How To Exercise Your Organs

Yes, you can actually do that!

Exercise isn’t just beneficial for our muscles. By engaging in certain activities, you can also boost the health of many of your internal organs. This in turn could help you to prevent and delay many killer diseases ranging from dementia to fatty liver disease. Below is a breakdown of some of the exercises you can do to improve the health of some of the following major organs.

YOUR HEART

The heart itself is a muscle that is directly affected by physical exercise. Just as you can strengthen other muscles around the body, you can strengthen the heart by focusing specific exercises on it. In doing so, you can fend off heart disease and other knock-on circulatory issues like strokes.

Cardiovascular exercise, as the name suggests, is focused on strengthening the heart and arteries. It is one of many activities that can increase our heart rate. The benefit of cardiovascular exercise is that it also lowers blood pressure. This encourages blood to flow speedily but smoothly through the heart and arteries. 

The most popular and effective cardiovascular exercises include hiking, swimming, cycling, jump rope, dancing, boxing, and trampolining. Gym workouts like using a treadmill, spin classes, and HIIT are also very cardiovascular. Of course, it’s worth noting that everyday activities like gardening, playing with children, and tidying the house can also be cardiovascular exercise. 

YOUR LUNGS

Various exercises can help to increase your lung capacity while also keeping your lungs clean of irritants. This can enable you to be more active without getting out of breath, while also warding off various lung diseases.

Most forms of physical exercise are good for our lungs because they encourage us to take deeper and faster breaths. This helps to expand our lungs while clearing out disease-causing contaminants from deep within our lungs (which could include bacteria, dust, mold, and carbon monoxide from cigarettes). 

However, you can exercise your lungs without exercising the rest of your body. Breathing exercises are focused purely on the lungs. This includes taking long deep breaths, holding one’s breath for long periods, and inhaling through the nose. You can try these exercises anywhere, however, the best place to try them is outdoors in a place with relatively clean air quality such as a park.

YOUR BRAIN

Most forms of physical exercise are good for the brain. Exercise increases the flow of blood to the brain – helping it to receive more oxygen and nutrients so that it can function better. Exercise also restores healthy serotonin levels in the brain. As a result of all this, exercise can make us more focused and motivated, helping us to take in new information more easily.

This is thought to be important for staving off brain diseases like dementia and Parkinson’s. Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly throughout their lives are less likely to develop these mental degenerative diseases. 

Mental exercises are also important for the brain. Problem-solving tasks help us to use more neural pathways. The more neural pathways you use each day, the more your memory increases and the faster your thinking becomes. Puzzles like sudoku or games like chess are some of the best mental exercises. Try to spare daily time for these puzzles if you’re not already doing lots of problem-solving. 

It’s worth noting that socializing is a great mental exercise too. When we communicate with other people, we are using huge amounts of neural pathways to take in and process information, while also using the brain to form responses. It is a complex form of problem-solving in itself. Studies show that those who spend long periods socially isolated have less daily brain activity and are more likely to develop conditions like dementia.

YOUR GUT

Our gut is made of many muscles, which help push food waste out of our body. These muscles are essential for healthy digestion. There is no specific exercise that can target these muscles. However, some exercises can have a positive knock-on impact. 

Core workouts can target abdominal muscles that are connected to our gut. By strengthening the core, you can help strengthen the gut muscles and improve digestion. Core exercises include sit-ups, the plank, v-sits, and bridges. This post suggests a few other cardio exercises that target the core.

It’s not just core exercises that are good for the gut – almost all physical activity can be beneficial to our digestive system. Exercise increases blood flow around the body, including to our digestive system. This improves our ability to digest food and extract nutrients. The action of running or jumping can meanwhile help encourage movement in our gut, which can help to relieve conditions like constipation or excess gas. Regular exercise is often recommended to those with conditions like IBS for helping to restore natural gut function. 

When exercising to improve gut health, make sure that you don’t exercise on a full stomach. It’s better instead to exercise 2 or 3 hours after eating. 

YOUR LIVER

Our liver helps to break down fat and toxins. Poor diet, heavy drinking, and drug use can put too much strain on the liver to the point that it stops breaking down fat effectively. This can result in fat building up in the liver (known as ‘fatty liver disease’). 

Exercise can help to combat fatty liver disease by breaking down fat reserves around the body for energy – which includes fat in and around the liver. Exercise can also relieve inflammation in the liver to prevent conditions like cirrhosis.

Cardiovascular exercises are great at not just boosting the health of your heart, but also your liver. This is because these are some of the best exercises for breaking down fat due to the body requiring a constant flow of energy. Start doing more cardio workouts if you think your liver may be at risk. Workouts like swimming, cycling, hiking, and circuit training are great examples.

YOUR KIDNEYS

Exercise may also help benefit your kidneys by combating diabetes. When you have diabetes, the body can no longer produce insulin properly. Insulin helps to remove sugar from our blood and without producing enough insulin, blood sugar levels can be dangerously high. The kidneys end up having to take on the role of removing this excess blood sugar. Because they cannot process all this sugar, they can quickly become damaged.

Doing exercise has been shown to help improve the body’s ability to produce insulin. Those with diabetes can therefore take the strain off of their kidneys by exercising regularly. Cardiovascular exercises are fantastic for improving our body’s ability to produce insulin and could be great for keeping your kidneys healthy if you have diabetes. Such exercises can also improve blood flow to your kidneys, which can also help them to work more effectively.

YOUR BLADDER

From pregnancy to drinking too much caffeine, many things can cause a weak bladder. Pelvic floor exercises can be a way of strengthening bladder muscles (sometimes known as kegel muscles) and are often recommended to women who have had kids to reduce the risk of urinary incontinence later in life. What is a pelvic floor exercise? These exercises are focused on the muscles around your groin. By contracting these muscles as if you were holding in a pee, you can strengthen them and combat a weak bladder. Bridges and squats can help you engage these muscles, but there are other exercises that you can try too. Check out this guide to pelvic floor exercises for more information.

I think we all can agree we’ve heard of exercising your heart and brain to keep them strong and healthy. Now you have a method to exercise the rest of your organs and keep them strong and healthy too!

2020 Kimberly Signature

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