Seems like every time we turn around we're being told we need to exercise more. Do you ever think, "Why? What's in it for me?"
Here is a list of 15 reasons to exercise regularly. It is definitely not all inclusive. Is there anything on the list that surprises you-maybe #5, #12 or #15?
1) Exercise reverses detrimental effects of stress.
**Just 20 minutes of exercise can erase the negative effects of stress. Physical activity helps to release stress and helps you handle stress better. Stress will manifest itself one way or the other. Either you use it as energy to exercise or the stress finds a place to settle internally and will eventually cause dis-ease.
2) Exercise helps burn more calories by keeping your metabolism up.
**When we exercise, our bodies require more energy and our metabolism speeds up to supply that energy. Cardio exercise speeds up your metabolism for several hours after your workout. Exercise also teaches the body how to produce more energy, making it more efficient at burning fat.
3) Exercise helps you fall asleep and get better quality sleep.
**A daily dose of exercise can deepen your sleep and shorten the time it takes to drift off. If you find that exercising late in the day makes you unable to sleep it's because exercise causes an increase in your body's energy. Try exercising earlier in the day.
4) Exercise helps you think better and faster and improves learning ability.
**The same blood that is pumping sluggishly through your body is moving through your brain as well. Cardio activities provide the biggest brain boost. Complicated activities also improve our capacity to learn by enhancing our attention and concentration skills, according to german researchers who found that high school students scored better on high-attention tasks after doing 10 minutes of a complicated fitness routine compared to 10 minutes of regular activity. Those who hadn't exercised at all scored the worst.
5) Exercise slows the aging process and helps you live longer and better.
**According to a study from the University of California at San Fransisco, stressed-out women who exercised vigorously for an average of 45 minutes over a three-day period had cells that showed fewer signs of aging compared to women who were stressed and not active. Studies have shown that regular exercise can actually add years to your life, whether you start exercising at 15 or 50.
6) Exercise makes you feel better/lifts depression.
**Studies show burning off 350 calories three times a week through sustained, sweat-inducing activity can reduce symptoms of depression about as effectively as anti-depressants.Studies show that exercise increases feelings of energy and lessens feelings of fatigue. Being fit includes keeping your muscles, bones, and joints as active and healthy as possible.
7) Exercise can prevent or decrease the effects of heart disease and stroke.
** Daily physical activity can help prevent heart disease and stroke by strengthening your heart muscle, lowering your blood pressure, raising your high-density lipoprotein levels (good cholesterol) and lowering low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol), improving blood flow, and increasing your heart's working capacity.
8) Exercise can prevent or cure noninsulin-dependent diabetes.
**By reducing body fat, physical activity can help to prevent and control this type of diabetes.
9) Exercise can prevent or cure obesity.
**Physical activity helps to reduce body fat by building or preserving muscles mass and improving the body's ability to use calories. Exercise alone is not enough to control weight, however when combined with proper nutrition, it can help control weight and prevent obesity. When you exercise regularly, your body burns more calories even when you're resting. Being active may also lower your percentage of body fat and increase muscle strength and tone.
10) Exercise can prevent or greatly reduce back pain.
**By increasing muscle strength and endurance and improving flexibility and posture and helping improve balance and coordination, regular exercise helps to prevent back pain or hasten it's departure.
11) Exercise can prevent or help osteoporosis.
** Regular weight-bearing exercise promotes bone formation and may prevent many forms of bone loss associated with aging.
12) Exercise reduces the risk for memory loss.
**Research has found an association between increased exercise and lower rate of functional decline in older adults. Aerobic exercise improves reaction time, perception and math skills. Exercise for 60 minutes a week improves the physical and emotional well-being of patients who already have Alzheimer's disease.
13) Exercise reduces the risk of certain cancers.
**A direct association exists between higher levels of physical activity and lower cancer death rates; there's also a strong relationship between increased physical activity and reduced colon cancer and lower rates of prostate cancer. Physical activity after a cancer diagnosis can aid recovery and improve outcomes.
14) Exercise lowers your risk of catching a cold.
**Women ages 50 to 75 who did 45 minutes of cardio, 5 days a week, had a third as many colds as those who did once-weekly stretching sessions, a University of Washington study found.
15) Exercise improves your vision.
**An active lifestyle can cut your risk of age-related macular degeneration by up to 70%, according to a British Journal of Ophthalmology study of 4,000 adults. This incurable disease makes reading, driving and seeing fine details difficult, and its the most common cause of blindness after age 60.
And here's a bonus...
16) Exercise improves your vocabulary.
**Exercisers who ran just two 3-minute sprints, with a 2-minute break in between, learned new words 20% faster than those who rested. (University of Muenster in Germany study)
I suspect you already knew many of the benefits listed here. Were any of them surprising to you? Which benefits are most motivating to you? Is #5 enough to make you exercise more frequently?