Why exercise plays an important role in your health

By Tyler Seabrook
February 21, 2020

Statistics shown about people being active. Infographic by Tyler Seabrook.

“Early on in my life, I got a lot of the necessary exercise I need without even noticing,” Josh Cunningham, junior exercise science and health promotion student, said. “Exercise came in various forms, such as playing with my friends, riding my bike, swimming in the pool and playing soccer.”

Exercise is important for people to know about at a young age. It can be very beneficial for people when they start to age to know the impact of exercise on one’s health.

People need to understand that your health is extremely important to take crucial care of. Exercise and physical activity surely play a key role in this aspect of one’s life. 

The government website says that young people need to be provided with the opportunities and encouragement to participate in physical activity that is appropriate at their age. They group these activities into three different subgroups, which are aerobic, muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening.

The elliptical is a great piece of equipment that works on aerobic type of exercise. Photo by Tyler Seabrook

“Preferably start with something you enjoy,” Scott Gavin-Wisniewski, fitness center coordinator and women’s rowing coach, said. “It is optimal for someone to exercise three-four times a week. This should be at an interval of 40-60 minutes each day, that involves moderate to intense levels of exercise.”

Gavin-Wisniewski also commented about how aerobic exercise is quite impactful for a person’s health. He shared that it will impact your body weight, heart health, stress levels and improve sleep quality and duration.

According to a diagram that Gavin-Wisniewski provided, the number one benefit of exercise is to help increase the duration and quality of sleep.

This is the diagram that Gavin-Wisniewski provided. Photo by Tyler Seabrook

According to sleepfoundation.org, if you exercise during the morning or afternoon, that you will impact your sleep quality by raising your body temperature by a few degrees. The website also shared that exercising in natural light is very helpful for your body to establish a good sleep-wake cycle. 

Cunningham started to notice that he was gaining more weight than other kids his age, even though he was exercising consistently. So he decided to focus on how to improve this aspect of his life. Cunningham attempted doing this by watching “6-packs in five-minutes” videos on YouTube. 

According to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention article, the majority of times that weight loss happens for someone is due to a decrease in caloric intake. The number of calories you burn off and combined with a reduced number of calories you eat, actually leads to a “calorie deficit” that results in weight loss. 

Cunningham said, “While in high school I started to take an interest in how exercise really affects the body and why I was fluctuating in weight so much.”

Because of his desire to improve his soccer skills, he found exercise improved his physical skills. 

Dr. Maria Elena Hallion, chair and professor of health and exercise science, was thrilled to provide her thoughts regarding how exercise impacts one’s health. 

Hallion wants to first start off by sharing with people the difference between physical activity and exercise.

The bike can be very useful if they want to do a quick workout if they are in a hurry. Photo by Tyler Seabrook

She said that physical activity is whenever a person is doing something that gets them moving. This would consist of taking a walk, raking your lawn, walking your dog around the neighbor and so much more activities that produce someone just simply moving their body. Exercise to Hallion is a form of physical activity that people can do to help their body’s health.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also provided bullet points that are ways physical activity impacts someone. 

Hallion and Gavin-Wisniewski both recommend that you should be aiming for a total of 150 minutes per week of physical activity to help improve one’s health. This should be targeted to be done about three to four days a week. 

For Cunningham to keep up with the pace of his expected amount of exercise, he started to do new types of exercise that work different body parts compared to the ones he worked on at a younger age. These examples of exercise were benching, squatting and doing sprints.

The treadmill is a great piece of equipment to start on if you are new to what’s effective to enhance your health. Photo by Tyler Seabrook

Cunningham is able to find the time that is necessary for him to exercise. The number one obstacle that Hallion mentioned though about people not exercising is the lack of time. Her second main reason is that people do not fully know what to do as a form of exercise. 

Now that Cunningham is a collegiate-level athlete, he knows that if he isn’t achieving enough time during his sessions, he will feel disgusted afterwards. However, he feels energized if he exercises on a consistent basis.

“Everyone needs to move more,” Hallion said. “If they want it to be more structured or rigorous  type of exercise, that’s when someone should consult with someone.”

Cunningham is happy to learn new aspects of his body and reinforce skills he knew beforehand. His goal now is to continue to exercise consistently and to slow down the aging process.

Gavin-Wisniewski’s final thought for the reader to understand is that if you are a college student, all of the classes being offered through your gym will impact your health. The classes can be as focused as one wants to get.

Hallion’s final message for people is to find something that you can do comfortably and enjoy doing. This in her opinion will be beneficial to everyone’s health, when it comes to exercising.


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Tyler Seabrook

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