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7 Outstanding Health Benefits Of Regular Exercise

Updated on July 25, 2014
Exercise improves both health and fitness
Exercise improves both health and fitness | Source

The Health Benefits Of Exercise

If you want to take charge of your own health and enjoy a high quality of life for as long as possible, regular exercise is a vital part of what it will take to achieve that. Exercising is not just about keeping fit; it can also benefit your health in numerous ways. In fact taking regular exercise will do more for your long term health than any number of doctors and their medications. So in what way can exercise improve your health? Well, here are 7 really outstanding health benefits of taking regular exercise…

1. You’ll Lose Weight Much Easier

If you want to lose weight, or simply maintain a healthy weight, you’ll find it much easier if you exercise. The reason for this is that exercise not only burns calories, but it raises your metabolism too, so you continue to burn more calories well after your workout has finished. And on top of that it will give you more energy, so you’ll be more active generally, and this in turn will burn even more calories.

2. You’ll Have A Reduced Risk Of Heart Disease And Stroke

Exercise strengthens the heart and helps it use oxygen more efficiently. So it doesn’t need to work so hard to pump blood. This reduces the stress on your arteries, which in turn lowers blood pressure.

Exercise also raises levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol, whilst lowering harmful LDL and triglycerides. It improves blood flow and it reduces the chances of developing blood clots.

So if you exercise regularly you’ll have a much healthier cardiovascular system, and a greatly reduced risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke.

3. You’ll Have A Lower Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Exercise uses up glucose for energy, which lowers blood glucose levels, and this in turn lowers insulin levels. Exercise also makes you more sensitive to the effects of insulin, and it helps reduce inflammation too. This will mean you’ll have a much lower risk of developing diabetes. And if you already have diabetes your condition may improve substantially over time.

4. Your Mood Will Improve

Exercise stimulates the release of ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain, giving you an improved sense of well-being. Exercise also improves self-esteem and helps combat stress, anxiety and depression.

5. Brain Function Can Be Improved And Cognitive Decline Slowed

Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and it also stimulates the growth of nerve cells in the part of the brain responsible for memory. So exercise can improve reasoning, memory and other cognitive functions. This effect is more pronounced in the elderly, where cognitive decline can be dramatically reduced, and the risk of developing senility or dementia significantly lowered.

6. Your Muscles And Bones Will Become Stronger

Weight bearing exercise keeps your muscles and bones strong, so you’ll have less chance of developing osteoporosis, and you’ll maintain a good level of strength well into old age.

7. You’ll Have A Stronger Immune System

Exercise gives the immune system a boost and research shows that people who exercise regularly get colds less often than people who only exercise occasionally or not at all. They also recover more quickly when they do come down with something.

On top of all this taking regular exercise will also help you sleep better, give you more energy, improve your love life and slow down your rate of ageing.

With so many benefits of exercise, can you really afford not to do it?

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So What Type Of Exercise Should You Do?

Ideally you should do both strength training and cardiovascular training, together with some stretching for flexibility.

The simplest form of cardiovascular exercise is walking. But you need to walk briskly to ensure you raise your breathing and heart rate sufficiently. If you don’t get out of breath it’s of little value.

Swimming is also a great cardiovascular exercise and has the added advantage of being low impact so it doesn’t stress the joints. Cycling is good too. Or you could take up a sport or join one of the many exercise classes around. Choose what you enjoy the most; that way you’ll be more likely to stick to it.

Weight training is the best form of strength training, but there are many bodyweight exercises you can do at home if you don’t want to join a gym or buy a set of weights.

To see optimum results from your efforts you need to do about 30 minutes of moderate exercise 4 to 6 days per week. However if you exercise more vigorously you can reduce the amount of time needed.

So a good plan might be to do strength training two or three times per week and cardiovascular training once or twice per week. Alternatively, some forms of exercise (such as CrossFit) combine strength training and cardiovascular training into one activity. So you might find doing something like this suits you better.

As you can now see, the benefits of exercise are extensive and far reaching. In fact a good healthy balanced diet together with proven supplements and regular exercise are the keys to a long and healthy life. So if you've been meaning to get started, don’t wait any longer. Do it today!

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    • Torrs13 profile image

      Tori Canonge 3 years ago from California

      I definitely think that I have a better mood when I exercise! I enjoy using the videos from Fitness Blender while also mixing in some running to balance out my workout plan. I have found that the HIIT workouts have really improved my lung function and have made me a lot stronger. I typically complete these a couple times a week and then do more bodyweight strength training and cardio. Great hub!

    • dwelburn profile image
      Author

      David 3 years ago from Chesterfield, UK

      Thanks Torrs. Sounds like you have a good program. Yes it's amazing how exercise can make you feel better isn't it? And HIIT and bodyweight training are both great. :)

    • meltawayyourfat profile image

      Inga 3 years ago from New York

      Thanks! :)

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