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Benefits of Exercise

There are many benefits to regular exercise. Here are seven (in no particular order).

Improves Mental Health and Mood

Regular physical activity can not only help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age, it can also reduce your risk of depression and may improve your sleep.

A routine of 30-60 minutes of aerobic or a mix of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities 3-5 times a week can provide these mental and emotional benefits, studies have shown.

Counteracts Stress

The National Institutes of Health has a scientific name for it: adult hippocampal neurogenesis. What that translates to is that physical exercise can counteract stress and related disorders, such as depression.

Strengthens Your Bones and Muscles

Research shows that doing aerobic, muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening physical activity of at least a moderately-intense level can slow the loss of bone density that comes with age. Studies have shown that people who do 130-300 minutes a week of at least moderate intensity, low-impact aerobic activity have a lower risk of both hip fracture and improvement in arthritis (greater ability to manage pain and greater ease at doing everyday tasks).

Muscle-strengthening activities can help you increase or maintain your muscle mass and strength. Slowly increasing the amount of weight and number of repetitions you do will give you even more benefits, no matter your age.

Boosts Energy Levels

By helping your heart to pump blood more efficiently, regular physical activity delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. The increased lung capacity gained from aerobic activity also aids in sending more oxygen to the brain, leading to greater alertness, boosted energy, and enhanced overall well-being.

Aids Weight Control

Both diet and physical activity play a critical role in controlling your weight. You gain weight when the calories you burn, including those burned during physical activity, are less than the calories you eat or drink. When it comes to weight management, people vary greatly in how much physical activity they need. You may need to be more active than others to achieve or maintain a healthy weight.

The recommended minimum level for weight control is 150 minutes a week of at least moderate intensity physical activity.

Can Delay or Prevent Diabetes, Some Cancers, and Heart Problems

At least 150 minutes a week (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity can put you at a lower risk for heart disease and stroke. Regular physical activity can also lower your blood pressure and improve your cholesterol levels.

The same level of physical activity can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, a condition in which you have some combination of too much fat around the waist, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, or high blood sugar. If you already have type 2 diabetes, Regular physical activity can help control your blood glucose levels.

Research has shown that being physically active reduces your risk for colon and (for women) breast cancer and might lower your risk of endometrial cancer and lung cancer. If you are a cancer survivor, research has shown that regular physical activity can enhance your quality of life, in addition to improving your physical fitness.

Increases Longevity

Science shows that physical activity can reduce your risk of dying early from the leading causes of death, like heart disease and some cancers. This is remarkable for two reasons:

  1. Few lifestyle choices have as large an impact on your health as physical activity. People who are physically active for about 7 hours a week have a 40 percent lower risk of dying early than those who are active for less than 30 minutes a week.
  2. You don’t have to do high amounts of activity or vigorous-intensity activity to reduce your risk of premature death. You can put yourself at lower risk of dying early by doing at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity.

 

*Disclaimer: Results are typical but not guaranteed. Your actual results may vary. Real CalMWM patients shown with permission.

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