Benefits of Exercise

Benefits of Exercise
As little as 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily—such as a vigorous walk—can maintain good health and increase your lifespan. Recent guidelines suggest that to lose weight, 60 minutes a day may be more effective. Although a goal of 10,000 steps is admirable, all physical activity counts: dancing, gardening, sports, household chores, and walking the dog. Even sedentary activities like watching television can be done using hand weights or from a stationary bike. Exercise burns calories and helps us shed excess pounds. The more intense the activity, the more calories are burned. And if you are overweight, losing just ten percent of your total body weight brings numerous health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, blood cholesterol, blood sugar, and reducing your risk for heart disease. The more you exercise the more weight you can lose. For people who maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly, counting calories can become a thing of the past. 

Whatever your weight may currently be, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), or "good" cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. The combination keeps fatty deposits from clogging your arteries, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. 

Regular physical activity improves your muscle strength and balance and boosts your endurance, delivering oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helping your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. When your heart and lungs work more efficiently you are less winded and have more energy. 

Research increasingly points to insufficient sleep as a significant threat to our ability to maintain good health. Exercise (no closer than 2 hours to bedtime) can help you fall asleep soundly and more restfully—especially if you suffer from insomnia or sleep apnea.

Exercise can also help relieve stress and anxiety.  Virtually any form of physical activity—from aerobics to yoga—helps to increase the production of your brain's “feel-good neurotransmitters,” called endorphins. 

One thing to remember: be sure to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program, especially if you’ve had a sedentary lifestyle or if you have heart-health issues or other health problems.