Health Benefits of Exercise and Physical Activity

Only 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day are needed to gain numerous benefits, and improve your health and quality of life.

40 Great Ways Exercise Improves Your Life

Exercise is so critical to your wellness, both physical and mental, than many folks are wanting to accept, as you sit in your recliner clicking your remote control or going to your mailbox and back on your riding lawn mower. Only 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day are needed to gain numerous benefits, and improve your health and quality of life.

There are so many proven health benefits of exercising regularly. The more intense the exercise, the more significant the health benefits (though people with certain health risks should not do vigorous exercise). However, even minor levels of exercise can help achieve the following:

Physical Benefits of Exercise

  1. Improves lung capacity by increasing the amount of oxygen the blood can carry

  2. Enhances the immune system and lowers the risk for upper respiratory infections, hence increasing protection against everything from cancer to the common cold

  3. Swimming exerciseIncreases circulation by widening blood vessels and even creating new ones, contributing to a number of beneficial health effects such as: reducing risk of heart attach and stroke and boosting physical and mental stamina by improving the delivery of oxygen and other vital nutrients to every cell of the body

  4. Strengthens the heart and reduces the risk of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) – (inactive people are twice as likely to develop CHD than active people)

  5. Lowers blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attacks, aneurysms, glaucoma, strokes and kidney disease

  6. Lowers the resting heart rate by increasing the amount of blood pumped by each of the heart’s contractions, therefore the heart works less, as many as 50,000 beats a day, and 17+ million in a year Gardening for Physical Activity

  7. Increases metabolic rate

  8. Decreases inflammatory markers

  9. Helps burn calories and reduces body fat, which helps to maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity, thus boosting energy levels and improving appearance as well as reducing risks of high blood pressure, diabetes, damaging wear and tear on joints, and certain types of cancer (i.e., breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men)

  10. Improves the ration of “good” (HDL) and “bad” (LDL) cholesterol in the blood, therefore reducing the risk of heart attack due to arterial blockage caused by the buildup of plaque on artery walls

  11. Physical Activity BenefitsImproves sexual performance by increasing flexibility and physical endurance

  12. Relieves arthritis

  13. Helps to control your blood sugar: increases glucose tolerance and reduces insulin resistance to manage or prevent type II (adult-onset) diabetes

  14. Aids digestion, therefore optimal absorption of vital nutrients

  15. Helps promote intestinal regularity, therefore reducing the risk of colon cancer

  16. Helps prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration

  17. Reduces the risk of breast cancer and cancer of the colon

  18. Strengthens bones, increases bone density and decreases bone loss, by boosting their uptake of calcium, thus dramatically reducing the risk of osteoporosis (a major problem for women following menopause) Benefits to Daily Exercise

  19. Tones and strengthens muscles of the abdomen, arms and legs, therefore boosting endurance as well as appearance and body image

  20. Helps keep joints healthy, thus reducing the risk of osteoarthritis

  21. Helps strengthen the muscles of the lower back, therefore reducing the risk of chronic back pain

  22. Helps slow the aging process by improving blood circulation and the delivery of vital nutrients to, and the removal of metabolic waste from, virtually every cell in the body—even the skin.

  23. Benefits of Exercise for SeniorsReduces the chance of premature death

  24. Improves coordination, reducing the risks associated with falling (especially for the elderly)

  25. Reduces the frailty of old age

  26. Increases reaction time, thus reducing risks of accidents around the home and while driving

  27. Maintain general health (those who exercise have 30% less time off sick compared to people who don’t exercise)

  28. Mental and Emotional Benefits of Exercise

  29. Reduces stress by using excess stress chemicals for energy expressed outwardly rather than inwardly

  30. Improves mood and relieves depression due to increased levels of dopamine and serotonin, the ‘feel good’ hormones

  31. Relieves anxiety and tension

  32. Increases mental energy, which improves memory and intellectual stamina

  33. Increases your cognitive ability and your ability to concentrate and remain alert

  34. Promotes positive mental attitude Benefits of Exercise on Mental Health

  35. Promotes emotional stability

  36. Relieves fatigue

  37. Improves sleep patterns, resulting in restful, higher-quality sleep

  38. Increases your levels of endorphins, the brain chemicals that increase your sense of well-being

  39. Reduces negative emotions

  40. Creates the ‘feel good factor’ that increases confidence and self-esteem

  41. Improves quality of life

Note: Keep in mind that many of the physiological benefits will occur immediately.  Exercise will give you an immediate boost in mood, mental acuity and overall energy levels.

If you have never exercised, start out slowly and increase your level of activity gradually. It is recommended that you do at least thirty minutes of moderate to intense activity five times a week. That’s a baseline goal. Everyone can achieve that. Once that becomes a habit, push the bar a little higher. Sixty to ninety minutes of activity on most days is optimum. To reduce weight sixty minutes of exercise per day is recommended. However the health benefits of exercise are so great, that even 10 minutes a day is better than nothing. In fact, three 10-minute sessions in a day is just as effective as one 30-minute session.

No matter what shape your body is in, beginning to exercise right now will improve your health and the quality of your life—it’s never too late to begin—because you’ll feel better, mentally as well as physically. What has been your experience? Please share your comments below.

To your wellness,

Lynn

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