Exercise should not be painful, doesn't need to be intense, but it certainly has to be regular; in fact researchers recommend 2-3 minutes of exercise every hour to break up periods of sitting and to give all muscles a chance to contract. It turns out that our muscles have a big part to play in keeping all body parts in order, including the brain and the immune system. When muscles contract, they secrete substances called myokines (we currently know of 200, the first one only discovered in 2000) that play many roles all over the body to keep us fit.
This explains why sitting is called the new smoking because it's been linked to many diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, certains cancers and even death. You can read more about this in this article.
Some of the essential points from the authors:
Myokines mediate communication between muscle and other organs, including brain, adipose tissue, bone, liver, gut, pancreas, vascular bed, and skin, as well as within the muscle itself
Myokines exert their effects on, for example, cognition, lipid and glucose metabolism, browning of white fat, bone formation, endothelial cell function, hypertrophy, skin structure, and tumor growth
The myokine IL-6 mediates the exercise-associated anti-inflammatory effects both acutely with each bout of exercise and as a consequence of training adaptation.
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