Regular physical activity is one of the healthiest prescriptions to improve your health. Some of the benefits you can reap from getting physical are:
- Controlling/losing weight
- Improving your cardiovascular system
- Decreasing risk for Type 2 diabetes
- Reducing risk for some cancers
- Strengthening bones and muscles
- Improving mental health and mood
- Making daily chores easier to do
- Increasing your chance of living longer
However, before starting any exercise program, be sure to consult with your doctor first. You have to know if you are healthy enough to engage in regular physical exercise before starting any program.
You gain weight when you eat more calories than you burn. So it stands to reason that if you want to lose weight, one of two things (or both) has to happen. One, you have to eat fewer calories, or two you have to exercise more. We know that you have to burn 3,500 more calories per week than you eat to lose a pound. While 3,500 is a daunting number in itself, it becomes more manageable when you break it down into 500 calories per day. Eat 250 calories less and burn 250 calories more each day and you’ll be at your one pound loss for the week.
Improving your cardiovascular system
Heart disease and stroke are the two leading causes of death in the United States. The Center for Disease Control recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderately–intensive exercise per week to significantly lower your risk for both diseases. More exercise yet further reduces your risk even more.
Decreasing Risk for Type 2 Diabetes
The same 150 minutes of exercise per week will also lower your risk for Type 2 diabetes. If you are carrying too much weight, have low HDL cholesterol or high blood pressure, triglycerides, or blood sugar, you are at a greater risk. Regular exercise will help bring these stats back where they belong.
Reducing risk for some cancers
Research has shown that being physically active reduces the risk of colon cancer in both male and females and the risk of breast cancer in women. Some findings are now suggesting that regular exercise may also reduce your risk of endometrial and lung cancer. And if you are a cancer survivor, exercising can help improve your quality of life.
Strengthening bones and muscles
As we age, we begin to lose bone density, which can cause osteoporosis and falls ending up with broken bones. Aerobic and muscle strengthening exercises help keep your bones and muscles strong and slows the loss of bone density.
Improving mental health and mood
Not only does exercising keep you mentally sharp, but it can also help prevent depression. When we exercise, endorphins are released in the brain making us feel good. Research has shown that 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise and strength training per day 3 to 5 times per week are optimal for maximum mental acuity benefits. However, even a little exercise provides some benefits.
Making daily chores easier to do
If you are not in shape, doing daily chores can get to be … well a chore! Make the things you do every day, like climbing stairs, carrying a filled laundry basket, and carrying groceries easier by getting in shape.
Increasing your chance of living longer
Research has shown that people who are physically active 7 hours per week reduce their risk of dying early from heart disease or cancer by 40 percent. Remember that 150 minutes of exercising per week? That counts toward your 7 hours per week of physical activity.
And these 8 benefits of regular physical activity are only the beginning. However, realize that exercising is only half the equation. You have to eat healthy, too, if you want to get the most from your regular physical activity.