If you want to live longer and feel great, exercise is the way to go. Research has proven time and again that working out regularly can offer a variety of health benefits, regardless of a person’s age, gender or ability. And it doesn’t take much. Just 20-30 minutes of walking, bicycling, swimming, even dancing, can make a world of difference. Here are 5 worthwhile benefits of regular exercise…
1. Lower Risk of Disease
Perhaps one of the most important benefits of exercise is that it lowers your risk of disease. In other words, there’s a good chance that you will live longer when you work out on a regular basis. You’ll probably enjoy your life more, too. Problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and type 2 diabetes are serious threats, and are way too common, but it’s been proven that being physically active can help to prevent these. Daily exercise may even prevent some types of cancer.
2. Weight Control
Maintaining weight gets harder as we get older, but being physically active can help keep off the pounds. When you exercise, you burn calories, which translates to weight loss. Intense workouts burn even more calories. In fact, if you burn 500 more calories (through exercise) than you consume for 7 days in a row, you can expect 1-2 pounds of weight loss for that week. Besides, obesity is a big problem worldwide and directly increases your risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and more.
3. Improved Mood
Feeling anxious? Looking for an emotional boost? Exercise can help. Just 30 minutes of moderate walking or a short session at the gym can reduce anxiety, enhance mood and improve self-esteem. Studies show that it can even help combat long-term depression. Exercising makes the body release endorphins, chemicals that work on opioid receptors of the brain’s limbic system and make us experience pleasure and satisfaction. The feelings are similar to what can be experienced with codeine or morphine.
4. Higher Energy Levels
If you’re one of those people who gets winded by doing some shopping or simple household chores, exercise can boost your energy levels. Being physically active on a daily basis increases muscle strength and builds up endurance. The body’s tissues are fed with vital nutrients and oxygen and the cardiovascular system becomes more efficient, enhancing heart and lung function. A stronger heart and lungs means more energy to carry out those everyday tasks.
5. Better Sleep
Sleep is important. When we are well rested, our bodies function better, look better and are less prone to disease and health ailments. Yet, so many of us struggle to fall or stay asleep or suffer from sleeping disorders like insomnia. Exercise can remedy that, particularly aerobic exercises. A dip in body temperature is said to be the cause. Just 30 minutes of exercise can keep temperature higher for longer, after which it dips to lower than it would have without exercising, allowing better sleep.
YOUR TURN: Do you work out? Have you reaped the benefits of regular exercise? We would love to hear your thoughts. Please share your experience in the comment section below.