The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that all people regularly do activities that address each component of overall fitness: cardiovascular endurance through aerobic activity, strength through weight training, and flexibility achieved through stretching. Each of these types of exercise can improve our sense of psychological well-being. However, because the most profound effects on mental health are derived through aerobic activity, it is the major focus.
The physical payoffs
Exercise is an investment in your physical and psychological health. The benefits of exercise are both short and long term. The short term effects of aerobic exercise lasts up to 36 hours. Significant training effects accrue with just a few weeks of regular aerobic activity. But in order to maintain these fitness gains, activity must continue on a regular basis. Studies show that 10 per cent of cardiovascular gains can be lost after two weeks of inactivity and up to 40 per cent after a month of inactivity. Following is a list of physical benefits we can expect from regular aerobic exercise:
Decreased resting heart rate
Improved recovery time (heart rate returns to its resting levels faster )
Decreased resting blood pressure
Increased efficiency of heart (heart pumps more blood with each stroke )
Decreased muscle tension
Better quality of sleep
Better appetite regulation
More efficient use of food energy
Increased resistance to colds and other illness
Decreased cholesterol and triglycerides
Decreased body fat, and increased muscle and tone.