We've probably all heard that exercise is good for us, but do you know why? NBC Learn, in partnership with Centene Corporation, takes a look at what exercise really means and what happens to your body and brain when you are moving around.
Get Healthy -- Exercise
MORGAN RADFORD reporting:
Hey there guys, I'm Morgan Radford and it's time to get healthy!
You probably know that exercise is good for your body, but did you know it's also good for your mind? It can help your thinking and your memory skills, and it can also make you feel happier. It's good for every single part of your body, especially your muscles, your bones, your heart, and your lungs. When you're exercising, the average lungs can take in up to 100 liters of air a minute. Think the same as 100 of these bottles. That is a lot of oxygen. And for your muscles, it causes tiny tears in them. Does that sound kind of scary? Well, it's not. Your muscles grow bigger and stronger by healing those little tears. So, when someone says you should exercise, is this what comes to mind? It doesn't have to be like that! Exercise can be a lot of fun.
CORDELIA CARTER: I'm Cordelia Carter. I'm the director of the pediatric sports medicine program here at NYU Langone and Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital. Exercise can be really any time that you move your body. Kids who exercise or do physical activity, those kids do better in school.
RADFORD: You just have put down the video game, get outside and play to help your health.
Dr. KEN YAMAGUCHI: I'm Dr. Ken Yamaguchi. I am the Sam and Marilyn Fox distinguished professor of orthopedic surgery at Washington University School of Medicine and I am the executive vice president and chief medical officer for Centene Corporation. A really important part of a healthy life is really just doing more activity than just your usual activities in order to increase and improve your health.
RADFORD: All you have to do is move enough to make your heart beat faster. How you get that exercise, it’s up to you. That game of soccer you love playing with friends? All that is exercise.
YAMAGUCHI: Try to do something that's fun. And that will help you do it more and more because a child should be exercising or doing a little bit more activity than usual whole hour a day minimum. You might decide that you like to go on runs by yourself rather than playing basketball with a team of people. That's all good if that's your thing to do.
RADFORD: All right, so you get the point. It's healthy to exercise. But why? What's going on inside in your body when you're outside playing?
YAMAGUCHI: Generally, your muscles are working harder and in order for your muscles to work harder and have the energy to work, they need to have more oxygen. In order for you to have more oxygen, your heart has to pump blood through your lungs. You have to breathe harder, so your heart tends to work harder and because your heart works harder, it gets trained and gets stronger so that over time it is a better organ for the rest of your life.
RADFORD: If you want all of those things to happen, you need to get into a routine of exercising. But how do you start? The good thing is, you don't need a fancy gym.
CARTER: In order to walk, you don't have to be on a treadmill, this is a fancy machine. But the nice thing, is all you need to walk is your own two feet.
RADFORD: You can also use your own two arms, building your strength by doing a push up.
CARTER: Hands down, shoulder-width apart. And you just look down, push down and push up.
RADFORD: Do you want to strengthen your entire mid-section? Try planking.
CARTER: Same thing, hands shoulder-width apart and you go up on your toes and you can just hold it.
RADFORD: And if you want to build strength in your legs, all you need is a ball.
Fun, right? So, here are some tips to help you exercise one whole hour a day for your entire life. First, warm up before you start. A little stretching and slower movements in the beginning can help prevent injury. Also, go outside if you can. We get valuable vitamin D just from the sun. And find some things you love and stick with them. The more you do it, the easier it gets. You'll look better and you’ll feel better.