The Benefits of Regular Exercise
You may have noticed that I extol the
benefits of regular exercise
as part of living a healthy
lifestyle in many of my personal development
articles including: 10
Tips for Maintaining Mental and Emotional Health,
Importance of Maintaining Balance
, among others.
research has shown that people who exercise regularly are
healthier physically and mentally, have more energy, think more
clearly, and sleep better.
Engaging in the habit of regular exercise
has also been found to improve your mood, decrease anxiety, decrease
the effects of stress and raise self-confidence.
Why then do many of us abandon exercise programs so soon
them on? How can we maintain the motivation needed to make it an
Read on and discover the enormous benefits that regular
exercise provides and you will be more than convinced to integrate it
into your daily routine.
What is needed to begin an exercise program?
Two things not
needed to obtain the benefits of
exercise are investing in a health club membership, or purchasing
extravagant exercise equipment. Likewise, while vigorous and sweat
inducing activity is good, psychological well-being does not depend
upon the intensity or duration of a workout. More important is the
ability to maintain an exercise routine. If you can keep up your
program for a minimum of two months, you're on your way to
reaping the benefits. Not only will it get easier, but you
will probably end up enjoying it and will want to
Benefits of Regular Exercise:
Improves physical health and quality of life
Regular exercise helps reduce the risk of premature death from heart
disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes,
and colon and breast cancers. It increases high-density
lipoprotein (HDL, or good cholesterol) while decreasing triglycerides.
This keeps your blood flowing smoothly by lowering the buildup
of plaque in your arteries. Overall it increases resistance to various
diseases by bolstering the immune system.
Improves psychological well-being
exercise improves your mood and reduces the likelihood of depression
and anxiety. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals
(endorphins) that usually leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.
You will not only feel better, but look better when you exercise
regularly which, in turn, boosts confidence and self-esteem.
both from looking great by being toned and
fit, and from knowing that you put in the work and effort to get there.
Increases your energy levels
- Physical activity
delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. It helps the
cardiovascular system work more efficiently by circulating blood
through your heart and blood vessels. When your heart and lungs work
more efficiently, you'll have more energy to do the things you enjoy.
Helps you manage your weight - Needless to
say, when you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. When you
burn more calories than you take in, you lose weight. Even
taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking during
your lunch break, or just moving around more can help add to
your exercise output.
Promotes better sleep - Regular exercise helps you
fall asleep faster and into a more deep sleep. Sleep is
brought on by chemicals released in your body which are a by-product of
your body burning sugar for fuel during the day. The more sugar you
burn through exercise and physical activity, the more of these
chemicals are released, thus helping you sleep better and
deeper. Regular exercise also improves the transition between the
cycles and phases of sleep and they become smoother and more
regular. Ultimately, your productivity, mood and
are greatly enhanced when you are well-rested.
Other Benefits of Regular Exercise
- Helps maintain and increase muscle strength, improves
balance, coordination, reaction time and flexibility; can even improve
- Prevents muscle decay. Inactive people lose muscle fiber
at a rate of 3% to 5% every decade after age 30 which amounts to a loss
of 30% of muscle fiber by age 60.
- Reduces incidence of many illnesses.
- Research suggests that regular exercise can reduce the
risk of colon cancer by as much as 50% and may considerably reduce the
risk of breast cancer.
- Relieves symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid
arthritis and therefore reduces the need for medication.
- Helps control hypertension, high blood cholesterol and
- Reduces the risk of accidental injury and shortens the
recovery period from accident and illness.
Tips for getting Regular Exercise
you begin any exercise routine, especially if you've been inactive for
a long time, or are over 40 years old, be sure to consult your doctor.
Also, never continue an activity or exercise if you feel persistent or
severe muscle or joint pain, chest pain, or if you become exhausted.
Again consult your doctor. doctor.
type of exercise is not as
important as just
getting into a consistent routine. It can be comprised of
aerobic or strength training, but preferably a combination of the two.
Even thirty minutes a day of moderate exercise, such as a brisk walk
can be very helpful and provide heath benefits.
can start small and build up to more. A less
intense objective will help you build physical activity into your daily
routine more easily. Incorporate as much as you can slowly - by
parking further from the office, taking the stairs instead of the
elevator, and by walking instead of driving whenever you can.
to exercise between four to
seven days each week. The total amount of time can be broken
down in periods of not less than 10 minutes each. However, the longer
the period of physical activity, the more beneficial it is to
your health. Take into account that very intense activities
burn more calories in a shorter time span than
do low-intensity activities. Remember to stay hydrated.
already now know, exercise improves mood, but new research suggests
that working out to
as well as providing fun
, may give exercisers a
cognitive boost. Charles Emery, professor of
psychology at Ohio State University, has conducted a study on the combination
of music and exercise and states:
"Listening to music may influence cognitive function through different
pathways in the brain. The combination of music and exercise may
stimulate and increase cognitive arousal while helping to organize
All the wonderful benefits aside, never has it been more important to
establish a routine of regular exercise than in today's increasingly
sedentary world. Technology is great, but it is not a substitute for
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