You know exercise is good for you…at least that is what you’ve heard — but do you know how good? From boosting your mood to improving your mental and physical performance.
Want to feel better, have more energy and perhaps even live longer?
The merits of regular physical activity — from preventing chronic health conditions to promoting weight loss and better sleep — are hard to ignore. And the benefits are yours for the taking, regardless of age, sex or physical ability. Check out seven specific ways exercise can improve your life.
Exercise improves your mood
Need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A workout at the gym or a brisk 30-minute walk can help you calm down.
Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out. You’ll also look better and feel better when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem. Regular physical activity can even help prevent depression.
Exercise combats chronic diseases
Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent osteoporosis? Physical activity might be the ticket.
Regular physical activity can help you prevent — or manage — high blood pressure. Your cholesterol will benefit, too. Regular physical activity boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol while decreasing triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly by lowering the buildup of plaques in your arteries.
And there’s more. Regular physical activity can help you prevent type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and certain types of cancer.
Exercise helps you manage your weight
Want to drop those excess pounds? Trade some couch time for walking or other physical activities.
This one’s a no-brainer. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn — and the easier it is to keep your weight under control. You don’t even need to set aside major chunks of time for working out. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk during your lunch break. Do jumping jacks during commercials. Better yet, turn off the TV and take a brisk walk. Dedicated workouts are great, but physical activity you accumulate throughout the day helps you burn calories, too.
FACTOID: 75+ percent of your weight depends on your nutritional habits.
Exercise boosts your energy level
Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Don’t throw in the towel. Regular physical activity can leave you breathing easier.
Physical activity delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. In fact, regular physical activity helps your entire cardiovascular system — the circulation of blood through your heart and blood vessels — work more efficiently. Big deal? You bet! When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you’ll have more energy to do the things you enjoy.
The right combination of exercise and nutrition creates an hormonal environment conducive to fat loss, increased muscle strength and increased energy. When your body is working at peak efficiency, your energy levels soar! Everyday things become much easier to do
Exercise promotes better sleep
Struggling to fall asleep? Or stay asleep? It might help to boost your physical activity during the day.
A good night’s sleep can improve your concentration, productivity and mood. And you guessed it — physical activity is sometimes the key to better sleep. Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. There’s a caveat, however. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you may be too energized to fall asleep. If you’re having trouble sleeping, you might want to exercise earlier in the day.
Exercise can put the spark back into your sex life
Are you too tired to have sex? Or feeling too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy? Physical activity to the rescue.
Regular physical activity can leave you feeling energized and looking better, which may have a positive effect on your sex life. But there’s more to it than that. Regular physical activity can lead to enhanced arousal for women, and men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don’t exercise — especially as they get older.
Exercise can be — gasp — fun! So don’t get too carried away….
Physical activity doesn’t have to be drudgery. Take a ballroom dancing class. Check out a local climbing wall or hiking trail. Push your kids on the swings or climb with them on the jungle gym. Plan a neighborhood kickball or touch football game. Find a physical activity you enjoy, and go for it. If you get bored, try something new. If you’re moving, that is what counts!
MORE REASONS TO GET MOVING
There are literally zillions of exercise benefits to be gained through a regular fitness and nutritional plan. When you read this list, you’ll wonder why everyone isn’t taking advantage of what fitness has to offer
- Increased Self-Esteem: Gaining control of your body size and weight through fitness is an amazing way to increase self-esteem. You look better and are more confident which empowers you in everything you do. You will find that the self-discipline required and learned through regular exercise spills over into other areas of your life and you will be better able to make other necessary and desirable changes.
- Increase Mental Focus: Did you know that the latest research shows that exercise helps keep the brain sharp well into old age? Anything that involves mental acuity (focus and concentration) is improved. You also stand a much better chance of avoiding such diseases as Alzheimer’s and senility.
- Decreased Risk of a Heart Attack: By exercising regularly and making positive changes in your diet, you lower your cholesterol and blood pressure and greatly diminish the chances of having a heart attack.
- Decreased Risk of Osteoporosis: Regular exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise, reduces the risk of osteoporosis, and can even reverse it buy building bone tissue!
- Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer by up to 60% Estradiol and progesterone, two ovarian hormones linked to breast cancer tumor production are lowered in the body by exercise.
Habitual exercise can actually delay ovulation until later in the menstrual cycle. And if you are exercising regularly and watching your diet, you will reduce your body fat to lean muscle tissue ratio. This is important cause fat has long been known to be a catalyst in the production of estrogen (estradiol). So regular exercise burns body fat and in turn decrease the rate of estrogen production. There you have it!… A two pronged, cancer preventing exercise benefit!
- Increased Strength and Stamina: Every physical thing you do becomes easier which is immensely useful in everyday life.
- Reduced Depression: The production of Endorphins (Feel good hormones) is increased through exercise. Nothing improves mood and suppresses depression better than those endorphins.
- Decreased Stress Levels: The worries and stresses of everyday living (commuting, work demands, conflicts etc.) can stick with you long after the work day is done. Exercise right after work is the perfect natural therapy that can change your mood. You’ll sleep better too!
- Well actually, here are another 50 benefits…
- Improved digestion.
- Enhances quality of sleep.
- Adds a sparkle and radiance to complexion.
- Improves body shape.
- Tones and firms muscles.
- Provides more muscular definition.
- Enables weight loss and keeps it off, which makes it easier to qualify for affordable health insurance.
- Improves range of motion and flexibility.
- Improves endurance.
- Burns extra calories.
- Improves circulation and helps reduce blood pressure.
- Increases lean muscle tissue in the body.
- Improves appetite for healthy foods.
- Alleviates menstrual cramps.
- Alters and improves muscle chemistry.
- Increases metabolic rate.
- Enhances coordination and balance.
- Improves posture.
- Eases and possibly eliminates back problems and pain.
- Makes the body use calories more efficiently.
- Lowers resting heart rate.
- Increases muscle size through an increase in muscle fibers.
- Improves body composition.
- Increases body density.
- Decreases fat tissue more easily.
- Makes body more agile.
- Is the greatest body tune-up.
- Reduces joint discomfort.
- Improves athletic performance.
- Enriches sexuality.
- May add a few years to life.
- Increases your range of motion.
- Enhances immune system.
- Improves glycogen storage.
- Enables the body to utilize energy more efficiently.
- Increases enzymes in the body which burn fat.
- Increases the number and size of mitochondria in muscle cells.
- Increases concentration of myoglobin (carries oxygen in muscles) in skeletal muscles.
- Enhances oxygen transport throughout the body.
- Improves liver functioning.
- Increases speed of muscle contraction and reaction time.
- Enhances feedback through the nervous system.
- Strengthens the heart.
- Improves blood flow.
- Helps to alleviate varicose veins.
- Increases maximum cardiac output.
- Increases contractility of the heart’s ventricles.
- Increases the weight and size of the heart.
- Improves contractile function of the whole heart.
- Makes calcium transport in the heart and body more efficient.