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Why You Need More Exercise For Sure?

Updated on March 22, 2010

What's in it for you?! Find out how activity can benefit your physical and mental health.

Why exercise?

Exercise is good for both your physical and mental well-being. As little as 30 minutes a day can improve your overall health, dramatically reduce your risk of developing many diseases, and help you to look and feel your best.

Best bets

• If you can't fit in a 30-minute exercise session, split it into two or more shorter sessions instead.
• Feeling blue? Just one exercise session could be enough to lift your spirits.
• Exercise is the number one strategy used by "successful weight losers" who take off and keep off extra pounds.

Effects of exercise on your body

Physical activity can help you keep off extra pounds, build and maintain healthy bones and muscles, stay flexible, improve mood, and reduce stress. It can also reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and some cancers1.

Psychological well-being

When you exercise, you release endorphins.. Endorphins are hormones that can act as painkillers, but can also trigger positive, euphoric feelings. They are what give you a lift and a feeling of revitalization during and after a workout. It is therefore not surprising that exercise has been shown to be as effective as anti-depressants in treating depression and anxiety.2
Even a single exercise session can have a positive influence on your mood and emotions. It can both increase pleasurable feelings such as vitality, calmness and vigor3,4, and reduce negative emotions such as tension, fatigue and anxiety4, 5.

Which exercise?

The best exercise for you is one you enjoy and can do regularly.Aerobic exercise (such as walking, running, cycling and swimming) and strength training (for example Pilates or weight lifting) have both been shown to boost weight loss, overall health, and mental outlook1. You will get the greatest overall health and well-being benefit from a program that gives you a balance of aerobic, strength, and flexibility training (for example yoga or performing daily stretching exercises).

How much is enough?

You don't have to be super fit to reap the health and well-being benefits of physical activity. Just 30 minutes of moderate activity five times a week can make a big difference in your health and weight - and you don't have to do 30 minutes all in one chunk. You can grab 5, 10, or 15 minutes of brisk walking, stretching or other activity anytime you have a chance throughout the day. Combine this with some strength training twice a week and you’ll get additional health benefits.1 For weight loss, most adults will need to combine the recommended activity levels with a calorie controlled diet or increase the duration and frequency of exercise.

Can exercise be bad for you?

Exercise isn't bad for you - but you need to do it wisely. Be careful not to overdo it. When you first start to exercise, have a rest day between each session. As you progress, be sure to take it easier the day after a particularly intense session.
A good rule of thumb for determining a safe workout intensity is the "talk test" - you should be slightly breathless but still able to carry on a conversation during exercise.
Don't exercise if you are not feeling well. If you are injured, give your body time to recover fully, or you could turn a minor injury into a chronic injury. If you are new to exercise, or you have a medical condition, seek medical advice first.


1.US Department of Health and Human Services 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
2.Exercise and Pharmacotherapy in the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder Blumenthal J et al. Pyschosomatic Medicine 69:587-596 (2007)
3.Biddle SJH. Emotion, mood and physical activity. In: Physical activity and psychological well-being. Biddle SJH, Fox KR, and Boutcher SH, Editors. 2000, Routledge: London
4.Gauvin L and Spence JC. Measurement of exercise-induced changes in feeling states, affect, mood, and emotions. In: Advances in sports and exercise psychology measurement.
5.Duda JL editor. Fitness Information Technology Inc. Morgantown WV. 1998
6.Taylor AH. Physical activity, anxiety, and stress. In: Physical activity and psychological well-being. Biddle SJH, Fox KR, and Boutcher SH, Editors. 2000, Routledge: London.


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    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 8 years ago from Holly, MI

      So very true! Sometimes just even a quick walk with my dogs around the block helps break up my day when I'm working. Exercise is addictive too...the more you do it the better you feel and the more often you want to exercise! Great Hub!