Most doctors agree that exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health, but it can be hard to make time for movement in our busy lives. Between desk jobs and long commutes, many people spend hours every day sitting still, and all this being sedentary can take a toll on physiological wellbeing. Working even a small amount of activity into most or every day can make a huge difference to our health and longevity.
The heart is a muscle. Like every muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it will get. A heart rate that is raised regularly to high but healthy levels will get stronger. A strong heart will be more efficient at pumping blood through the body and as such, the body will have more energy for your favorite activities. Stronger hearts are also less likely to fall prey to a heart attack or stroke.
All the cliches about moving more leading to weight loss are true. When you're up and moving, your body uses more energy than it does when you're sitting still. Adding more activity into your daily routine can facilitate minor weight loss even without any other lifestyle or dietary changes, though building other healthy habits can have an even greater impact.
Getting plenty of rest is good for physical and mental health. However, lack of physical activity during the day can often make it difficult to nod off at night, with all that excess energy still boiling around. More exercise and fresh air during the day can make it easier to fall asleep at night and improve the quality of your sleep.
The endorphin rush from exercising can improve mood. Something as simple as taking a walk has abundant mental health benefits thanks to the combination of movement, fresh air, natural light, and lack of screens. From shaking off the mid-day slump to improving the outlook on a troubling situation that's distracting you, movement is an excellent free and quick fix.
Exercise can do wonders for your sex life. Increasing energy, strength and flexibility will have obvious benefits in the bedroom, and knowing you have been active the last few days can boost self-esteem and put you in a sexier state of mind.
For people with diabetes or those at risk of developing the condition, physical activity can play a role in managing symptoms. Regular exercise helps control blood sugar and increases the effectiveness of insulin treatments. The weight loss benefits of exercise can also help reduce complications of diabetes.
We lose bone mass over time, which means our bones grow weaker as we get older. This is especially true for women in the years after menopause. Weight-bearing exercise has been shown to improve bone strength over the long term. "Weight-bearing" doesn't have to mean lifting weights: activities like walking or running are good for keeping bones strong and healthy.
Exercise isn't just good for your body. It's also good for keeping your brain sharp and focused. When you exercise, your body produces proteins and other chemicals that stimulate the brain. Some studies show that this helps with memory, judgement, and the ability to learn new information as you get older.
Doing exercise on a regular basis can reduce the risk of some kinds of cancer. Doctors have found that people who work out regularly have a lower chance of developing cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, kidneys, lungs, and stomach. Exercise can even improve the quality of life of people in remission.
Falls are a major health problem for older adults, but they can be dangerous for people of all ages, leading to broken bones, hospitalization, and long rehabilitation times. Exercising can help build core strength and improve balance to reduce the risk of getting injured in a fall. Increased flexibility can also cut back on the severity of injuries when we slip or take a tumble.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.