Enjoying a brisk walk on this clear, crisp winter day in Lakes Park in Fort Myers. Photo courtesy of Charly Caldwell II
People often associate exercise with weight loss as if the two a synonymous.
While it is true that people who exercise regularly tend to maintain a healthier weight, exercise has so many more benefits for the body.
Here's 15 Benefits of Exercise:
1) Exercise helps your brain.
Exercise has been shown to ease anxiety, improve mood and fight depression. It promotes the release of a mood-lifting brain chemical called serotonin and the release of endorphins, natural feel-good painkilling substances. Exercise also improves cognitive function and decreases the risk of dementia.
2) Good for your skin.
Moderate exercise stimulates circulation and so brings oxygen and nutrients to the skin. Sweating allows the body to excrete wastes via the surface of the skin.
Regular exercise increases lung capacity and strengthens the respiratory muscles. Exercise also reduces risk of lung cancer.
4) Your heart.
Regular exercise strengthens and builds the heart muscle so it pumps more effectively. Regular exercise reduces your chance of getting heart disease.
5) Breast health.
Regular exercise has been shown to reduce women’s risk of developing breast cancer.
Moderate regular exercise boosts the immune system.
7) Blood pressure.
Regular physical activity can significantly reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure and can help to lower blood pressure in those who already have high blood pressure.
8) In the blood.
Regular exercise also increases the level of HDL-cholesterol (‘good cholesterol’) in your blood and reduces the level of LDL(‘bad’)-cholesterol. This keeps your arteries clear of fatty deposits (plaque) made up of cholesterol and other substances. This reduces the risk of clots in the coronary arteries, which can lead to heart attack, and clots in the arteries supplying the brain, which can lead to stroke.
Regular exercise can prevent and help control type 2 diabetes. Exercise helps insulin to work better and makes your cells more sensitive to the effects of insulin — two ways to improve how your body deals with sugar.
Regular exercise reduces the risk of colorectal (bowel) cancer. Regular exercise helps strengthen the digestive tract and keep the gut healthy. Exercising increases blood flow towards the muscles and digestive tract, which can help move food through the digestive tract while helping alleviate heartburn, gas, stomach cramps and constipation.
11) Reproductive organs.
Regular moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise has been shown to improve both libido and sexual performance. It can also improve fertility. Exercise also reduces the risk of prostate cancer and ovarian cancer.
Weight-bearing exercise (e.g. walking, stairclimbing, weightlifting) helps preserve bone mass and thus protects against osteoporosis.
Exercise builds and strengthens muscles, which can protect the bones from injury, and support and protect joints affected by arthritis. Resistance training prevents the age-related loss of muscle mass known as sarcopenia.
14) In your joints.
Exercise lubricates the joints, reduces joint pain and stiffness, and promotes flexibility.
15) Finally, balance.
Regular exercise strengthens the muscles and improves balance and coordination.
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