The Many Benefits of Exercising
Written by Jeff Behar, MS, MBA
What exercise can do for you
The benefits of exercise may sound too good to be true, but decades of solid science confirm that exercise improves health and can extend your life.
Adding as little as half an hour of moderately intense physical activity to your day can help you avoid a host of serious ailments, including but not limited to:
- heart disease,
- depression, and
- several types of cancer, in particular breast and colon cancers.
Regular exercise also has many other benefits such as:
- improving sleep,
- increasing energy,
- improving sterngth
- improving cardiovascular health,
- keeping bones and joints strong and healthy
- reducing stress,
- controling weight,
- enhancing mood,
- sharpening mental acuity,
- improving self esteem,
- improving your sex life,
- reducing risk of developing several diseases and ailments such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.
- reducing the risk for colon cancer and some other forms of cancer.
A well-rounded exercise program has four components:
- aerobic activity,
- strength training,
- flexibility, and
- balance exercises.
Each benefits your body in a different way.
- Aerobic exercise helps burn calories, raise your basal metabolic rate. Research also confirms the important disease-fighting benefits cardiovascular activity.
- Strength training helps build muscle and strengthens bones and joints. Bones lose calcium and weaken with age, but strength training can help slow or sometimes even reverse this trend. Not only can strength training make you look and feel better, but it can also result in better performance of everyday activities, such as climbing stairs and carrying bundles. Stronger muscles also mean better mobility and balance, and thus a lower risk of falling and injuring yourself. In addition, more lean body mass aids in weight control because each pound of muscle burns more calories than its equivalent in fat.
- Muscles tend to shorten and weaken with age. Shorter, stiffer muscle fibers make you vulnerable to injuries, back pain, and stress. But regularly performing exercises that isolate and stretch the elastic fibers surrounding your muscles and tendons can counteract this process. Stretching ican also mproves your posture and balance.
- Regularly performing balance exercises is one of the best ways to protect against falls that lead to temporary or permanent disability. Many strength-training exercises also serve as balance excecises as well, since muscles and joints are being strengthened as well.