Exercise can improve your life in more ways than you can count. We all know that exercise is helpful for weight control, but perhaps you weren’t aware that it can also help you live longer, give you more energy and improve your sex life, boost your mood, and help you sleep better. The benefits are numerous and hard to ignore.
Regardless of whether or not you are looking to get fit for weight control, physical activity can help you live a longer, healthier life by reducing your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. Exercise boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), often referred to as “good” cholesterol, reduces triglycerides, and lowers blood pressure. It can also be helpful in the prevention and management of a wide variety of other conditions, ranging from depression and stroke to type II diabetes, colon cancer and breast cancer. For older adults, regular exercise can also help prevent falls.
Have you ever heard someone say that they just feel better when they exercise? Not only does exercise increase self esteem and potentially make you feel more confident about your appearance, but it also stimulates brain chemicals which produce a feeling of well-being and relaxation. Try going for a walk after a stressful day at work and you may just find it’s a great way to blow off some steam.
Regular exercise will also boost your muscle strength and endurance. It keeps your joints and bones healthy and strong by slowing the loss of bone density that comes with age, thus reducing the risk of hip fractures and pain from arthritis. When you are physically active, your body delivers more oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and your cardiovascular system works more efficiently. With your heart and lungs working more efficiently and your strength and endurance increased, you will have more energy throughout the day. Interestingly enough, it can also help you get to sleep at night.
Having more energy and increased self-esteem may put the spark back into your sex life. Women who exercise regularly show enhanced arousal and men who exercise have lower rates of erectile dysfunction.
You don’t need to spend hours in the gym every night to enjoy these benefits. If you are looking to improve your general health, aim to exercise 30 minutes per day at least 5 times a week. Using the stairs instead of the elevator, taking a dance class, and exerting yourself more when you do your household chores are all ways to stay more active throughout the day. Everyone is different; it’s just a matter of finding an activity and routine that works for you!