Ten Benefits of Exercise We Don’t Always Think About

While everyone knows that exercise is needed to reach a healthy weight and reduce your clothes size or to meet a specific athletic goal, it is also important to be aware of the other benefits. An exercise regime should be a part of any healthy lifestyle. It is a lifetime commitment. If your only motivation is to lose weight then you will most likely stop exercising regularly if you either hit your goal or results aren’t coming fast enough. When you stop exercising you lose the benefits you’ve gained. Here are ten benefits that you should keep in mind.

  • Exercise Reduces Stress Levels. Work and pressures of everyday life can build up stress in our bodies without the ability to release it. That pent up stress can lead to bad moods and tension as well as countless health issues such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Running, lifting weights, boxing or taking a group fitness class are some of the activities that can provide a release for that stress.
  • Exercise Can Put You in a Better Mood. Exercise increases the levels of endorphins in the body. Endorphins are known as the “feel good” hormone. Low levels of endorphins are associated with depression. Therefore, exercise will help you to feel happier and lower the effects of depression.
  • Exercise Can Strengthen Your Immune System. As the cold and flu season approaches, a regular exercise program has been shown through studies to give a boost to your immune system.
  • Exercise Decreases the Risk of a Heart Attack. An exercise routine that includes cardiovascular exercise and strength training coupled with a healthy diet can reduce bad cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, help maintain a healthy body weight and improve circulation. These benefits will contribute to a healthier heart.
  • Exercise Reduces Your Risk of Breast Cancer. There are two ways that a regular exercise regime can help you reduce the risk of breast cancer. The first is by lowering the levels of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones in a woman’s body that are linked to tumor production. The second is by lowering the fat percentage in the body. Fat levels are tied into estrogen production as well.  Decreasing fat will also reduce the risk of tumors. Breast cancer is not the only form of cancer regular exercise helps reduce the risk of but since October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, we highlighted it.
  • Exercise Gives You Stronger Bones. Exercise helps the cells that bring calcium into the bones to make them stronger and speed up the process while inactivity slows it down, which can in turn weaken the bones. A reduction in bone density can increase your risk of osteoporosis. Activities that are weight bearing such as walking, running or resistance training are the most effective for increasing your bone density.
  • Exercise Can Improve Your Strength, Stamina and Balance. You will feel better and have more energy. Certain exercises can also help you improve your balance and posture.
  • Exercise Can Improve the Health and Look of Your Skin. Exercise helps rid the body of toxins which can improve the look of your skin. Your skin tone will be firmer and acne is reduced. Varicose veins can be reduced by exercise as well.
  • Exercise Can Make You Smarter. Exercise helps to boost the blood flow to your brain which results in quicker thinking and better memory.  Studies have also shown that it can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and senility.
  • Exercise Increases Your Metabolism. As we age, our metabolism slows down.  Increasing your muscle mass through exercise will increase metabolism. Muscle is metabolically active. Studies show that for each pound of muscle you add to your body, you will burn an extra 35-50 calories per day. In other words, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn even while doing nothing!

Whichever benefits motivate you the most, just remember that a lifetime commitment to exercise will change your life for the better.