1. Exercising lowers your risk for disease
There’s no question losing weight is good for your health, and kicking your fitness up a notch has even greater benefits. Regular exercise has been shown to boost mood and banish anxiety, and lower your risk for stroke, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. It can also help you fall asleep quicker, and into a deeper sleep (just don’t exercise too close to bedtime). All great reasons to get your body moving on a daily basis!
* It burns off blood sugar
Recent Czech research showed that three months’ strength training improved insulin sensitivity in men with insulin resistance. A British study confirmed that exercise was linked to reduced metabolic syndrome—and that people who were unfit to start with benefited even more from the physical activity than those who were reasonably fit when they started.
* It controls weight
Exercise burns calories so you lose, or at least don’t gain, weight. A recent study showed that among people whose BMI averaged 41 (that’s morbidly obese) those who lost just 7 percent of their body weight through regular exercise regained healthy blood pressure and triglyceride levels, and the inflammation in their arteries dropped by between a quarter and a third, even though their BMI still averaged 38 (still too high). Numerous studies have confirmed that you don’t need to be skinny to be physically fit.
* It cuts total cholesterol
The major and most important effect of exercise is to raise levels of “good” cholesterol, thus reducing total cholesterol levels. An international review of multiple studies revealed that adding exercise to a weight-loss diet not only raised the good cholesterol but also increased the benefits of the weight-loss program and reduced triglycerides and blood pressure.
* It reduces your heart rate
Every 60 seconds, the average couch potato’s heart beats 70 to 75 times. An active person’s heart, on the other hand, is so strong that it can pump the same amount of blood in only 50 beats. That’s 36,000 fewer beats every day and 13 million fewer by the end of just one year. Exercise strengthens your heart and saves it having to work at a higher rate all the time.
* It breaks bad habits
In a study of 280 women, U.S. researchers found that those who gave up smoking were twice as likely to stay smoke-free—and gained half as much weight—as those who gave up without exercising.
* It lifts stress and sadness
The positive effects of exercise on mood were demonstrated in a British study where sedentary adults were randomly assigned to moderate intensity aerobic exercise, stretching exercises or none at all, for 12 weeks. Those in the moderate intensity group reported reduced tension, anxiety and confusion. The others did not. Additionally, a Berlin study revealed that just 30 minutes a day of exercise can be more effective than antidepressant drugs in treating depression. Exercise stimulates the brain to produce endorphins—the body’s “feel good” hormones. It has two other advantages: it acts immediately and has few harmful or dangerous side effects.
* It could save your life
According to the World Health Organization, inactivity causes 2 million deaths worldwide annually and is a major factor in breast and colon cancer, diabetes and heart disease. The World Hear Federation believes that inactivity is as bad for you as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. 2. Be a good role model
Child obesity is becoming a serious problem. Approximately 26 percent of Canadian kids aged 2-17 are overweight or obese. Even scarier, stats show that for the first time ever, today’s children will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. With school gym programs being reduced and screen time on the rise, we need to be our kids’ fitness role models. Encourage fitness by taking family walks after dinner, or trying out the Family Circus class.
3. Exercise boosts energy
Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily chores.
4. Fully enjoy the things you love
The more fit you are, the easier it will be for you to take part in the activities you enjoy. Whether it’s going for a hike and experiencing the outdoors, or playing with the kids, you’ll find yourself more able to keep up, and less short of breath.
5. Ease back pain and improve your posture
A daily regimen of stretches and exercise can also do wonders for your back. By strengthening your core abdominal muscles, you’ll increase your overall strength, taking the pressure away from your back and helping to alleviate any existing back pain.
6. Take some time for yourself
Whether it’s an early morning jog, an afternoon cycle class or a late night walk with the dog, solo exercise gives you the opportunity to have a few moments of peace and quiet, think about future goals, and take some much-deserved “you” time. It’s also the perfect excuse to listen to your favourite soundtrack while you work out!