Move More and Sit Less – the Benefits of Exercise

by Clarissa Gannon, Certified Personal Trainer

We all know that regular physical activity is good for us, yet obesity and obesity-related diseases continue to be on the rise. It is recommended that healthy adults get a minimum of 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise a week. Did you know there are 168 hours in a week? We are all busy, but it’s time to stop making excuses because we can ALL set aside just 2.5 hours to take charge of our health. Here are some reasons to get moving:

:: Keep your heart strong. Regular exercise can lower your risk for coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke.

:: Lower your blood pressure. Moderate-intensity exercise can effectively lower blood pressure in people.

:: Control or prevent diabetes. Not only can exercise help you achieve beneficial weight loss, but it helps manage your blood glucose levels and helps your cells accept insulin more efficiently.

:: Cut your cancer risk. Being physically active lowers your risk for both colon and breast cancers. It may reduce the risk of endometrial and lung cancer as well.

:: Ease arthritis. Muscle-strengthening activities can slow the loss of bone density that comes with age. Did you know that bone is a living tissue? Regular exercise not only strengthens muscles, allowing us to maintain greater strength, coordination, balance, joint strength and stability; but it contributes to maximum bone density and strength.

:: Better your mood, and your sleep. Physical activity is one of the best ways to stimulate various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. Exercise has been shown to be very effective in helping people fall asleep and sleep more soundly.

:: Boost your endurance. Exercise helps to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to your tissues, resulting in your heart and lungs working more efficiently. Therefore, you have more energy that improves concentration and productivity.

:: Improve your love life. Do you often feel too tired or too self-conscious about your body to enjoy physical intimacy? Regular exercise leaves you feeling energized and looking better, which can boost your love life. Exercise can also enhance arousal for women. And, men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who do not exercise.

In addition to the above benefits of physical activity, exercise can be a fun way to spend some time either alone or with family and friends. Don’t look at it as just a way to burn calories; see it as a chance to unwind while taking in some fresh air and enjoying nature, or simply engage in activities that put a smile on your face. Go for a swim, take a group fitness class, bike, jog, hit the hiking trails, or join a soccer or baseball team. Find a physical activity you enjoy, and just do it – the possibilities are endless! If you get bored, try something new. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more. Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.