustains lean muscle mass.
  4. An increase in the strength of connective tissue, muscles, and tendons, reducing injury and increasing motor performance. 
  5. An improvement in physical appearance, which aids in self-confidence.